Animal Lover

“Are you a bird person?”


“Are you a bird person?” My fellow AP calculus student asked me eons ago.

“What’s a bird person?” I asked. I was homeschooled for a good chunk of my MG years and (finally) by my senior year of high school, was aware that I’d missed a valuable part of my education. The part hat nothing to do with academics and everything to do with double entendres.

So much eye roll. Major eye roll even. “A person who likes birds.” And even more judgement. Because I was obviously one of those incurably strange/weirdos who liked birds. Or a grandma. All grandmas seem to like birds.

“No. Of course not.” I knew enough to know any interest in ornithology would have been a death sentence. And I was so sleep deprived, exhausted, over scheduled and tightly wound that I had absolutely no interest in anything that I could not twist into a higher GPA or a gold star for my college applications.

But seriously I was not into birds, or horses, or dolphins (I’ve got to write about my AP Art History teacher’s office), or dogs, or even cats. I was into grades. I was into waking up early to study extra for AP tests. I was into staying up until 12AM so that I could throw off the curve or have the best essay or whatever.

When grades disappeared from my identity, it came as a surprise to discover how much I love animals. Not just the furry ones.

I now have a thing for peacocks. I don’t want to own one. I don’t want to pet one. I just like them. They wove their way into my first novel and have become an important symbol to me of it. I see peacocks, and I think about all I learned writing my first book. I see peacocks, and I smile. I see peacocks, and I have good writing vibes and good memories. I like their colors. I like their confidence. I like that they are super fancy dudes. I even like their very strange calls: a very insistent but completely fake, “Ow, ow, ow.” Exactly like what my son sounds like when he is complaining about how he can’t walk home from the park because his legs hurt from being so tired. “Carry me, Mommy! Ow, ow, ow.”

What have you grown fond of lately that your younger self would have been surprised, outraged, or horrified by?


  • William June 10, 2018 Reply

    I started playing the piano because I realized I was playing too many video games. I’m pretty sure my younger self would hate me for that.

    • Amelia Hollingsworth June 10, 2018 Reply

      Good for you! Music learning is not just a young person’s game. I started playing piano (as an adult) too. I keep wondering why I didn’t think of picking it up before. It’s a very comfortable instrument to play.

      So I’ve tried and failed to read _Team of Rivals_ many times. But each time I try to pick it back up I am always struck by how young Abe’s love of reading was perceived as an idle passion/ a complete waste of time/ proof positive of his inherently lazy nature by his elders. Gaffaw!? Reading??? And what he was reading too! Plato’s essays. Milton’s _Paradise Lost_. It gives me whiplash and makes me wonder about… THE FUTURE!!!

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