Beyond the Parrot Man
People tend to think of me as the “parrot man.” When they see me on the street, they often say, “Hey! Aren't you the parrot guy?” I always fess up, but the fact is, my involvement with the flock ended years ago. Before I encountered the parrots I was on a journey, and the parrots were part of that journey. There was something I needed to learn from them. Having learned it, I moved on. I still watch out for them, making sure that no one is exploiting them, and I always will. But the parrots never depended on me for their day-to-day survival. It would have been disastrous for them if they had. They are wild, self-sufficient creatures. And, as anyone who visits San Francisco will see, the flock is thriving. There are currently more than 200 of them.
My Work as a Writer
These days, my preoccupations are those of a writer. It's been a natural progression for me. When I was a teenager, I wanted to be a novelist. But making a living as a writer seemed too hard. I also came to believe that literature was dying. So I abandoned that dream and went into the world to live my life, never imagining that the path I followed would bring me back to writing. I have one published book, The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill, and I'm currently working on Street Song. Whenever I find the time and energy, I work on my blog, Views From a Hill. My intention here is not simply to have fun with words and to tell stories—although those are two of the few joys that writing brings. What I want is to help make this a better world. We're in pretty bad shape right now and getting worse. We humans need to change before we do ourselves and everybody else in. I believe we'll have one more chance to turn things around. But it may well be our last one.
My wife, Judy Irving, and I have an e-mail list that will keep you up to date on our various creative activities. It's called firstname.lastname@example.org. Mailings are infrequent. If you'd like to sign up, click on the address.