Winter and Writing

Living in the north country of cold and snowy winters can be conducive to the writing life, particularly if one is not overly fond of outdoor winter sports, driving on icy roads, or bundling up for the weather.  I have been making great progress on my latest novel this winter season. Cabin fever is no problem, because I have been transported out of my present surroundings into the fictional world I am creating.

The reality is that the snowfall, unlike last winter that made a five-foot canyon of my driveway, has been scarce. The snow on the ground now at 4000 feet elevation in the Salish-Kootenai range of northwest Montana does not make for good cross-country skiing, so that I have not been tempted to put on my skiis, enticed away from writing into a winter wonderland. The scanty snow is making me think that winter has been cancelled this year for lack of interest. Old Man Winter drifted north and dumped his load on a small town in Alaska.

The winter energizes me to write more. In retrospect, I think I have always got the most writing done in winter.  I don’t mind bundling up, wearing heavy sweaters and Cabela’s underwear. How did William Faulkner and Eudora Welty write in that muggy, sticky southern heat? I don’t know.  Did fans, desert/swamp coolers, early air-conditioning, and a mint julep fortify sweaty fingers?  Besides, I like being outside too much–writing on my deck in summer–to want to live in a controlled indoor environment like Florida. The state could not have been developed without universal air-conditioning. So I’m a damn Yankee . . . oh, well. I was born in Chicago.

Since my energies have been focused on finishing the first draft of the novel in progress, I have neglected the weekly posts to “How Public Like a Frog.” I confess I have gone extremely private. A nature that tends to the reclusive and introverted has regrettably gone more so. However, I will emerge from this cocoon come February when we vagabond to the southernmost lower 48. I anticipate doing some bird-watching and fishing on South Padre Island. In the evenings I’ll be reworking the first draft of The Wheels of Being in the truck-camper as I incorporate the comments and suggestions of my number one reader and critic, Rod Rogers, also spouse and travel companion, fellow author, and jack-of-all-trades.  I’ll be sending more frequent blog posts your way as we circle the country over six-eight weeks.


3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by irisinidaho on January 13, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    No snow in Poky, either. Okay by me. I like the blue, sunny skies, temps in the mid-30s, dry roads and that the days are getting longer! PS, why the plug for Cabela’s long underwear and not for any other brands of clothing? Are you wearing Nike sweats or shoes? Ugg boots? How about Coldwater Creek boiled wool sweaters?


    • The only reasons I can think of are that it was a mindless gesture to my husband’s favorite retailer and a fondness for the pair I wear to go cross-country skiing. In my fiction I consciously avoid using name brands that will fade from everyone’s memory in time unless it’s something so ubiquitous as Coca-Cola, something practically a common noun.


  2. A postscript to this post: We did not drive south, but are still holed up at Mountain of Dreams in northwest Montana. Due to other considerations and business, we decided to not take our road trip this winter, so you will not be receiving posts on the road. They continue to come from our mountain home.


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