An Overnight Adventure

In my family, the word “adventure” is used to describe a situation that doesn’t go exactly according to plan.  If we get lost going somewhere new, “It’s an adventure.”  If a plane is delayed and schedules have to be rearranged, “It’s an adventure.”

Last night, I had an adventure, as my mom called it when it happened.  I was driving back to South Dakota from visiting my family and got caught in the big snow storm in Iowa.  After spending nearly 4 hours traveling 5 miles (most of the time was spent in park with the car shut off), I got to sleep on the floor in the breakfast room at a Super 8.  Sharing that space were 15 strangers and a dog.  Thanks goodness my animals weren’t with me!

It wasn’t an adventure I’d like to repeat.  I only got a few hours of sleep, and there’s nothing quite like wearing the same clothes for 26 hours.  (A shower was high on the priority list when I did make it home, right after taking care of my bird and putting away perishable food.)  It wasn’t the most stressful sleeping arrangement I’ve had – that would probably be the downpour and cold front in a tent in the Chisos Mountains – but it also wasn’t restful.

To top it all off, I started getting sick Saturday night (a possible sinus infection) and sleeping on the floor with earplugs in made all the junk in my sinuses drain into my ear.  Pain was part of the reason for the lack of sleep.

I made it home this morning, though, and have showered and taken a nap.  I’m heading to the acute care clinic shortly to address my sickness, and I have tasty goodies leftover from the bridal shower (why I went home in the first place) to eat.  In case you hadn’t guessed, I’ll be heading to bed early tonight.  🙂

Aren’t adventures fun?

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Snow

White puffs fall like smoke from the roofs.

Drifting clouds of frozen fog shrink my view, while flakes melt to raindrops on my windshield.

Everywhere cars creep, drivers skittish on slick surfaces.

Sky and street reflect sodium lights to turn everything an odd shade of pink as monochrome coats the world.

Snow dust gathers, builds dunes, insubstantial hills and valleys appearing where once the earth was flat.

Winter weather comes again.

Winter Songs

I love holiday music, and listening to some in my car today brought me an interesting thought.

When it comes to Christmas music, there are three broad categories.  There are religious songs (God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Silent Night, Hark the Herald Angels Sing), there are secular songs (Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Silver Bells), and there are the “Christmas” songs that are really winter songs.

This last category of songs intrigues me.  These are songs like Jingle Bells, Winter Wonderland, and Let It Snow that don’t mention a holiday at all.  Quick, think of the lyrics to Frosty the Snowman or Sleigh Ride.  Any Christmas, Hanukkah, or other holiday themes or words?  Nope, didn’t think so.  This leads me to the question: why do we stop listening to them after December?

For most of the country, snow and winter last at least until February.  Let It Snow and Baby It’s Cold Outside are very romantic and legitimately more appropriate for Valentine’s Day than for Christmas.  Sleigh Ride and Jingle Bells could honestly be played as long as there is snow on the ground.  And yet they get filed away with the Christmas songs every year.

Christmas is a big holiday and it has clearly commandeered snow and winter as part of its meme.  At this point I’m not sure that winter, as a season, could take back these songs or any of the other symbols of the season from the colossus that is Christmas.  Perhaps as a gloomy, cold season, its only fair for winter to take advantage of the light and joy of the holidays it encompasses.

A Simple Matter of Perspective

I grew up in Illinois, but I now live in Texas.  One thing I discovered shortly after moving to Texas is the very different opinions of winter weather in the two states.

Once again this difference has become glaringly obvious.  In Illinois, it takes actual snow or ice on the ground in fairly large quantities (enough to prevent the buses from getting to the kids) before they will close the schools.  Here in Texas, the mere threat of extreme weather has caused schools and businesses to close preemptively.  Of course, the reverse has proven true as well.  It would take some extreme, unheard-of heat for a school in Texas to let out early, but schools in Illinois sometimes have early dismissal days when the high temperature climbs over 90.  The reasons for these are simple: schools in Illinois tend to be without air conditioning, while cities in Texas tend to be without snowplows.

What does this have to do with writing?  Simple.  Perspective is important.  As an author, I know everything that is going on with every character in a scene (at least, I should).  The reader gets confused if the perspective changes too many times, so I have to pick the correct character to share the scene.  If I know that someone has an important perspective, that’s the character I have to choose.  In Bonded, I alternated perspective to more effectively convey both sides of the budding romance. 

A simple difference in perspective makes a big difference in the story.