My Neighbor Feeds Vultures

Posted on May 20, 2012

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A dozen vultures are cavorting (fighting) in the yard, waiting for the easy meal about to be delivered to them on the other side of the fence. It’ll be dog food, by my guess-that’s what my neighbor feeds the deer. A hundred deer (not an exaggeration) used to denude the lawn and turn bushes to sticks until the fence was installed. Fences don’t keep vultures out. I don’t mind deer and vultures, but I’m less fond of the neighbor because he has created an imbalance in the environment. The animals no longer roam throughout the neighborhood, as wildlife generally would. With food and water provided next door, why waste energy walking or flying about?

My neighbor once told me he can’t help it. He looks into their big brown eyes, and has to feed them. I assume he was talking about the deer and cannot guess how he would explain feeding a dozen vultures. No matter—he understands the environmental issues (extreme overpopulation, for example) and chooses to disregard them—along with the stench of deer urine and bird poop that arises from his back patio. It is his right, of course, and I understand the desire to help nature, especially given how we’ve taken over their ancestral home, but frankly, I’m not drawn to mingle with this fellow—this neighbor of mine—despite his  intentions.

So, what do vulture lawn ornaments have to do with reading and writing? My feelings toward my neighbor (sort of) remind me of the dilemma faced when a writer is not a person I agree with (or like), yet, perhaps they produce good work. Today I learned that Orson Scott Card holds views I strongly dismiss. “Ender’s Game”, however, was a book I enjoyed many, many years ago. Back then, I admired Card’s imagination and surprising plot twists. Today, I want to lower the ratings I’ve given his books.  I’ve loved and raged all over authors before—but only once I dwelt in their fiction (non-fiction is a different scenario). I’ve not had an about turn quite like this over fiction. The whiplash feels even stranger because I hadn’t considered that a reader might judge my work using their opinion of me as a criteria. Among other things,  I’m kind of grumpy sometimes and I’m not the best housekeeper on the planet, yet a handful of brave souls have reviewed my novel on Goodreads and Amazon. I deeply appreciate every one! But Reader opinions, including mine, can be delicate. And fickle. And readers can be hard to catch, much less convince to read one specific novel out of the vast universe of novels. Perhaps I can get my neighbor to feed some.

Anyway, the vultures have stirred my imagination. I’m currently working on a science fiction novel, but as soon as I’m finished, I think I’ll write a horror story. People expect horror story writers to be strange and socially unacceptable, don’t they?

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