Saturday, June 21, 2008

What Is A Catbird and Why Do I Want His Seat?

I was posting a note to a friend recently in which I used the term "catbird seat." She admitted to having to look it up. Well, I know where I first heard the reference, but I didn't know exactly what a catbird was. So of course I did what every writer does these days - as opposed to going to the library years ago - I Googled it.

There is an Australian bowerbird that is also known as a catbird. The male catbird will go to great lengths to build an elaborate structure that he uses to attract his mate who will then sit on the strutcture. The catbird seat has come to mean an enviable position.

I first read "The Catbird Seat" by James Thurber when I was in college. I believe it was freshman English, but that's hard to say. It was The Sixties. All that time kind of runs together for me now. Anyway, I found the story again (thank you,Google) and I just read it. Now I'm struck by how it reminds me of one of my favorite authors, Lawrence Block. I've been reading him some today because I was flipping through some of his books on writing in preparation for this week's class.

Here's a link to some Thurber works that contain the short story.

You can actualy Google the title and find the story copied on someone's blog, but I'm not sure that's in accourdance with copyright laws, so you'll have to do your own Googling if you want that one. I'm not linking to anything that takes a royalty away from a writer.

But if you come across the story, maybe in an old college textbook or something, you should give it a new read. I promise you'll enjoy it. Then we can all wave to you when you're sitting in the catbird seat.

Have a great day. Read a book.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!