Friday, January 06, 2017

Snow, an outdoor fire, and wishes for the new year

January 6, 2017

Few things excite a North Texas child more than snow—any kind of snow. Today it began to sleet lightly at noon, quit for a while, and then began to snow. Soft white flakes drifted down off and on. The caretaker who was here was fascinated. But Jacob had the most fun. He hung his hammock in the back yard, right across the sidewalk between the house and the cottage. Then he lay in it and watched the snow come down. He even looked happy as he swept snow off the deck.

I’m back to work on my own writing, and it’s a good feeling. I had “starts” on four manuscripts so my first chore was to settle on one t work on. I tried that a month or so ago and couldn’t concentrate. But I apparently have renewed energy because I settled on one that had the most words—but that wasn’t the deciding factor. This is a sequel and involves Susan of The Perfect Coed in the controversy over open carry—oh, yes, of course there’s a murder early in the book. At this point I’m just re-reading what I wrote months ago, but my mind is whirling with ideas, and I’m making lists—something I don’t normally do. Other writers use elaborate outlines, post-it notes, and all kinds of aids to keep them on track. I’m making a list of characters—sometimes I get way into it and think, “Now what was the sheriff’s name?” The other list I’m keeping is of threads—red herrings are one thing, but you can’t leave them hanging so I’m going to keep track.

This sounds egotistical and I certainly don’t mean it that way but as I read I’m thinking, “Wow! This isn’t half bad!” and I’m pleased with how complicated it is, the number of threads. As my mentor/friend Fred would say, “Onward and upward.”

Tonight is 12th Night, Epiphany, the night the wise men brought their gifts to the manger. It is a big celebration in many other countries but in the US we tend to pass it by. My family, however, has always celebrated with our own tradition. It is our custom that each person throw a small pine twig in the fire and make a wish. You can tell no one your wish, and woe betide you if your branch misses the fire--that happens more often than you think.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        your .

We invited five couples to light branches with us—two were going to Dallas, illness kept another away, and the last one went home and crawled into bed by six o’clock.  But some of Jordan’s girl friends came by for happy hour and stayed to burn branches so there were nine of us. Usually we do this in the fireplace but it was disconnected during construction so the burning was in the brazier on the patio. Very cold tonight, so I commissioned Jacob to throw my branch on the fire—getting me bundled up is a chore for Jordan and hardly seemed worth it for ten minutes. I saw inside and watched the jolly scene—and there was lots of laughter.

May your secret wish for 2017 come true, whatever it may be. And may your days be as pleasant as my last two have been.

No comments: