Friday, January 16, 2009

Can you say, holy crap, it's cold out?

This beautiful fox came around yesterday morning searching for food. Along with him came blue jays and crows. The scavenger birds tend to follow the crafty animals around just in case their furry brethren snag a morsel and there are leftovers. A gorgeous red cardinal even joined in the party, looking like nature's ornament when he perched in a cedar to watch the show.

Last night, as the temperature did a free-fall to 18 below zero, the bones of my house popped like my knees when walking up stairs. We haven't had this kind of cold for several years. You tend to forget what it feels like when you walk out into it. Your nose sticks together, your teeth ache when you breath through your mouth, and the wind; the wind steals your breath, makes your eyeballs water and feel as though they'll pop from their sockets, and pinches bare skin like thousands of tiny needles.

For all those reading in a warm place, or have never experienced frigid temps and have no clue as to what I'm talking about, count your blessings and your oil savings. Oh, and can I come for a visit?

The one thing it is good for is writing. What else can you do? So I've begun my fourth book. I don't know where it's going yet, but so far I know one thing: it's a historical novel set in 18th century Scotland. Why not, since I've already done so much research on that era. I'm also writing in the first person and as a man. I didn't think it would be any different than writing in the third person, but it is. In the third person, you feel God-like, directing your characters (or in my case they direct themselves), but I'm looking down on them, seeing the big picture.

In the first person, it's a bit like acting, really. I need to get into character, feel him in me, know him inside and out; his thoughts, emotions, likes and dislikes. It now becomes personal.

I'm liking it a lot.


Catherine said...

We used to have a fox that frequented my back yard on the east coast as well as a lot of beautiful birds and wildlife. We have very different wildlife here on the west coast and I'm hoping to get over my fear of coyotes some time soon! I do remember the nose-sticking cold and as I write this I'm sitting around in shorts and a t-shirt. I guess I could always come back for a visit if
I miss frozen nose hairs! Hurrah on your new novel, I can hardly wait for it. It's so interesting to read about the process a writer goes through and where their inspirations come from. Keep up the great work!!

Mary Duncan said...

Shorts and a t-shirt. I won't see that fashion-wear for at least 4 or 5 months. Sad, really. It seems that half my life is spent inside. No wonder my butt spreads more each year!!

I wonder if I could write if I were living in a warmer climate? Perhaps when the newness wore off—in 5 or 6 years! I really think that that's why there are so many authors up here in Maine, or anywhere it's cold for so long. There's a sense of time, not so rushed, that you're able to ponder the world around you, to take a moment for yourself.

For me, it's either in front of the computer, or with my nose buried in a good book.

And there are so many good books out there.