Monday, July 16, 2012

The Long, Hot Summer


Well, I survived my brother's family's first visit to Michigan – ever. Brother, Sister-in-Law (and my old college friend), kids and my Mom (who has been before) all came to stay with us for a few days. Of course it was during the hottest summer on record in over 50 years, and my grass is brown and crunchy instead of the pretty, deep green it usually is this time of year.

My garden didn't fare as well as me. The majority of the peas are brown and withered, having missed a few days of deep watering, the zucchini's got quite big, and many strawberries were eaten by bugs, but thankfully not all fell to critters.

I decided to “consult” with one of my favorite characters, Merie for some advice. Merie has special powers granted by God to heal the earth. She told me I should have watered and then, uncharacteristically, clamped her mouth shut. So I guess I'll just have to yank out the peas, replant seeds and hope for the best. My own fault for giving them just a sprinkling instead of the deep watering they'd gotten used to.

Lately my writing is like my garden. I've been ignoring it to deal with familial duties like cleaning the house and getting things ready for their visit, then driving them around the state to see my favorite beach, the Children's Museum, Mackinac Island, and some other touristy stuff.

This is where I think Merie's silence is coming from. I've ignored her for too long, and now she's pouting a bit (also uncharacteristic for one of God's Chosen). Even Jess and crew is silent. Which is a bad thing, at least for me.

How can I get the books I've put in for our Roar into Writing competition done if my characters won't “talk” to me? My Mom suggested I do some historical research and write something about the women's movement or LGBTQ rights. I had to explain that's not how I write. Then I had to explain what a “Pantser” is and why I can't stand to write outlines or pre-plan a plot.

It makes writing their stories far more fun for me, but my mother - the English major - tends to focus on the formal process. I prefer instead to listen to my characters and write what they tell me. (And sometimes buy vintage sewing machines they suggest I must have).

Okay, so maybe I don't follow the rules, maybe I'll never be published, but the Pantser in me will continue writing for the heck of it, That is, if I can get my characters to quit pouting and get back to talking to me. I hope they do it soon, otherwise this already long, hot summer will feel much longer and much hotter without their refreshing humor popping in from time to time.

1 comment:

Tess Grant said...

Don't bother replanting the peas. They like cool weather. That's why mine never grow. I plant them too late (i.e. June) and they get cranky with the heat.