Dawn is bringing in a smoke grey sky and I’m working on my monthly column which is about keeping hope alive while you’re waiting for your next book deal. I’m heading up to
We’ve all heard the old joke about parents telling their children “When I was a boy (girl) I had to walk five miles to school…..” or fill in the blank on some other hardship of life back in the day. When I was a girl we usually walked to school in northern
The winter of my childhood was a white, white place with snow piled over my shoulders often. Snow was a constant, arriving early, often in late October or early November and staying late—sometimes still falling in April. As an adult I can still remember some memorable snow falls such as one New Year’s eve in the mid 1980swhen I catered a party and a blizzard dropped about five feet and we piled out of our van at regular intervals to dig out as we struggled to reach home.
For most of my life the sound of winter was snow plows lumbering past and shovels scraping away at the drifts and the songs that were played at the skating rink where I visited every night after dinner. Those songs still play in the recorder embedded in memory and at the oddest times one will replay, the melody traveling across the years. I lived in
So imagine my surprise when I moved to the Northwest and snow happened. Few people here know how to drive in snow, and when the roads become white, people panic and the town looks like a giant bumper car game. The city doesn’t have the equipment they need to deal with it. And then they spread sand and gravel to combat snow and ice—which mostly makes a huge mess and doesn’t do much to combat the conditions.
So when it snows here I stay home, out of the fray. I cook soup and brew pots of tea and turn up the heat and go out walking in it, savoring the magic of a white world. Because it never lasts long when it lands here, in fact, is usually washed away by rain a day or two later. But I think all writers need to spend time in the places or weather or activities that made them feel alive as a kid. For me, it’s about snow and creeks, lakes, forests.
So here’s what I think: look at the times and places you feel most alive and return there again and again. Show up at the page engaged and aware and crazy about living. Stay with the page tolerating the frustration, the uneasiness, the challenge. And feed your writing with the adventure of life in all its parts, including snow.