“The fondest wish and deepest hope of many is that their lives and legacies will outlive them. Most men in thrall to this fixation sire children at least in part to seed the earth with offspring that will keep their line and their memory alive long after they’ve shuffled off this mortal coil.” So penned author Pennel Bird in one of the 137 articles he wrote for LibertyNation.com. A gifted author and deep thinker, Pennel graced the digital pages of LN from Jan. 28, 2020, until his death on Aug. 23, 2021.
Pennel’s use of the keyboard made him a highly regarded author. It’s not often one sees a writer on the internet quoting Percy Bysshe Shelley these days. But Pennel had an abiding love for great literature. He wrote music, plays, and even an animated television comedy/drama in his spare time. His creative mind was always at work.
Liberty Nation Editor Connie Pollock recognized the brilliance of Pennel’s writing early on. “Pennel Bird was a serious thinker and a lover of words. His language soared, and he took his readers along for the ride, tilting the prism slightly on any topic he examined so that we could learn and understand in new and colorful ways. Often using the leaven of humor, he charmed us, but he was never too prideful to take direction.”
“But the hero’s fatal flaw,” opined Pennel, “is always hubris – thinking too grandly about oneself and believing one’s own power is greater than it is.” In his unique way, Pennel embraced and unleashed the power of the pen, a stunning example of what it means to love and lust after the written word. Yet his intellectual prowess never seemed to dawn on him; he was self-effacing, always giving credit to others.
National Correspondent Sarah Cowgill was particularly close to the writer we mercilessly teased as Birdman:
“Pennel came into my life illuminating the casualness of humility through sage words that belied his youthful appearance. I instantly adored my newest ‘little brother’ and spent time being entertained, educated, and intrigued to know more about my friend. He once relayed, ‘My mom always repeated the quote, “The greatest sin is to be boring.”’ And he never was. Always humble, eager to learn more about each and every one, with a word of encouragement or consolation.”
A Life Well Lived
Despite his creative intelligence, Pennel’s writing always played second fiddle to his family. His two sons were greatly adored, as was his wife, whom he referred to as someone with a “heart of gold” and a constitution “made of steel.” In communicating with this bright author via our edit platform, Pennel once spoke about his late father. Bemused by the memory, he reflected, “[He was] larger than life, a staunch conservative who loved nothing better than baiting liberals — and dropping a bon mot like ‘What do you think about abortion?’ at the table to hear us all go at it. His credo? [It] doesn’t matter what your opinion is — just have one. He’s why I don’t take dissenting views personally. I would argue with him from my left-leaning youth, and he would listen and then say, ‘You did a fine job. I just know more than you do.’ And then proceed to demolish my argument! I got lucky. So many kids didn’t.”
It’s only fitting to give Pennel the concluding quote in an article that barely scratches the surface of a man so deep and rich.
“Shelley’s incomparable poem Ozymandias is a pithy and devastating meditation on the transience of power and the ultimate fate awaiting us all – paupers and princes alike. We are all rendered to dust in the end, and what remains of the lives we’ve lived may warrant no mention whatsoever, a line in a local newspaper – or maybe the subject of weighty tomes for centuries afterward.”
Knowing Pennel Bird, he likely would laugh at the thought of a weighty tome written about him, but surely his was one of the few whose life warrants much more than just one line. He is survived by his wife Michelle and two boys, Wyatt and Cal.
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Read more from Leesa K. Donner.