Writing the Weather

One time I was writing a desert scene and I became hotter and hotter. I was so immersed in the scene that it wasn’t until I took a break that I realized it was in the 100’s outside and I hadn’t turned on the air conditioner in the house. That was the unaware-of-your-environment part of being a writer. But physically being hot certainly helped me feel and find accurate words for being toasty and very thirsty.

Right now it’s snowing out, single digit temps, gusts driving the wind chill into -35 degrees, and I have an outdoor story needing revision which takes place in winter in Michigan which I’ve been procrastinating about. Looking outside, I see what is going on, but I questioned all morning why I didn’t sense the winteriness of it all. It seemed like I watched the weather like looking at a TV or computer screen. Warm and dry inside a house, it only looks like winter out there. I need to bundle up and go feel the weather. In years past, I used to know the temperature and wind chill and number of minutes of exposed skin for when frostbite occurs or when eyeballs freeze. (I’ve worn goggles to shovel in very cold weather before.)

Now I’m tired of talking about the weather. I don’t think my computer would last long outside to do the writing there, so I’ll go outside and experience the wind and the cold for a while so I can return to write more accurately about it.

Do you write poems? Paint? Illustrate children in snow? Go feel the cold (but stay safe and smart).

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