Thursday, December 4, 2014

Creativity by Katherine Pym



I am a Seattleite. I wasn't born there, but when I stepped out of the airport, I knew I'd come home. In the winter, the Northwest is like a great big wine cellar, cool, damp, with grey skies from October to almost the 4th of July.

The grey skies spit water; the streets are like film-noire after WW2, and being so far north, the skies are dark most of the time. People go to work in the dark and go home in the dark. As soon as the clouds disperse, and a little sun shines, people run outside and take deep breaths. They don shorts, socks, and sandals, t-shirts; then over all this, throw on a hoodie. As the skies brighten toward summer, everyone goes out to play. The days are longer, the dawn and dusk taking their sweet time to ease into full day or night.

In the Northwest, there's not much you can do in the winter but endure. Movies, the mall, bookstores, television. When the rain drips and forms puddles in the roads, plumps up moss so that you feel as if you're slogging through a swamp, I retreat into a world of make-believe.

Praying for Creativity
This summer the Northwest was wonderful. Blue skies and long days, warm enough to rival America's warmer states. We grew bushels of tomatoes, green beans and peppers. During this time, I became distracted, couldn't keep focused. I stared at my computer screen wondering why. My work in progress slipped. It became dull, disorganized. I was getting frustrated.

My husband is a Texan. Where I can endure the Northwest, long winters, he cannot. We have a little homestead in Texas, and toward the end of September, we piled into the car and drove the nearly 2400 miles to our cabin in the woods. Rain dogged us across the nation, but once we arrived, the skies were blue, the weather warm, and the bugs were swarming. Husband was thrilled. I was still disorganized, my writing dull.

Through my disorganization, I lost touch with the story line. Stephen King says a writer should finish the first draft within a 3 month time span. I fell deeply short of that, so I decided I'd start over my work in progress. Re-read. Re-write. The skies were beautifully blue, the days warm. Idyllic. My work went slowly.

Awhile ago our local news said a hurricane from the Pacific was plowing across Mexico toward the Lone Star State. Warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico poured over us, and a cold front from the North would clash with all these moist airflows. Storms would ensue with thunder and lightning. High winds. The temperature would plummet from the pleasing high 70’s/mid 80’s to unseasonable cold.

OMG, a weather event! Last year, the area had such a downpour, it dropped almost 14 inches onto our roof. It swept part of our driveway into the road. Others were flooded out. My Seattle experiences held nothing to this. We prepared for the worst. Still in shorts, I put on socks and slipped my feet into sandals.

For several days, the clouds dimmed the bright sunshine. Rain fell almost nonstop, but not the gully-washer of last year. This rain was a constant heavy drizzle. Big drops from the overhead trees plopped onto my head and shoulders. Steady. The air was cool, refreshing.

Couldn't go outside and play. Had to endure. Watching the skies drip, I reflected we lived in an over-sized wine cellar, but we had no wine. It was too wet to go out and buy some. We'll wait for the skies to clear.

Still in socks and sandals, I dug out my hoodie to walk the dog. Typed on my computer one and a half chapters. Researched and wrote a blog. Offered to write two more. Then a light bulb flashed in my eyes. An Epiphany struck. OMG, the rain outside was my type of weather. Like Seattle! It sparked and fed my creativity. I found myself back in the saddle again. 

My creativity glows when the weather is dull. How cool is that?