Winter

21 June 2010

The summer’s longest day: it’s as inappropriate as possible for me to be thinking about winter. I ought to be outdoors, picnicking and barbequeing, staying out without an extra layer, taking advantage of however brief an interval it’s going to be before the weather reminds you where Southampton really is: a rain funnel and wind trap in the middle of the English Channel.

I wonder whether I’m a winter writer. I can’t concentrate at all on new ideas in summer, can’t even think myself back into the old ones I had to store up back in spring. In summer, I want to be experiencing. Maybe it’s the legacy of too many school holidays when I managed to experience nothing at all, except teaching myself how to write macros for an Excel spreadsheet or retype a teenage diary on that second-hand old Mac.

Go out and make something happen, I start thinking when the sun comes out. And make it something a bit more constructive than the provocative things you used to do in term time because you’d read ahead through the whole syllabus and you were bored.

I mediate and season things in autumn. (Kirsty Logan, a few days ago, posted about personal clichés. The longest thing I wrote while I was still at school had red/gold light and trees and sodding chestnuts up the wazoo. I never want to see any of those things again.) They’ve dissolved into a meniscus of ideas by wintertime, when the air is cold and darkness starts at half past four and experiencing things means zipping up a winter coat so high I can’t see out.

Somehow I managed to hit an anthology deadline that comes up in July. Still, that may be it for proper writing for a month or two, until the evenings start reversing and a shadow in the kitchen makes me say: ‘Bloody hell, since when has it been dark at suppertime?’

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7 Responses to “Winter”

  1. AlexJ Says:

    Here, summers are so draining due to the heat, it’s hard to muster energy for anything.


  2. When I think about my writing, my rough drafts have been in every season. I’ve written that I’m less productive in summer, but it’s not true now that I think about it.

    You have spring fever, which I think we all get. I swear there’s a summer fever too, when the weather gets even warmer. Maybe you need a tiny break, and then you’ll be able to get back to work.

    If you have a laptop, bring it to a shady place in the park.

  3. Old Kitty Says:

    Well this is a new concept for me! Are there any seasonal writers around? How incredible!!! I’ve never really thought about whether winter brings the actual task of writing out or whether this hibernates in summer!

    How interesting!! You’ve got me all thinking now – darn!!! LOL! 🙂

    Oooh well done you with meeting an anthology deadline!! I’m DYING to read a story of yours!!
    🙂 Dying!!

    Take care
    x


  4. Well it would still have to be accepted, there’s a long way to go yet!

    There is this one to be getting on with, of course: http://futurefire.net/2010.20/fiction/silence.html

  5. kate m Says:

    Oh I love writing in the summer. There seem to be so many more hours in the day.

    Regarding personal cliches – I’m rather fond of mine (evidently) but last week I read a succession of Ruth Rendell novels while waiting for a very delayed plane, and some of her quirks began to get on my nerves. Whenever she wants to demonstrate a character’s murderous tendencies they start washing household ornaments. I can safely say, by that criteria, I’m not in danger of killing anyone.


  6. Mark Charan Newton had a good post a few days ago as well about authors who keep using food-and-sexuality symbolism: http://markcnewton.com/2010/06/18/how-do-you-eat-yours/

    I, too, am clearly free of homicidal tendencies by Ruth Rendell’s lights. That’s probably good to know 🙂

  7. Bernita Says:

    After reading only two of Rendell’s novels I came to the conclusion she has a very sick mind.
    For some reason, “bloody hell” as a forceful expression always delights me.
    Winter makes me contemplative while I hibernate. There is so much to do in summer — the light makes it harder to ignore the dust.


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