The following is a parable I wrote for class—let me know what you think.
A student, one clean, straight-ironed and starched lab coat into his first semester at biology school, one hundred miles away from home, composing himself quite well for someone in a deep sleep-deprived stupor because last night a large silver barn owl swooped out of nowhere into his dorm room window—hooting every hour until the dawn broke through the boughs of the trees outside, making its nest in his laundry basket—pushed aside his Petri dish and told the professor he decided to quit. “I’m going to be a poet!” the student said.
“Nonsense,” the professor replied. The other students didn’t so much as look his way.
“That’s right, a nonsense poet. How did you know? Say, do you know anyone I can call for an owl-problem?” He can’t write. He can’t coax anything out of his creative organ except homesick limericks, which churns out like bile eating away in a stomach-acid-spray-and-hiss of words on the page. He misses his mother. He drives home. The owl and the laundry basket in the backseat.
The ex-student returns and finds that several tragedies have befallen the house he grew up in and his mother. A passing storm blew broken boughs on the roof. There were leaks in the ceiling. His mother had developed narcolepsy. The poet stayed. Fixed the leaks. The owl moved his nest to a branch on the roof, keeping mother awake with his hourly hoots. And the poet finally had something to write about.