A Bird Trapped In A Cage

Breezy Van Lit Author Interview

You Are a Bird explores what it is like to be a caged bird longing to be free. I think this original idea is intriguing. How did you come up with this idea and develop it into a story?

I came across the poem “Sympathy” by Paul Laurence Dunbar when I was an English teacher several years ago. The poem was about a caged bird who longed to be free. My students and I were deeply touched by the elegant words Dunbar chose to express the agony of a being in captivity. The poet’s parents were born into slavery, so there was a powerful human metaphor inherent within the story of this forlorn bird. This story stayed with me over the years. I have referenced “Sympathy” in one of my other novels, Body, and also in a screenplay I wrote about an artist imprisoned by his addiction and obsessions. A second work I discovered that same year of teaching was Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney. This book was written in present tense, and even more surprisingly, in second person perspective. I had never read such an odd book before and found myself enjoying a unique connection to the story because of this personalized approach. Eventually, these two works came together in the inspiration to write a book that will create in the reader the experience of being a bird trapped in a cage, to share in its thoughts, its dreams, its plots to attain liberty — all as the story unfolds in second person point of view. You Are a Bird turned out to be a great joy to write, in part due to this unusual perspective of the story.

What were some themes that you felt were important to highlight in this story?

There was the surface theme that living beings, especially humans, fail to thrive without freedom, unable to live according to their design. But, below the surface, are themes involving our response to captivity, to frustration, to (paraphrasing Jimi Hendrix) know what we want but not know how to go about getting it, as well as the spiritual essence of true liberation. These themes seemed especially fitting as humanity experiences the aftermath of lockdowns and fear generated during the pandemic.

What is one thing that you hope readers take away from You Are a Bird?

I hope readers take away satisfaction from the experience of the book, of relating to a caged bird, as we all experience being trapped in life at one time or another (or maybe we always experience this to some degree). I hope they leave the book continuing to ponder some of the symbolism of the book. It was fun to explore a small portion of the world through the eyes of a bird, because, though symbols abound, the protagonist does not understand them — I hope that the reader enjoys putting the meanings of these symbols together as the story unfolds — and surely, readers will find symbolic connections that I missed, one of the fun things about sharing a story with others. There is a warning implied in the book as well, one that relates again to the pandemic, which is that, though people are mostly free to leave their homes again, and though they may in fact leave their “cages,” many will find that they bring the trauma they experienced in their cage with them moving forward — and they will be wise to find a way to escape, not just from physical limitations but from mental and spiritual limitations as well. I would love if You Are a Bird could help readers in that way along their path.

What is the next book that you are working on and when can your fans expect it to be out?

I have two very different books in the works. The first is a non-fiction spiritual exploration of the controversial issues of our day, called, Singularity. The second is a comedy tentatively titled WolfumsSingularity is written, though it is in need of a deep edit, so I’m hoping that will be released by Shimmer Tree Books within the next six months. Wolfums is in its early stages. My aim is to have it ready for early 2024 at the latest.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

You are a bird in a cage who wonders if you were created to do more than cling to a perch and watch others live.

Inspired by Paul Laurence Dunbar’s poem, “Sympathy,” Breezy Van Lit composed You Are a Bird as an allegorical exploration of your spirit’s desire to be free. This inspirational novella is written in 2nd person point of view and present tense to pull readers into the peculiar world of the protagonist bird—You.

“Refuse to be caged.” —Breezy Van Lit

About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on January 22, 2023, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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