no bird but an invisible thing

About the Story

I wrote this story over the course of several years, between roughly 1992 and 1994. I started it upon picking up to re-read Flann O'Brien's At Swim-Two-Birds (ironically, the bird title and motif in my own story only emerged at the end, though it seems almost too neat in retrospect), and feeling a surge of "yes, yes, a story can have three beginnings or even five" and I threw the book aside (I still look forward to re-reading it), seized my notebook (labeled IDEARS) and started improvising the story.

I brought an early draft entitled Muse Sing to my self-organized writing group at the time (later memorialized as Two Many Cooks Press in order to publish the Nightjar collection), who helped temper the writing and bring the story (if slightly) into focus.

On finishing the story, I despaired of making the rounds of the lower rungs of the "serious writing" journals and shelved it. The old writing group fell away, my work led me to the nascent Web, and Briggs and I launched Enterzone. In that period, I realized the the various strands of proto-stories woven into No Bird could be pulled apart and then spun back together (very easily) using the Web's limited implementation of hyperlinks. The end result yields, in a sense, an entirely different story from the original, read as differently as it nearly always must be.

About the Title

It is taken, rather out of context I must admit, from a poem by Wordsworth. I also removed a comma (after "bird"), as is my wont.

Version 1.0

The original posted hyperversion of No Bird was at a now defunct address on a server at U.C. Berkeley (, and many of the citations for the story still point to that old outdated address. (I am in the process of notifying link-maintainers and getting the references updated.) There were a few typos and bad links, and a few coding errors attesting to my place on the learning curve at the time of that, my first web-site experiment. This was also in the days before background images and text and link colors. I redesigned the story to use a larger base font, some visual motifs, and some color.


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