Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Time for a Change

When I went to the Caribbean I loved the heat, the lovely heat. I felt like my poor soul was shrivelled up deep inside my body - hugging onto my backbone perhaps - by the cold of the Canadian winter and it blossomed outwards extending far beyond the perimeters of my body when it met the sultry delicious heat of the south. I loved the smells, the burning fires, the spicy tang of the banana blossoms, the undercurrent of marijuanna and bad plumbing even. I loved the relentless green of the jungle and the surprising amount of strange and wonderful birds. I loved the water - turquoise and warm with colourful fish dancing by my delighted white hued body.

There was one thing I didn't like in this paradise and it is the thing that makes all the rest possible so it is perverse to dislike it. Yet I did. That is the regularity of the days - the length, the afternoon showers. When the air is warm I want to stay up late and get all that light but the glorious sun dove into the sea far too soon. And it didn't rise as early as I would want either.

Now the days are getting short and I bemoan it but I realize it is part of my dna. In Scotland in medeival times, my ancestors gathered around the peat stove and told stories long into the night to keep the ghosties away. They found the last bits of potatoes and stuck them on sticks and into the fire until the flesh was flakey hot and good. They had spent the autumn gathering and preparing food to last them through the long cold spell. In Jamaica and Cuba when they laugh at you for wanting something today it is because it will be fine tomorrow and the next day and the next. No need for urgency.

This morning I looked at my blog header and went - oh, oh - time to get rid of the beautiful boat on the beach and put something golden and obviously from this time. I brought up the basket of mittens and one zillion hats the other day - even though I had thought fleetingly a week ago that I might get another month or so out of wearing my sandals. The chicken coop is cleaned out and a deep deep layer of clean shavings put down - it won't be cleaned again til spring - just sprinkled with diatamaceous earth now and then and turned over. As it decays it will help heat the wee chook house.

I want to look at my next book and see how I attack the seasons. The Rock Walker took place in a week in August. This one starts in mid-October because that is when I started it. I have to look at what is growing in the gardens at that time - what the weather is likely to be. And what the urgency is deep in the hearts of all us northern people to make ready for the dark cold days. For those of you who write how does the change of seasons (or lack of) affect your writing? And for those of you who are readers - do you like dipping into the unknown of a different environment or would you rather read about places that are more alike to yours?

And I wouldn't trade it for one season! Maybe just a trip every year for a month during February and March when I'm truly done with the cold!


Elspeth Antonelli said...

For as much as I loved the heat of the Caribbean, I'll stick to having more than one season. Out here, in my little pocket of the west coast, we don't get much snow. Rain, yes. But no bitter cold days. I write more in the winter because my kids are in school and there are less outside distractions.


Liz in PA said...

Dear Crazy Jane~ Ha! I like you just as you are! I like your writings on this Blog, cause you always have a different perspective on so many things! Living so near the Ocean...and the sound of the howling winds in the winter, oh my so much to write about!
The new picture is the colors of Fall...every year the same, but different!
Way out across the pasture from my house we have a small pond. And there are small Maple Trees especially is gorgeous!
I call it "My Feather Tree". I've watched it grow larger and larger for about 5 years now.
Right now it is totally in Gold Leaves!
Winter makes me moody. Stuck in the house too much! But I do like to get out my sweats to wear, snuggily sweatshirts, etc. We definately eat more soups and stews= YUM!
Question: Will your books ever be published for me to read? Hope so!
Where oh where are the Publishing Houses when we need them?
Take care...and keep on keeping on!

Jan Morrison said...

Elspeth - yes, the pleasures of home draw us in - we become smaller somehow but cozier too. In the summer we expand and get a little crazy around the edges!
Liz - I like the description of your feather tree! It is always different out here in the wild east but I love the prairie too - my more recent ancestors being from there!
As to the book - we'll see! I have complete faith that it will be picked up.

Elizabeth Bradley said...

When I was 18 I left Northern British Columbia and moved to Southern California and I've been here ever since, although we do experience some changes in season, they are much more subtle. I still miss the seasons.

What a great subject for a blog. My writing is influenced by the seasons, even if that influence doesn't make it onto the page in a literal fashion. The new header is a marvelous representation of the joys of Autumn.

Rayna M. Iyer said...

I loved the old header, and I love the new one. But naturally, Fall is my favourite season, perhaps because I have only experienced it for one glorious week in my entire life.
Here in Bombay, we have four seasons - hot, hotter, hottest, wet - so Canada seems almost magical to me.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Beautiful pictures!

I don't blame you for wanting the warmth. Our NC mornings have been chilly this fall and I swear I feel it in my bones. Of course, we warm up near to 80 in the afternoons, still. :)

I love your descriptions. You do a WONDERFUL job with them. I'm very envious.

Mystery Writing is Murder

Galen Kindley--Author said...

I think all the photos you use are tasteful, interesting, and, well, very appealing. This is my first year in New Mexico. I’ve enjoyed all the seasons thus far. However, Fall is easily my favorite. Not too hot, not too cold, colorful, little wind, certainly not much rain or gloom like we had in Seattle. So, I like Fall. By coincidence…because the book was started well before we moved here…my current WIP takes place in, ta da, the Fall.

Best Regards, Galen

Imagineering Fiction Blog

Sophie said...

Oh this last post is inspired and inspiring. thanks Jan!

Anonymous said...

I am glad the chooks get a mention..

Often wonderd how they fare in civilzed tiem when they can tlive with you in the house like they used to.

oceanartist said...

Maybe you could hang the boat from the trees in the front yard for a bit of winter sculpture. Then you could combine the two banner images.

Jan Morrison said...

Elizabeth B. - Thanks! I don't think I'm done this topic yet - I could go on and on. I've been thinking about the Caribbean (which I love) a lot over the years and what the changing seasons do to our sensibilities altogether.
Rayna - yes - other is exotic isn't it! I would host you here in a nanosecond! Come on - I'll take you snow-shoeing!
Elizabeth S-C - Thanks for the stroke about my descriptions! I just got back from Cape Breton and I have a WHOLE bunch more inside of me. My best friends and I agree that there is no place on the planet more gorgeous than Cape Breton - especially when the fall colours are doing their spectacular show offy thang!
Oh Galen - if I didn't live in Nova Scotia I would want to live in New Mexico. I travelled through it with my family when I was young and I've been smitten ever since. I have a lovely friend there too - her name is Suzann and you can see a link to her web page on mine. I'd go mad taking pictures there.
Sophie - I miss you dolly! How's wee Lucy? I'm coming to see you this week if I can... and thanks for reading and commenting.
Denise - the chooks are very happy so the man tells me - they were snugged up when I finally got home after four days in paradise! The little cockerel is getting plumes and the wee hen is sweet and kind. Of the four older gals, one is moulting and one needs the stubs of her worn out feathers extracted so new ones will grow before the snow flies. They don't remember the cushy life they had before because they'd rather eat bugs!
Annie - you read my mind!!! Actually, the dear row boat is wrapped up on it's cradle and looks very interesting - like a piece of art indeed! I'll shoot it and post it for you!

Sophie said...

You asked about what Autumn does to writer's writing and reader's reading...

I am compulsively collecting books and writing snippits like a squirl with eggcorns, storing them away and hidding them places I'm not sure I'll find them again. A little here, a little there, playing the odds so that which ever book I open or journal I read will have something about nature or my babies or magic in them since these are the things that will nourish me and fill me up during the long night of winter.

Sophie said...

squirrel and acorns
though eggcorns works with the chooks eh?

Jan Morrison said...

lovely Sophie! I like eggcorns - I caught the misspelled squirrel but not the acorns. They made perfect sense to me.