On days like this, when the world outside is frozen and stiff; the chill of the air is so extreme it penetrates even centrally heated homes; and something as simple as walking the dog is frost-tinged hell—writing is a solace.
Because I work full time, I only have an hour early in the morning, a few minutes stolen throughout the day and any time my tired brain can squeak out at night to find that solace. When I do, it takes my mind away. Granted, that doesn’t mean my thoughts are off vacationing on the deck of a cruise ship in the tropics—I am, after all, trying to paint my villains more black and my heroes more colorful. The joy of writing for me, is that, like reading a good book, the act of doing it completely grabs my attention and pulls me away from whatever is happening in real life. I want to go where my heroes and villains are for a while. There are no temperature degrees or inches of precipitation in our made-up worlds. We don’t feel with our nerve endings, we “feel” within our heads.
I was not made for this modern world. I am a horrible multi-tasker and cannot understand how my daughter can text on the phone, do homework on a computer, talk to whoever is in the room and listen to music or have the television on as background noise. The ability to do two things at once is a skill I will never have and rarely desire (I would like to be able to figure out how to change a radio station while I’m driving without having a near-accident!).
But this single-task gal is very much who I am and why I’m a writer and lover of fiction. When I focus, I do so with laser intensity. I do not stand outside the windows looking inside at my plot and characters, directing them where to go. I leap into the story and live there. It’s why I cannot read Stephen King, one of the best story weavers around. His books draw me into a black hole.
I choose instead to pick where my mind will go, create my own illusions and direct my thoughts to places that are mine.
Winters like this one, when much of the nation has felt the fury of Mother Nature, are agony for office commuters, delivery people, mothers and fathers with school children, truck and bus drivers, frequent fliers, seniors with frail bones and many doctor’s appointments and anyone stuck outside for a portion of the day.
But for writers, they provide stolen hours from canceled events, a little glistening inspiration from the white sparkle, and a little extra quiet as the world is brought to a halt. For these reasons, I am always filled with joy when I see the snowflakes gather on the ground.
–Genilee Swope Parente