Sunday, January 6, 2013

Rattling Around In My Head

Sometimes a week will go by and I haven’t written anything I want to share, at least in whatever form my writing has taken that week. Last week was one of those.

We’ve been busy here with winter: clearing snow from the driveway and trails we need open, cutting, splitting, moving wood from the wood pile to the outdoor furnace. No, we don’t heat the outside (but it’s an appealing thought). The furnace is outside, heating water that warms the inside – it’s a country thing. Later this week the prediction is for 50 degrees and sunny, and that will be welcome, but the work won’t end until maybe June. All of that takes time and energy and distracts from writing and even thinking about writing. Having a running chain saw in your hands, or operating a log splitter or even packing wood on the truck and then unloading it by the furnace are not tasks you can do with half your mind on something else. At least more than once. Unless you are a slow learner. I’m not.

So whatever story I’m working on at the moment gets less attention than I would like to give it, and whatever other things I’d like to write about don’t come to the surface. I am working on a new police story, and it was finished (I thought) a couple of days ago, but somewhere between driving to or from the woodpile, or perhaps running into town to resupply some part of our pantry or workshop, the whole story changed. One of the central characters underwent a total “re-do” as I was driving somewhere, and that, in turn, pointed to changes in at least two others and a slight modification of the storyline. It’s what happens to writers.

Now, with a warmer week promised, and a pretty good supply of wood ready to burn, I’m ready to go back to work doing the hard part: re-writing. It’s what happens to stories as they evolve. No matter how many times I start a new story, no matter how well developed the idea is before I begin to write, there will always be changes to make. It’s part of the way I work.

Life here seems to revolve around three things: writing, outdoor work, and getting together with friends. It doesn’t matter what season we’re in: those are the points of our compass where we live.

And people ask: What do you do in the country? A lot!

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