Fall: A Long Expected Party

Today is a special day, for two reasons.

For one thing, Fall is officially here. But before I get carried away rambling about the weather (that’s boring, right?), I must mention the other reason for September 22nd being a stupendous date. That being the birthday of Tolkien’s Bilbo and Frodo in The Lord of the Rings. No post on this day is complete without a mention of them.

Happy birthday, favorite Bagginses! I’ll be celebrating your birthdays today. *tips hat to the Hobbits*

In The Lord of the Rings, Bilbo’s eleventy-first birthday is marked by a long expected party, and each year the 22nd of September is something of a long expected party to me, ushering in the start of another season.

As the autumnal weather begins to sweep through the area, I feel a call to adventure, an urge to at least venture out of my writer cave to relish the change of weather (saying farewell to the–somewhat–vanished stifling heat of summer), watch colorful leaves drift lazily to earth, and smell the scent of Fall.

It’s the sort of weather where you want to stay curled up in your cozy blankets all morning, thinking lazily about a story, and eventually get up, pad in stocking feet into the kitchen for some steaming tea or hot chocolate, and curl up in a chair to read. Or scribble a story snippet of those characters who have been inhabiting your brain all morning, insisting you write something about them even if you’re “officially” writing something else. (Which is something I may or may not have been doing myself this morning . . .)

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And later, maybe wrap up in a jacket and go tramping outside through the cooling air, among the spiraling leaves, maybe just into the yard or maybe down the road to the park, sniffing the smell of autumn and feeling as though adventure is just around the corner.

It’s difficult to believe that only earlier this week I was practically dying of the heat, with my ceiling fan on full blast and my window open at night trying to catch the slightest hint of a breeze. And then last night was the first truly cold night in six months–cold, as in, break out the fluffy blankets and warm pajamas. Of course, with our weather, we’ll probably be back to 100 degrees in a week or so and not get really into Fall weather until next month, but so far it’s been a lovely change.

With the change of seasons, I find that the seasons in my writing change too.

InvisibleMaskTreeIn January this year, a story came out of the blue and I started writing it. A tale of mysterious characters going about in long black coats, riding winding roads through bleak misty hills in carriages, and living in large shadowy refined mansions on dark windswept moors, with stark empty trees twisting blackly against grey winter skies. I wrote in it on and off for a few months, but then spring came and suddenly I was no longer as interested in that story.

PeacockFeatherWith the arrival of spring, the weather turned warm and the bare trees that had offered so much inspiration for The Invisible Mask were filled suddenly with leafy greenness. All at once I ended up writing a story of pirates sailing through aquamarine water under a tropical sun, or ashore among green rain-forests with colorful birds calling amid the foliage. And when summer came along and all was stiflingly hot around here, somehow the characters in Song of a Pirate began traveling through a desert, with a baking sun shining down on bright yellow sand.

I’ve seen this before in my writing. My contemporary-fantasy summer adventure story, The Owl of Kedran’s Wood, was rather more difficult to finish writing earlier this year due to the winter weather. No matter what the story, the weather of the season I’m writing it during seems to creep into the tale. If I’m writing a story set in summer and it’s winter at the moment, cold scenes invade my mind. Or if I’m trying to write a winter scene during summer, I just can’t seem to wrap my head around the concept of it being cold.

And as I’m talking about the subject, I’m beginning to reflect that perhaps setting my upcoming Nanowrimo novel in spring may not be the best of ideas, and I might be advised to change it to autumn while I can . . .

What about you? Is your writing seasonal?

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