I saw an owl this morning. Two of them, really, although the second one was a black blur on the wind. I wouldn’t have recognized it as an owl if it were not flying in collusion with the first one. And the first one… well.

It flew across the sky in the pre-dawn light, clearly a bird. Clearly a big bird. My brain had to process. What is that bird? In Florida, the default on a big bird is vulture. That’s what we’ve got the most of. But this bird didn’t say vulture to me. The wings were wrong. The flight was so smooth, such a glide, so quiet. Eagle? No. Hawk? No. Falcon?

The bird settled on a tree branch and finally my brain — in my defense, it was early, before coffee — put together the flight, the time of day, the size of the bird, its silhouette on the tree branch, and the calls of Whoa-whoa-whoa-whooooo that I was hearing and said, “Owl.”

Actually, it was more like my brain said, “Owl. Owl, owl, owl, owl, OWL!” I’ve seen them in captivity and I’ve seen them in photographs and once or twice, I’ve seen one in the wild from a far distance when someone else has pointed it out to me, but this was my first real close-up of a wild owl. And then another one flew by, and the first one joined it and they tried a different tree. I tried to follow them, but they moved again, out of the campground and deeper into the fenced-off forest that surrounds the campground, and I resumed walking my dog. But my morning no longer felt prosaic and dusty, but a little bit magical.

Owls are cool.

In other news, I’ve been having the most amazing time writing. Not, alas, writing Grace. But approximately 16 days ago, I got impatient and frustrated with myself and I decided that every day — every single, solitary day — I would write 1000 words of fiction. Not careful polished words, not words where plot and characterization mattered, not words that built to something, that were part of some larger whole, just… words. Quick sketches. Snippets of scenes. Bits and pieces of story. But a thousand of them every day.

I missed one day, because it was a moving day. That was the day I left Trimble Park and spent the night in my dad’s driveway, so it included cleaning and organizing, drying and stowing the kayak, loading up the camper, and then much sociability. Apparently I just didn’t even think about writing that day. But every other day for the past two weeks, I have written 1000 words and wow, I have been having so much fun with them! There is something about the freedom to write terrible words, the joy of pointless words, that has let me get madly creative. Most of the words have been starts to stories, world-building that goes nowhere, but I’ve had magic and vampires and dramatic confrontations, children of the gods and immortal courts and SO. MUCH. FUN.

I’m trying not to stress about the future. A writer who only starts things and never finishes them is really never going to earn a living, even if she’s trying to subsist on ramen noodles and other people’s driveways. And I’m still working on Grace every day, even though what mostly seems to happen is that I have a great time writing for a few hours and then grimly open the Grace file about mid-afternoon and stare at it until I can escape into feeding and walking the dogs. But yesterday I actually had some Grace insight and my 1000 words of fiction included several hundred on Grace, so maybe today…