This morning I had to look twice to be sure that all that white stuff on the ground wasn’t snow, but frost. It was frost. All the same, winter’s coming; I know it, and Sky knows it. Winter is her favourite season, because it’s full of snow and she loves the snow. Even a heavy frost gets her going – she chased the ball with particular enthusiasm this morning, charging back and forth with her ears flat to her head. The picture is of her as a twelve-week-old puppy ploughing through snow up to her neck. It was her idea.
I love winter, too. I love the smell of it, the way it looks, the quality of the light. Give me a grey day threatening snow and I’m a happy girl. All of which is pretty weird, when you consider that I take medication to control my depression – aren’t winter days supposed to be depressing to depressed people?
Nonetheless, winter is a great creative time for me, and not only for writing. I get ideas in pottery and pop-ups and other visual arts. Winter is when I’m likely to get out the calligraphy or the sumi-e as well as the scissors and glue. I’m thinking this year of writing two more stories about a favourite character of mine, Guido da Penguin, and making a little book with linocut illustrations. It could happen. I have the skills.
Winter also brings out my inner homemaker (who is very inner indeed, believe you me!) and inspires her to do things like – oh, gingerbread houses. I actually own a gingerbread house pan. Don’t tell. Sometimes, if I don’t catch her fast enough, the inner homemaker darns socks and does housework.
I feel that this winter is going to be great for writing. I’ve started NaNoWriMo, fitting it in around the rewrite of The Swan Harp. The new novel is going along nicely, although I have a ton of reading to do for it still, and it seems every page has a little red note to check something. But this is a first draft, full of holes and needing to be rewritten, something I know from the word “go”.
I’ve learned that I need a trick, a deadline, something, to make me finish the first draft of a novel. The first novel was done on the Three-Day Novel contest. This second one was spurred on by the Penguin Books deadline. If I do the third as part of a contest where word count is the thing and quality can come later, fine. Whatever it takes, I say.
Bring on the snow.