Friday, December 14, 2007

Making a Literary Life: Snowed In

Living in New England, this is bound to happen! Some of us got snowed in (while Lisa was probably lounging in the sun writing about snow)!What do you do when unexpected time comes your way?

Funny, and ironic, my novel takes place in the snowy fictional town of Sugarton, New Hampshire, and I live in dry California mountains. I write about snow - it's cold, right? like the ice I put in my drinks when the sun shines down all too bright.

Though I will never celebrate snow days here, unexpected time has come my way. I reduced my hours at work by a third in order to have time to finish my two WIP's; they're three legged dogs that have been hobbling along for months now. It means less money, that's true. But it also means my life has balance. I am happy I've given myself this gift.

Unexpected time? Gassing up, stocking up, shoveling out, drying out drippy snow stuffs, snuggling sweet cheeks and baking brownies...whew! I'm ready to plop on the couch in front of the fire with Lee Martin's River of Heaven. So excited!

Snowed in meant children home early; they rushed out to earn their red cheeks and cold wet outerwear, then returned with friends asking for a video and popcorn. I got work done on my revision, despite knocks on the window and laughter, then hid on the sofa with my eyes closed, where they could not see me below the sills even though I could place their whereabouts by the shouts. I visualized the section needing rewrite (hoping Mother Nature would let up for overnight plows) comparing it to the elements Lynne mentioned in her post. Then after my own little mental movie, a useful exercise, I enjoyed some of that popcorn and the last third of their movie, too!

After grabbing the essential groceries, I plopped down by my Christmas tree and worked on my work-in-progress. Like Amy, I'm falling in love with my new friends. In my mind, the only cure for the pain and sadness that comes when you let the characters from a previous novel out into the world is to deepen relationships with new ones.

Speaking of letting your novel out into the world, the wonderful team in foreign rights at St Martin's Press has sold my novel to Holland.


Judy Merrill Larsen said...

Oh, I'm jealous. I love snow days. Part of this comes, I know, from all those years of teaching--here's a dirty little secret, the only folks praying harder for a snow day than students are the teachers. It was a bonus day, a free pass. My house would fill up with all the neighbor kids whose moms had to go to work, I'd schlep around in PJs all day, sipping tea, eating cinnamon toast, and throwing wet kid clothes in the dryer and making scads of hot chocolate. I'd refuse to do any schoolwork--instead I'd read the books I'd been saving.

We might get some snow this weekend--perfect timing because all the far-flung kids should get home today before it starts. I can't wait.

Anonymous said...

This is the only time I'm a fan of public transportaton. My commute home yesterday only took about 15 minutes longer than usual. I was blessed to have "my" bus waiting for me at the T station--that never happens. And a happy driver! How rare!

So the unexpected time that others spent in traffic, I spent shoveling the sidewalk and driveway. Then had to do the bottom of the drive again this morning. Oh well.

But I love the exercise! It also gave me a chance to understand how my characters, who do hard, physical labor, feel at the end of a day. Every day!

Lynne Griffin and Amy MacKinnon said...

Jud, I wish I were as positive as you. I despise all things cold. In fact, as soon as the last child heads to college, I'm off to LA or Tuscany or Turkey or Bermuda.

Kira, I can't believe the T ran on time. One correction, shoveling is not exercise, it's torture. Absolute back-breaking, knee-twisting torture. Did you save your space with a beach chair?

Judy Merrill Larsen said...

If you end up in Tuscany, let me know. I'll be right there with you. I only love the cold for about three weeks--and only if it's fluffy snow.

Larramie said...

And yet another storm is on the way. Stay safe, stay warm everyone.

Eileen said...

I'm with Judy- I miss snow days. Most likely because it doesn't happen much here. Rain, now rain we get all the time- but they never let you stay home because of rain.

Lynne Griffin and Amy MacKinnon said...

Judy, I'm going to Tuscany alright. I'll even start a writers' retreat at my villa and you can be the first guest.

Larramie, I've got firewood, batteries,candles, chocolate, and a book, so we're all set for the nor'easter. How's your weather?

Eileen, really, you miss it? Did you own a lucrative snow removal company because I can't think of another reason to miss snow.


Anonymous said...

I have a driveway. A blessing and a curse.

When I lived in Somerville, I'd just plow my little car into a legal space and leave it until the snow melted. After one storm I returned to the car to find it five feet from the curb. All the snow had washed away when the snow turned to rain.

I prefer to think of shoveling as exercise. Power of positive thinking. And a lot of Advil afterward.

Lisa Marnell said...

Okay, I just went for a walk/run in a long sleeve t-shirt and shorts. It is 62 degrees and beautiful out.

Could Southern California be a slice of heaven sometimes? I think so, considering that I JUST got an e-mail that I'm on a women's hockey team in Panorama City and my first game is tomorrow night at six. I believe this ex-Montrealer is living what's called "the best of both worlds". Ice hockey AND warm weather. Sigh. I must be dreaming.

Don't you dare wake me up!