As anyone who frequents this blog can attest, Sitting in Darkness is decidedly NOT a confessional or a journal blog, or even a how-to-write-and-get-published blog. It’s mostly a compendium of weird, little stories, with some editorial content I throw in occasionally to illuminate the seed of the story. Or perhaps I’ll include an interesting anecdote about stuff that happened while I was writing the story.
I spend a good deal of time reading confessionals, journals, and how-to’s, so I’m not saying the way I am blogging is all that…it is, in fact, inferior to the many blogs that actually offer visitors useful information about writing, good reads, and, well, let’s say, “the state of the publishing industry”. I just don’t feel I have much to offer there.
But, I do have a group of regulars; people who visit the blog often, leave supportive comments, and are generally excellent individuals, as far as I can tell from their avatars and their comments. I can only hope their opinions of me are half as high.
So, I thought it might be fun (or not) to post some seasonal shots of where Sitting in Darkness gets done. In a future post, I might even post a pic or two of my office, where the writing happens (or not), but the utter disarray of said office right now might constitute a violation of web etiquette.
Robert Frost once so eloquently wrote, ‘spring is the mischief in me’. So here is a shot of the homestead in spring. I haven’t been able to discern any difference in the tone of my stories from spring to fall to winter. We plant and dig and sweep. The bumble bees chase us away from the peach, pear, and apple blossoms. Writing takes a back seat to outdoor pursuits. The summer builds and send us to the pond to cool off.
But I must admit, I loathe the summer heat and wait expectantly for the fall, my favorite season, when I am not above telling my kids that we live in werewolf central. It just seems that way to me. Driving home from a jaunt in the city, I develop a delicious sensation of dread as we weave through the autumn fog in the hills, the roads a jumble of color from the wind-swept leaves. The fall invites me outside to ramble in the fields but it also tugs me to my office to write. A more interior approach to life comes home to roost in my chest.
I will take an autumn shot this year, and post it.
With the leaves turning to brown mud, the first snows start to drop – languid, fat, and wet. But this is New England and the storms pick up. The snows begin to pile and lay heavy on the land. Sooner or later, the storm comes. The electricity fails, and fire is the only heat and light to prevent us from sitting in total, freezing darkness.
When we’re really in it, and the writing is furious:
The winter evenings in such a place are made for sitting in darkness: the wind howls, and the trees grow so thick and close, they creak and scream as they bend back and forth on dark, frigid nights. After the rest of the family has started to snore under a mound of quilts, what writer could resist the urge to bask in the glow of the orange face of the wood stove and scribble a dark little story? Monsters roam the upstairs hallways; lonesome spirits moan in the wet, fieldstone basement; and nameless horrors whisk past my little window, outside in the snowy bluster. The best writing comes when I can convince myself our deliverance from the storm and its denizens is far from certain. What will morning find in this house?
I wake to giggling children, the smell of coffee and waffles, and powder blue skies. The stove is toasty. I don’t even look to see what I wrote last night. That can wait. We huddle around the iron stove and feed in logs to warm ourselves before going out to breathe in that scrumptious, clean air.
After breakfast, out to blow the snow, shovel the property, change out the chickens’ water which would have frozen overnight. The dogs disappear in the drifts.
Back in the house after a good snootful of fresh air and some vigorous shoveling, I find I have the gumption to read what I wrote the night before – maybe there’s something worth keeping. The truly abysmal sentences, so clear now in this growing sunshine, are summarily deleted. This evening, I’ll be at it again, I hope.
The fall and winter just bring on my muse.
My muse is an old man who wanders the fields aimlessly, kicking at the dead cornstalks, and talking to geese on the wing.
And he’s approaching now.