The book recounts Hollars’ obsession with extinct North American birds, and how that obsession led him to celebrate the birds we still have today.
The book introduced a new term to me. Hollars describes the term spark bird, or a bird that takes someone beyond being a casual bird observer to someone more passionately interested in birding.
I loved the idea of discovering a spark bird. In Hollars’ case, his spark bird was the now-extinct Ivory-Billed Woodpecker. Scott Russell Morris, who reviewed the book, didn’t have a spark bird, but a spark squirrel!
That got me thinking about what has sparked my passions in life. As Morris writes, “For those of us who are writers, which is to say, professional enthusiasts, intense fascination is nothing new.” Intense fascination. Isn’t that wonderful? We writers have to be intensely fascinated with our subject matter, don’t we?
For many of us, our spark came from a particular family story–a story we were told over and over when we were children, a story that made us laugh, a story that made us cry. Did you have a story like that that inspired you to start writing about your life or about your family history? Do you have a spark bird or spark book or spark food you could tell us about? What is your spark bird?