Monday, February 8, 2010

Snow Day!

    It started snowing on Friday…and just didn't stop. Not until Saturday night. By then we had over 2 feet of snow in Washington, D.C. and didn't know what to do with it. (Although…I hear tell that nigh on 5,000 people showed up for a neighborhood snowball fight in Dupont Circle!) Granted folks in other parts of the country get a lot more snow, and regularly. But we don't. In fact, a few inches is usually enough to send us into panic and school-cancelation mode. So to say we were overwhelmed is an understatement.

    Now what does this have to do with writing? Well, I can't think of a better inducement to working on another chapter of the work-in-progress than being snowed in. It's Monday and the roads around my neighborhood still aren't drivable. There's food in the fridge, and—thank goodness—we still have electricity for heat and lights. Yes, the phone still works, darn it—so people can call for no good reason and destroy my concentration, but I'm not above turning off the ringer.

    All of this makes me wonder if anyone has ever made a study of the relative number of novels produced in various climates. Are writers in Missoula, Montana ten times more prolific than those in Birmingham, Alabama? Do Maine writers (other than Stephen King) hit the bestseller lists more often than those who hang out in Key West? And why should we wait for snow to trap us inside to feel we need to write, write, write? Why is it so hard to focus when writing is really what we want to do anyway?

    I'm not contemplating moving to a colder climate. But I'm seriously thinking about giving myself a periodic "snow day". I'll pretend I can't move the car for the imaginary drifts blocking it. I'll turn off the phones and put a pot of soup on the stove. I'll reschedule appointments, ignore emails, cozy up with my laptop on the couch and lose myself in a scene of my own imagining.

    And the one I'll work on today? It will have palm trees and pink sand and a ship in full sail, skimming across tropical blue water. Enough of this snow! –Happy writing, Kathryn