How do the seasons influence your writing? As a child in New England, ones world revolves around the seasons. Long, endless rides on my bike ate up summer days. In the summer, I felt like a charged battery. Friends and I even rode our horses to the beach one weekend, it took over six hours each way but we’d lied about staying at each other’s houses and our parents were none the wiser. Later, when reading books like Jane Austen, the discomfort of distances traveled were completely understood. Riding to a neighboring property and being caught in a rainstorm was completely understandable. And I still feel that summer charge of energy. Usually, I garden like crazy but this year I wrote, over eight hours a day, I felt like a word glutton and occasionally word-bloated. But, like summer as the days shortened and the temps dropped, I felt a different drive.
My word count slows, I’m not worried, I’ll get it back over NaNoWriMo and I also know it would be a big mistake to fight my reaction to colder weather. Genetically, I am from people who thrived in northern climates. I embrace an overwhelming need to prepare for winter, to clear out signs of summer. The trees are giving their eviction notices to the leaves and the weeds are finally dying back. Huge, really large spiders are trying to catch the last bugs for the zillion eggs they are preparing. I’d ignore them more easily if their large webs weren’t strung face-level across the paths. The morning sun rises later and my coffee is sipped in the dark. I listen to creatures move in the woods, the deer and squirrels compete for the corn I drop on the mossy path. I feed my animal neighbors who are busy storing fat to survive the coming winter. As the sun rises, I watch squirrels try to stuff one more kernel into their bulging cheeks, birds raiding the feeders and a family of deer visits several times a day to eat corn.
I feel an urge to purge. Weeds, words, summer clothes, scenes, paragraphs, characters, and summer salads no longer satisfy. A nice pumpkin awaits to be split open for pumpkin soup, pies, and salted seeds. Stories wait patiently in Scrivener to be reread, edited, caressed and dressed in warmer phrases. The many azalea bushes are clipped of their over-reaching branches and the hostas begin to feign their dramatic deaths. Deep within an inner chapter a paragraph tries too hard to stand out and faces the same ruthless fate as the azalea over-acheiver.
But, all is not loss. I might find a holly seedling, which has settled in a location that is perfect for a little holly. Will it become a pretty little bush with razor-edged leaves or a small tree with red winter berries? So, I clear the land around it and add a pile of protective mulch. I’ll feed the soil and give it all a little holly child needs. The same little orphans can appear in a story. She will appear as a minor character who grabs your heart and becomes a wonderful friend to a heroine in need of a friend.
So as the harvest moon shrinks with the days and the weather becomes bearable. A new season is embraced with rich colors and woolen warmth. The fruits of autumn are harvested with the bounty of words carefully grown and nurtured over the warm summer days. The magic that never stops on this little carbon-based rock hurtling through space is quite comforting.