Friday, November 15, 2019

Writing Weather

When I was growing up in Virginia, we lived "out in the country." Not deep country, but a few miles outside the city limits. Far enough out to have several acres of land, sloping down from the road as a driveway and stretching out in back toward a field that could be used for planting vegetables and small fruit trees could be grown. My father mowed this yard. But when autumn came, raking the leaves that had fallen from the huge hickory nut tree and blown down the hill from my uncles' houses on each side of ours -- raking the leaves was a ritual that my parents and my younger brother and I did together. First, we raked. Then the dogs ran through the leaves. Then we piled the leaves up again and burned them. The bright fall day would be filled with that wonderful smell of burning leaves as we leaned against our rakes.

Fall is my favorite season. Snuggle up on sofa with book season. Add blanket to bed season. Sleep late and eat oatmeal season. I have my own rituals now. The moment when I bring out my small heater. The first night I make cocoa. This is "sleeping weather" when I make up for all the uncomfortable nights when I tossed and turned even with the air conditioner on.

This is also writing weather. The weather when I wake up and go to my computer. Weather when I feel like a storyteller -- when there are readers gathered with me around a fireplace, listening as I weave my story. My cat naps on top of the radiator and time has slowed down.

Today, after three trips in two months (Kansas City, Missouri, Bouchercon in Dallas, New England Crime Bake in Massachusetts), I am home. I have work to do -- time has not slowed down. I have errands to take care of, students to meet with at school, reports to write. But when I sit down at my computer with my mug of cocoa, it is writing weather.

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