Snow Sunday

Hey! It snowed! A lot!

It’s lovely snow–light, drifting, easy to shovel (although the sheer volume is daunting). Aside from packing into the vent pipe on the roof, necessitating a climb up there to open it up again, it caused absolutely no trouble at Chez Mason-Black. There was a travel ban for the state for twenty-four hours or so, but not being someone drawn to driving around in snowstorms, I didn’t find that a hardship. Our kindhearted neighbor came with his tractor yesterday after the snow let up and dug out our driveway, so all in all, we led a rather charmed storm existence.

This morning it’s 5 degrees out, and the sun is shining brightly, and I’m thinking about joining the cats in a cozy spot in the sun and working on Crossroads. I have most of it plotted out in my head. I’m sadly lacking a lot of travel experience though, and that’s hanging me up a bit. What I need is a grant to travel across the U.S. by car. What I think I’ll get are a lot more books out of the library. I may need to storm ahead and fill in some details in edits. I have a head full of characters that really need to come out.

Friday. February. 2013.

Time for snow. Total expected amounts keep leaping around–at this point we’re looking at somewhere over eighteen inches. Given that we’ve had bare ground outside for most of the winter, it will be a welcome change. The day was full of little bursts of snow, but as the light has faded, a lovely dense fall of tiny snowflakes has settled in.

Earlier in the week we went for a tromp through the woods with friends and their goats. Yes, goats, like taking dogs for a walk, only…goats. Goats are awesomely full of sproing, and leap over and on top of everything. Actually, goats are just awesome, and in one of my alternate lives I live with Heidi and her flock up in the mountains.

While walking, we found a shed deer antler. Whitetail bucks shed their antlers every winter, and then regrow them in time for the fall breeding season. The one we found yesterday had five points on it (prongs–deer antlers are pronged), and was quite heavy. The thought of carrying a pair around for most of the year makes my head ache.

For the growth period, the antlers are covered in a sensitive velvety brown skin which provides the developing tissue with the necessary blood supply. Once growth is complete, the velvet sheds, exposing the hardened antlers. Mating season occurs, the bucks battle it out over the does, and then the antlers come off during the winter months.

Why am I telling you all of this, instead of surveying my canned goods and battening down the hatches? Because it interests me much more than the snow that will fall whether I think about it or not. Because I’ve been thinking about the things that we devote our time to, things that have a singular desperate importance for one part of our lives, and then fall away, no longer necessary.

If you’re in the storm today, be safe and warm. If you are not, be safe and warm as well.

A month of firsts

Oh, look. Snow.

Yes, it’s already that time of year. Actually, we managed to miss all but a dusting of snow last night, a rather pleasant surprise. But it’s blustery cold outside, so I’m mainlining tea, mostly to keep my hands warm.

In looking back over my notes, I’ve discovered that November is a month of beginnings for me. Strange month to pick, but so be it. November is my January.

How about a little story about November beginnings? On October 6, 2010, I sent out my first short story submission. I had no idea what I was doing, but I’d been reading Shimmer’s blog faithfully, and the posts there made me feel like maybe I could survive submitting something. Especially posts like this one.

So, I submitted to Shimmer. I told myself that my story would be rejected, and that it would be okay. I had a lot of experience with rejection at that point, having recently come out of querying a novel. I told myself that there were many many places to send a short story, and I’d just keep going.

I waited just over a month. On November 9 I received a rejection. It made my day. It made my week. It made me feel like maybe I was actually on to something with this writing thing, and not merely torturing my family.

Why? Because of one line: “I really hope you’ll send us more of your work in the future; we’d love to read more from you!”

There are times when writing feels like being a mole, with endless stretches of work underground, occasionally popping your head up through the soil without knowing what you’ll find–a forest, a field, a freeway. Personal rejections like that one feel like breaking through into fresh air and sunlight. Even when someone says hey, I don’t quite get this, but I wish I did.

Because ultimately writing is communication. Yes, it’s easier to write alone, to squirrel away your stories and poems, to stay underground. But by writing you’re admitting you have something to say, and it’s entirely possible someone else in the world would like to hear it.

Because of that rejection I blithely fumbled my way through two more submissions with that story. First short story rejection, first sense that a total stranger had found something of worth in my writing. Pure bumbling luck that both firsts coincided.

A last happens tomorrow, when “This Place From Which All Roads Go” becomes my final published story of 2012. The anniversary of another first happens this Sunday–my first blog post. November may not be the cheeriest of months, but it seems to have its charms.


Today it is hot.

Much too hot to sit in front of a computer, actually. At least my computer in my house. Instead, I’m off to travel the parched Massachusetts countryside in search of water to dangle my feet in.

Or something like that. Is it hot where you are? Does it make you sluggish, or inspire you to write about drought apocalypses? Tell me. I want to know. I tend to write the weather into everything I do, which makes it a challenge to revise things out of season. In theory I know all about snow, but I’m having a hard time reaching my cold place at the moment.

Comments are open today.

And more about the weather…

Happy Leap Day!

To celebrate here, we have snow! Why not, why not skip the long gray bulk of winter altogether, and just have our snow as bookends to the rest? Who needs months of sledding and skating and snowshoeing?

Ah well. The need to complain about the weather comes with a New England birth certificate. I’ll enjoy the snow for the next day and a half, at which point the rains will come again.

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