Saturday, September 22, 2012

Rain, Rain, Come Again

by Zinta Aistars

Old cat Jig warm by the wood stove
 First day of fall, and the memories of a blistering summer of drought fade with each log I put on the fire in the wood stove to warm the old farmhouse. I watch the edges of the peeling bark catch, flame up, and blossom into a warm fire. It's the third time I have used the wood stove this week, both the cat and dog curling up near the stove to enjoy its warmth as the autumn chill increases day by day.

In the night, the crack of thunder woke me, and the pelting of rain hard on the roof. I lay awake in bed, in the dark, listening, and thought with gratitude of my son who recently spent a couple days with me at Z Acres taking down dead wood and splitting it into small, wood-stove-ready pieces. The diminished cord of wood outside the house was nearly replenished, and the wood bin on the patio was full. Let it rain. I was ready. Just a step out on the patio, staying dry, and I could gather an armload of wood for the stove.

I am going to try to make it through the next two seasons on wood heat. I had done it before, many years ago, living in the country for a while and short on pocket change. My propane tank at Z Acres had been filled at the end of spring, but I wanted it there for emergencies only. Not only was it a grand way to save my heating dollar, but using dead wood from my own surrounding forest keeps the forest clean. And it adds ever so much comfort ...

My son, chopping wood

Falling back asleep, I stay in bed too long on this Saturday morning. The rain lulls. The gray light seeping around the curtains encourages sloth. I have much to do ... more deadlines to meet, more books to review, a literary magazine fall issue to launch, a list of household chores ... but I turn over onto my stomach, face in pillow, cat curled at my head, dog at my feet, and sleep.

A day to stay inside
Yet fall brings on my highest level of energy. Summer heat makes me lethargic, whereas a chill in the air makes me want to move, do, be. When I do get out of bed, it's with a bound. The house is cool when I go downstairs, a part of heating with a wood stove being a cool morning. Over night, the fire has died to a fine gray ash. I put water on to boil, grind a couple scoops of coffee beans, and get my French press pot ready for the morning brew to steep. The dog follows me out to the patio to gather up my first armload of wood for the day. I see him gaze outside, a little mournfully, at the continued pouring down of the rain, leaves dripping and loosening from the trees in a golden flurry that scatters across the wet grass, tree branches sagging and swaying in the wet wind.

I rub between his ears to offer comfort. Rainy days are good, too, I tell him, but he only gazes up at me with sad brown eyes. He curls up with a sigh by the stove as I get the fire going. The cat's already there, anticipating that golden warmth.

Coffee's on. I pour a mugful and settle in for the day's writing. This blog, an article pending, one, perhaps two book reviews, but mostly .... I want to spend time on a creative effort that has begun to take shape. It's a guilty pleasure. I admonish myself for the guilt the moment it creeps in. Isn't this in great part why I decided to take on this freelance lifestyle? To finally have time to devote to creative writing, going over to the art side. I'm not a Sunday writer. I am the all or nearly nothing type, immersing myself to the hairline, drowning in it, lost in it, entranced.

If there is one struggle within me in this new life of a freelancer at Z Word, LLC, it is how much time I can afford to set aside without having my eye on the paycheck. The jury is yet out if I can cover my bills living this way, and I think of all the leads I should be pursuing, the doors I should be knocking on, the offers I should be making. Instead, I take time now, near daily, to devote to the art of writing.

The words are stacking up. The pages are adding up. Where am I going with this? I don't yet know. I don't work with an outline, rather develop the main character and follow her lead, but even as I write, I wonder where this will take me ... to a novel? to something I will send out to traditional publishers? or should I consider the newer, more contemporary route of loading it up into electronic form and offering it for purchase online? After all, those bills ...

Can I afford to market something for a year, three years, five? Until I find a publisher? Or am I shooting myself in the writerly foot by taking the quicker road to readers?

When I start thinking about that too much, it bogs my writing down, and so I push that train of thought aside, for now, and keep following the path my main character has invited me to take. Maybe she knows.

Rain patters, sometimes thrashes against the farmhouse windows. And then, for a while, the wind settles, quiets, and there is only silence. The windows are lightly fogged over from the heat inside. The cat sleeps by the stove, end of her tail occasionally ticking up, down, to show she lives and dreams.

Lunch hour ... and I decide the day is right for popping corn. A pot, a bit of oil, and I pour in the kernels. My old pup immediately comes to attention to the rattle, the sizzle of the oil, soon the pop pop pop, as this is his favorite treat, too. I think he enjoys the catch in the air as much as the salty taste.

I'm lost to the world, then. This world. Lost into another. There is much of myself in this woman I write about, of course, but there is much in her that I watch develop with great interest. She moves differently than I do. She thinks alike, and then not. She makes decisions I would not make, taking sudden turns on the path, and I think, woman, are you mad? We start on the same page and then she chooses her own adventure, going where I dare not go, or where I would rather not. She adds another world onto mine.

Perhaps that's one reason, of many, why writers write. We are hungry for life, and one just isn't enough.

In my world, it rains. In hers, the skies are just beginning to open up.

No comments:

Post a Comment