Writing in the sun

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Paula’s Post #18 – Okay, I admit it. Since this challenge started on September 5th, I’ve been dancing a macabre pas de deux with a certain unnamed member of the 5writers. Inevitably, we seem to end up with our train of thought running down parallel tracks.

Can you guess who? Hint, hint. Why not check out the title of yesterday’s post?

Yesterday, Silk reminded us of the virtues of ‘Writin’ in the Rain’. I love that post. I also admit I love Gene Kelly and the movie, Singing in the Rain. If you haven’t seen the film, time to hit Netflix.  But just because i like the movie doesn’t mean I’m going to dance through the rain and stomp through puddles like Gene Kelly anytime soon.

Ugh.

I’m done with that. The truth is, this 5writer has seen enough rain to last a lifetime. So you’re safe Silk, I’m not going to revisit the topic of “Writin’ in the Rain. No, I’ve another take on that topic. The difficulty of ‘Writing in the Sun’.

I’m half-kidding of course, a feeble attempt to poke a little fun at Silk with my catchy, evocative, ever-so-slightly familiar title. But this post isn’t really about the weather. This post is about a somewhat more serious topic:

Depression.

The truth is, like me, many people who live in the Pacific Northwest and other cold grey climates suffer from SAD: Seasonal Affective Disorder or a milder variant known as the “Winter Blues. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a particular type of depression marked by lethargy, withdrawal, irritability, carbohydrate cravings, excessive sleep, fatigue, a drop in energy levels and difficulty concentrating and retaining information.

Sound familiar?

I’ve struggled for years with SAD and can honestly say I hate the cold grey days of winter and rain in particular. The further north one goes, the more prevalent SAD is yet within thirty degrees of the equator, the incidence is exceedingly rare.

Historically depression, whether a variant of Seasonal Affective Disorder or the good old fashioned, garden variety kind, was often referred to as “melancholia” a quaint, old-fashioned word evocative of the Victorian era.  Abraham Lincoln suffered from it and so, famously, did Winston Churchill who called it his “Black Dog”.

According to The Guardian UK, perhaps not surprisingly, we writers are at a greater risk of depression than those in other professions: isolation, financial uncertainty and self-doubt all contributing factors, with men noted to be at higher risk, though SAD is one exception, where an astounding 75% of those so afflicted are women.

Just look back, I’m sure a few names will come to mind: Ernest Hemingway, Sylvia Plath, William F Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Malcolm Lowry, Joseph Conrad,  C.S. Lewis and Virginia Woolf to name just a few and I haven’t even started on the poets.

Maybe that’s one of the reason I’ve always shied away from even attempting anything remotely literary. Maybe I’m afraid to dwell too deeply on the dark side, to probe bleak thoughts and morbid desires and subject them to the writers’ magnifying glass.

Sorry, not me. I’ll take a nice, plot driven cozy or a galloping thriller thank you very much. Much more my style. And this year, just to make sure I keep the Winter Blues at bay, I’ve fled to the sunny climes of Southern California.

But writing in the sun presents problems, too. To start with, it’s, well… sunny. Pretty much all the time. Maybe that’s fine if you’ve lived in California all your life. Maybe you can cope with the fact that the sun is shining and just go about your business and get things done and continue to function like a normal human being.

But I’m Canadian  for God’s sake. And not just Canadian, a Vancouverite. If the sun is out, I’m supposed to be outdoors doing something like golf or tennis or bike riding. Sun is not to be squandered. Ever.

So, of course I’m now faced with an interesting dilemma. While most of my 5writers’ colleagues with the exception of Hawaii-bound Silk will be ‘singing in the rain’ metaphorically speaking, pounding out words under a cold, bleak winter sky, I’m faced with a dilemma: how am I ever going to finish this epic 5writers challenge, with an unremitting stretch of sunny days ahead.

Sure, today, I caught a break. Today, it was so cold in the desert, it almost counted as a rainy day.

Almost.

While my fellow snowbird’s grumbled about their golf tee times having been pushed back or how the wind was too strong for their tennis match, I seized the opportunity to just hunker down and write.

The weatherman says it’s going to be cold tomorrow, too. My big chance to pile up some pages before it warms up this weekend.

For me, like Silk, weather is definitely an issue. I don’t know if ultimately I’m going to be able to type ‘The End’ on February 5th, 2013. But I do know one thing:

I won’t be SAD.

Sun

Pie’s eaten this week – Hmm… I forgot the rule… do we count cake, or not? What about cookies?

Airplanes rides this week – 0

Airports visited this week – 0

Golf balls lost this week – 3

Target Word Count:    100,000

Progress to Date:          62,643

Words short of Target:  37,357

Pages Written to Date:  225

Target Page Count:       400

Pages short of Target.   175

6 thoughts on “Writing in the sun

  1. I totally understand where you’re coming from, Paula. Rain = blah. Sun = fun. Personally, though, I am far, far more productive when there’s glorious sun outside. At least writing-wise.

  2. Don’t you love it how we writers can use anything as an excuse for not writing? Too much rain! Too much sun! Let’s add: too much wind, not enough wind, hailstones as big as golf balls, lost golf balls, someone hit a golf ball through my window, I had to wash the windows, I had to wash my clothes, I don’t have a thing to wear while writing … etcetera ad nauseum! Too bad I can’t write as fast as I can make up excuses!

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