Monday, February 11, 2013

Snow-Flavored Burgers

There are two guys outside my window...barbecuing.

And no, in case you were wondering, I do not live in California anymore. I live in Utah, and currently it is the dead of winter. Not just the dead of winter, but it has been snowing almost all day with no sign of letting up.

But there they are, under a rather sparse tree, bundled up in their jackets and boots, flipping burgers on a grill.

Personally, I am quite obsessed with the seasons. I like to do things that are seasonal. During fall, I made something with pumpkin once a week. During winter, I’ve been drinking hot chocolate and making cookies more often than I probably should. In spring, I like to take detours around campus in the places with the most flowers. In summer, I like to go hiking and do “outdoorsy” things (even though I’m not a particularly outdoorsy person). The seasons are there for a reason, you know. It’s long been my belief that it doesn’t make any sense to wish it were any other time than now.

Unlike everyone else around here who is sick of the snow, I still throw open the blinds whenever there’s a snowstorm and plunk myself down in front of the window for hours so I can watch the snow fall while I write or read or cook. I’m making soup every other night and still searching for new recipes. I keep the heat lower than is comfortable so I can bundle up in blankets and drink hot cocoa. I have cookies in the oven right this minute, in fact. Needless to say, I love winter, and I won’t mind if it sticks around for a while longer.

So whenever anybody sighs and wishes for sunshine and flowers, I resolutely remember how much I love winter. (Rather smugly, perhaps.) And I secretly feel sorry for them for wishing things were any different.

But seeing these two guys, barbecuing as the snow falls into their burgers and hot dogs... Even as I chuckle, I have a sort of admiration for them.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Writing, and insanity.

For some of the great writers, it seems that writing was in their soul. Keats, for example. He died very young, but had produced more poetry than most famous writers who lived much longer. Keats had it in his soul, man. It's like his beautiful lines just poured out of him, like water out of a grecian urn.

(Get it?)

But you get what I'm saying. For some of them, they just let it flow out.

Well, for me, it's the exact opposite.

Don't get me wrong--I love to write. But writing is far from easy. It's like trying to safely pull teeth out of a rabid dog (pardon me, but the original expression is both overused and not quite accurate). My mind insists to me that there are a million things that I would rather do. "Why not make cookies instead?" it eagerly suggests. "Or how about you finish that book you're in the middle of? Or check the mail...or make the bed! And you really need to clean the bathroom, you know. And the kitchen." And all too often, I listen.

You can see how one thing leads to another and before I know it, I have spent a year doing useful things and have hardly written a word.

So unlike many greats, like Keats, who write because they just can't help beautiful language pouring out of them, I write because I am insane.

I am insane because unlike normal people (actually, that needs air quotes--"normal people"), I actually think that writing is of far more value to me than doing useful things.

Yes, that's right. I think a day with no cookies, an unfinished book, no mail, a messy bed, a dirty bathroom, and a disaster of a kitchen is better than a day without writing.

Even though I have to sit and stare at a blank page for 15 minutes (or more) before I can begin. Even though it's a constant battle just to stay focused enough to form a coherent thought. Even though books, cookies, and even chores are calling my name--so loudly I can hardly hear that little inner voice giving me the words I need to write.

I still do it, I still love it, and I still care about it more than almost anything else.


Well, I'm no grecian urn, but I guess you could say that writing is in my soul.