I'm so good at jinxing myself.
Just as soon as I lifted my self-imposed cage off this blog and can write as freely as an uncaged bird, I find myself coming up empty. Nothing interesting has happened lately, and it's too cold to do anything, justifies DH on my behalf. The kiddos haven't said or done anything funny, and I just haven't had any writing inspiration.
It's all cuz of this unreasonable, intolerable, and insufferable cold weather. We are having another two days off school, which is unprecedented for us, as we are a hearty, Midwestern people. Alas, even the hearty can get hypothermia and frostbite.
Since the beginning of winter, I've been thinking about taking a collection of black and white photographs to go with our bleak, colorless outdoors. But that's where it stopped--just thinking about it. Because actually taking the pictures would mean being in the cold, unnecessarily, and draining my phone (camera) battery faster than I can say, "It's freezing!" So all the pics I can muster are these taken cowardly indoors to show just how freakin' cold it is out there.
We examine the intricate patterns of snowflake-like ice crystals on the inside of our windows.
We enjoy the sight of sunshine and snow drift patterns from indoors.
Cuz I'm not Elsa and cannot stand to be frozen.
Anyway, back to writing. Some people get a high from drinking, eating, watching movies, or playing sports. While I "get" such examples of euphoria, I get my high from writing--getting my thoughts into words, communicating via a coherent essay, and making a point using words and a few photos along the way. It is my fuel, my warmth. If I go for too long without it, I'd be like an un-hatchable egg, an un-proofable bread dough, or a barely warm-blooded being in the arctic cold that doesn't stand a chance. Oh, right; that last one about sums up what we're all going through, right here, right now.
So, I'll take my lack of writing inspiration by its dead lightbulb and fight my way through this winter nonsense by just muddling through it. Please bear with me and allow me to share my writing process instead. Cuz I needs me some heat in this frigid cold.
I prefer to write in total silence and semi-darkness. No music, no noise--just the quiet taps of the keyboard, accompanied by the sweet aroma of my cuppa Joe or tea. I sit on my swivel chair with my legs curled to one side, or folded, until they go numb and I must straighten them out to allow blood flow back to my feet again. Then, switch sides, rinse, and repeat.
Usually by the time I'm sitting at my desk tapping away, I already have a topic and a few photos in mind. But the process of stringing pagefuls of words together is the embodiment of that writing high. It's like letting go of your bowling ball and watching it glide down the lane to knock down the pins. Those seconds between action and result is the sweet path of that high. You don't know how many pins you'll hit or how well you'll score. I don't know for sure exactly which words will appear or how the post will turn out. You hope for the best, and watch the pins fall. I keep tapping and composing until the piece is complete. And the anticipation is intoxicating.
Only instead of seconds it takes me hours.
Oftentimes I halt the fingers and stare off into space, rummaging for that perfect word or phrase. Sometimes I'm successful, while other times that exact word teases me by playing peekaboo with my aging brain. Sometimes I text DH because either he will know exactly which word I urgently need or he will blink cluelessly at his phone wondering if I've gone entirely mad. But I have successfully stayed away from words not belonging to my generation, such as "adorbs" and "amazeballs". High-fiving my forty-year-old self.
The editing part is no less work. It takes more times than you think for me to proofread each post. Even though any post is editable even after it's published, I still feel gutted whenever I spot a mistake. And I do from time to time. I usually save my last proofread hours or even a day after the previous check. A fresh mind does wonders and tells me to take out parts that scream, "What were you thinking???"
To embellish the words, I take pictures. A lot. Sometimes for posts I know I will write. Sometimes I take random pics that just ever so suitably fit into a post. Sometimes the accidental pics work way better than any intentional pics I take. Sometimes the pics practically do all the writing themselves.
Sometimes a post takes a few hours to complete; sometimes it can take several days. Sometimes I
Which, for me, is a considerable accomplishment, since it's taken me about two plus years to reach that mindset. Writing will always be an evolving process, hopefully always for the better. And even now, there's still so much more to look forward to. At least I feel like it's right.
Right now, I'm finishing this post while the kids are home from school, which means no silence and full daylight. But it's been a week and I had to have my fix. It's -3 degrees outside and I needed a small fire for my chilled soul.
My one leg folded underneath me is cold and falling asleep.
Extend. Switch sides. Repeat.