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Getting Back to Work

If you are my editor or husband, do us all a favor and skip ahead. The next paragraph probably isn’t meant to be read by you.

After lolly-gagging around a good part of December, (I told you you’d want skip ahead) I had to get back to work last week and dive back into my book with a renewed vigor.  It wasn’t entirely my fault that I didn’t get very many pages produced during the Christmas Season. I was struck with this sort of bake cookies, concoct fudge, knit presents sort of frenzy and Regency England held no thrall over me, except perhaps as a source of a good Wassail punch recipe.

Okay, it was my fault, but in my defense, I have been writing without breaks for about three years now, and I needed a little bit of time away from the keyboard and a bit of time to find my spirit again.

And I did. Being snowed in helped. When you can’t get out of your neighborhood, the shopping and hustle of the season sort of disappears off the radar. I sort of shrugged off what I couldn’t do and instead went sledding with the kids. I had forgotten how much fun it is to go whipping down a hill and laugh your head off with dizzy fear about how and where you are going to land–and in front of all your neighbors. And speaking of neighbors–I met so many of mine that I’ve seen in passing but never got to know.  Amazing what happens when you just stop. Life becomes so much simpler because your plans are rather straightforward: stay at home. At first there was only a little bit of snow, but then it came down with a vengeance and buried us. At that point the indispensable, must be done, follow to the minute, day to day schedule that rules my life was indiscernible. Buried much like my flower pots.

And there is a silence that comes with a big snowfall that is humbling. A hushed sort of awe that surrounds and blankets you. It is as if the rest of the world has stopped to listen just like you are.  Since most of a writer’s life is spent listening to the voices in your head (these are the good sort of voices, not the ones that require medication, though with some of us even that is debatable), the silence is a blessed respite. I would go out at night and just stand on my deck, knee deep in snow and just listen to nothing.

Of course there is the other side of too much snow. Take my poor aunt in Couer d’Alene, Idaho. Spokane and Couer d’Alene have been measuring their snowfall this winter in feet rather than inches. Even I can agree that there is such a thing as too much of a good thing, as seen by the tunnel to her steps and front door. Just for reference, the top rail of her porch is about 6-7 feet up from the ground.

No, I was happy to get back to work last week. I had my office back to myself, no snow to distract me, and a story that suddenly hummed to life with renewed vigor. Perhaps it was the characters who looked happy to see me, or was it the writer who was happy to find them waiting for her.

Do you feel renewed this time of year?

5 comments to “Getting Back to Work”

  1. Keira Soleore
    January 12th, 2009 at 11:03 am · Link

    I adore the start of a new year, a shiny clean slate ready to be written on. New plans, new ideas, new committments.

  2. therese
    January 13th, 2009 at 12:35 am · Link

    I grew up in the snow belt off the Great Lakes and we often measured our snow in feet. It was a great pause, this Christmas, to be stranded with feet of snow in Portland, and remember how the cities didn’t shut down because we had hundreds of plows.

    My youngest two girls are living in Gov’t Camp this season and working Mt Hood Meadows. They are so excited and sending pictures via cell phone cameras. They are living their dream. It’s not mine, but I will visit.

    Pauses are so necessary to fuel the creative spirit. Elizabeth, I think you should make your hubby and editor read this blog entry instead of apologizing.

  3. therese
    January 13th, 2009 at 12:39 am · Link

    Oh right, you weren’t apologizing, just warning…

    I must admit, the silence of snow, and revisit to my childhood has increased my interest in wine by the fire at night. 🙂

  4. Diane
    January 13th, 2009 at 4:06 am · Link

    I wish I could’ve experienced it, right now we’re getting into summer and it been quite hot so I’m rather lethargic. I did get a lot of my synopsis written though…

  5. Laura
    January 14th, 2009 at 12:47 pm · Link

    What pretty pictures!


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