Tag Archives: winter

Winter doldrums? Keep yourself busy


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Winter is definitely upon us. In some parts of the country, the weather is warmer than usual, rainy, sloppy and downright annoying. In other places, people are so buried in snow that they want to move some place where there is none at all, ever.

If you’re shut indoors, this is a good time to have a pile of things to do, especially in regard to any and all of your creative endeavors. Seriously, writing in a coffee shop with lots of people around you making background noise sounds like a great idea, but the shop closes at some point and you have to go home. Maybe forming a circle of friends who can meet at your place, if you have room, and just yak about writing or do some writing exercises like Rita Mae Brown offers in her books will spur you to do more than you’d planned to do. Remember, February is coming and romantic poems are always in vogue for that month.

My car doesn’t want to start, so that means that if I need to run an errand, I have to walk a half mile to the bus stop and when the weather is crappy, I don’t want to. I’d rather stay home, make treats, do some brainstorming, and work on current projects. And I have plenty of stuff on hand to make treats.

I’m filling in, along with a couple of other people, for a sick friend on his blog. It’s keeping me as busy as a bee in a field of clover, and it’s a lot of fun. I did it out of instinct, because everyone wondered what was going on. The gathering place was not being manned. It just seemed like a good idea to pick up the reins and keep going, and it has worked out quite well.

It doesn’t mean I’m setting my own stuff aside. I still focus on my own work, still feed the birds and the squirrels who steal bird food, and still fix meals and make cookies.

There is no real reason to stop working on your creative stuff, ever. If you need treats to keep your brainstorming going and you don’t want to buy them, there are recipes all over the internet that are easy to follow. It’s well worth your time to do these things for yourself, and besides that, it will probably impress your friends, too. And I can’t think of anything better than being in the 2nd floor apartment on the street side, and looking out at snow falling, while you have a tray full of cookies in the oven, just waiting for you to take them out and finish the entire batch.

Who said winter has to be dull and boring?

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Well, I’m back….


Whitetail in the snow

Whitetail in the snow

That’s what Sam Gamgee said, after he returned from seeing Frodo, Gandalf, and the Elves off on their final voyage.

Oh, you haven’t read it in a long time? Well, then, take all four books out of mothballs and reread them from start to finish. Start with ‘The Hobbit’ and go from there, and no cheating by watching the movies, either. (Naughty, naughty.) Let the words on the page stir your imagination to life. I do that about once every five years. Allow yourself that little luxury, sitting in a comfy chair with good light and food and drink at your elbow, and no distractions. Get lost in the story.

There are so many, many stories to read, so many worlds to conquer, so many universes to explore, that not giving yourself the gift of living vicariously in another world through the pages of a story is depriving yourself of the wonder that you felt as a child.

I’ve had my share of distractions for a few weeks, but I struggled onward against them, no matter what. Even if I could only put a few words to a page, I still did that. You do get bogged down in the pale, grey cold of winter and being shut indoors. It’s as though there is no end in sight to it, and we’re stuck with it through eternity. And there are writers who have invented entire societies and stories based around that very idea – that winter never ends or is so prolonged that it lasts for generations. They make use of what may seem like living in a shoebox to some people.

I’ve had a few distractions for several weeks, but I struggled onward anyway, and managed to keep the continuity going, but it was just plain hard at time, and made worse by seeing bright sunshine on snow piled so high it might as well form a glacier.

Now it’s ending. However slowly it happens, winter is withdrawing – maybe by the end of March, but withdrawing, nonetheless – and before long the lawn will begin to show some green again.

Happy Christmas, Merry New Year… and, well…


Merry Christmas from Gaia, Mother Nature, St. Nick, and the Frost Giants

Merry Christmas from Gaia, Mother Nature, St. Nick, and the Frost Giants

Ok, I’m stuck. I’m stuck in a place that requires making a short story work and another place that will finish a chapter in a novel. Is it the holiday season? Or is it something about winter? Could it be cabin fever?

Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe it’s just what happens when you focus on something so much that you realize you’ve forgotten to do simple tasks like make red beans and rice for supper, fix a pot of soup for lunch, clean the catbox and change the water in the bowl, and do laundry.

That might be it. Whatever the reason is for getting stuck, it just happens.

In one novel currently underway, I cranked out 2 full chapters in 1989 and then came to a screeching halt, because I had no idea where it was going.

In the short story where I’m stuck for words, the continuity has to work or the story does not hold up.

In the other novel, chapter 2 has two parts. One part is finished, and the other part now takes its place, just as you see a movie cut from one scene to another, and these two parts take place several thousand miles apart, with different weather systems in place.

Oh, you think you’re confused? Try this: right in the middle of a nice dinner, one of the characters gets up out of his chair and starts telling me what happened. So do I go turn on my computer and start writing down his narrative? Or do I wait until I’m done with dinner, put the dishes in the sink to wash later, and then go write up that narrative?

Well, this IS the Christmas season. It’s time to not be quite so intense. Capricorn rules the sky right now, and we just passed the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, when the Earth’s axis moves to 0 degrees Capricorn, while the Frost Giants stand ready to overpower humanity with their bitter winds and freezing gales.

We hang holly on the mantelpiece (if we have one) or the door, because holly is what was used to keep the Frost Giants at bay. We burn the yule log to indicate the passing of another 12 months and wait for the sun to put in longer hours in the sky. We read old stories and legends and myths about winter following fall, and spring following winter, and wonder if winter will ever end.

And then some scientist will try to explain that it’s all due to climate change, which takes the romance out of it and destroys the imaginative stories and songs that make the season a lot more fun.

So my wish for this Christmas and for the New Year 2014 is that Imagination is allowed to rear her silly, giggly, frizzy head without being stifled or scorned or analyzed, and that she’ll have a crown of holly branches on her head, and a red robe with white trim and fluffy slippers on her feet, while she sits by my imaginary fireside reading someting I wrote and sipping hot cocoa with chocolate shavings, or hot apple cider with a slice of lemon.

Merry Christmas and a Happy and very Prosperous New Year 2014.