Snow, Lovely Snow

Diane Lynn Tibert
Building snowwomen is just like creating characters except one is built with handfuls of snow, the other with handfuls of words.

Let’s get this straight: I love snow. Okay, maybe sometimes I think I don’t, but deep down inside, when the forecast mentions snow, my ears perk up and my Nova Scotian heart skips a beat. Is there anything more perfect than snow?

Can you tell I’ve just come inside from shovelling the patio, walkway and part of the driveway? It was 30 minutes of fruitless shovelling because the snow is still falling like hares and polar bears. By the time my son and I returned to the step, it was already covered with a centimetre of flakes. My son gasped at the discovery, but I smiled inside, knowing there would be plenty more to shovel come morning. The way it was blowing, there’s going to be drifts to conquer.

Snow is one of those things some people dread. But I think they – and sometimes me – think too much about the bad things of snow to enjoy the good. We think of the cold, but if we dress appropriately – snowsuit, mittens, hat, boots – then the cold can’t touch us. We think about leaving the comforts of the inside to deal with something heavy and wet that will go away eventually when the temperature rises. What we forget is that exhilarating feeling of being outdoors, the fresh air and exercise. It is energizing and uplifts the spirits.

Snow has a special quality that can’t be measured in centimetres or inches. This quality can’t be detected by standing near a window and watching snow blanket everything in white. One must be outside, stirring it up by shovelling it, walking through it or piling it into mounds to feel its magic.

I’ve felt it many times and have become lost in it. It is why I make snowwomen, build castles with tunnels and shovel driveways fruitlessly. It is why I set out to get the mail, spot the shovel leaning against the step and begin shovelling a driveway that would be ploughed anyway. I promise myself, just ten minutes . . . that’s it, then I’ll go back inside.

I’ve seen those ten minutes magically turn in to an hour or more. Once I get started, it’s difficult to stop. One line across the driveway stirs up something. I’m forced to make another. Then I must join the two. Back and forth, sometimes at strange angles, I plough my shovel through the snow. It is hypnotic, therapeutic . . . magical. Before I know it, the driveway is clear and a sense of accomplishment stirs within. I return my wand . . . I mean my shovel to its home and get the mail.

Now and again, I find myself looking out the window, admiring my work. A plough truck can’t create something that neat, that precise, that pretty. The truck can’t stir magic, feel it or create with it. Only hands can do that.

Some might wonder what’s going on in this crazy woman’s head and what does this have to do with writing?

Learning you love snow has everything to do with writing. Let’s get this straight: I love writing. Okay, maybe sometimes I think I don’t, but deep down inside, when someone mentions writing, my ears perk up and my Nova Scotian heart skips a beat. Is there anything more perfect than writing?

Sometimes though, to fall in love with writing again, I must begin reading the unfinished draft from the beginning, sit and dream about my characters or discuss the plot over a cup a tea with a friend.

Writing is one of those things some writers dread. But I think they – and sometimes me – think too much about the bad things of writing to enjoy the good. We think of the blank page, but if we are prepared – notes, dictionary, story outline, cast of characters – then writer’s block can’t touch us. We think of words as if they are things to deal with to get the story down, a story that may not be out best. What we forget is that exhilarating feeling of being in the middle of the plot action, becoming intimate with characters who jump off the page and igniting the fire that fuels a story. It’s energizing and uplifts the spirits.

Writing has a special quality that can’t be measured in word counts or pages. This quality can’t be detected by standing near a blank screen, watching the curser blink on and off. One must sit down, strike a few keys, put dialogue in a character’s mouth and toss them into one incredible situation after another to feel its magic.

I’ve felt it many times and have become lost in it. It is why I drag my leading men through the forest by their scabbards, swing my heroines from a frayed rope on a castle wall and send my horses to find their masters in snow storms. It is why I set out to get the mail, spot the curser flashing and begin typing the great idea that just popped into my head though it may not have anything to do with what I’m writing at the moment. I promise myself, just ten minutes . . . that’s it, then I’ll go get the mail.

I’ve seen those ten minutes magically turn into an hour or more. Once I get started, it’s difficult to stop. One sentence is written, then another. I think of a second character and write his dialogue. Then I create a setting. My fingers fly over the keys. A twist in the plot is added. It is hypnotic, therapeutic . . . magical. Before I know it, the page is filled and a sense of accomplishment stirs within. I return my wand . . . I mean slide my keyboard in and get the mail.

Writing is like snow: Sometimes we must remind ourselves we love it.

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5 thoughts on “Snow, Lovely Snow

  1. Thanks for sending me the link to your blog, Diane. I’ve been enjoying your posts.

    Yes, there are times when all writers must remind themselves that they love writing. It is far easier to love it once it is written and published. Isn’t it? But writing is not for wimps. We trudge through, waiting for those times when the words flow and we lose all track of time.

    Great post!

    • I’ve thought about creating a blog many times over the past few years, but for one reason or another, I didn’t. Before I committing myself this year, I followed a few blogs — including yours — and decided it was something I’d really enjoy. You’ve inspired me.

      I know it’s hard work keeping up the posts, but I’m going to give it my best shot.

      Being published is sweet. I recall the first time I saw my name in print; a dance around the kitchen followed. That was 1998. I’ve seen it many times since then, but I still get a chill when I see something I’ve written in print.

      Still, I know I’d write even if I didn’t get published. During the years when I didn’t write because of working long hours, I always felt something was missing. It was my writing. For me, the thrill is in the writing, meeting new characters and exploring new worlds. I couldn’t stop if I tried. I don’t understand writer’s block because I’ve never had one. I can’t understand running out of ideas because I’m never without half a dozen begging for attention. Writing is my passion. There’s nothing I love to do more.

      Thanks for visiting my blog.

  2. I really liked this post. Well said. It is easy to get caught up in all sorts of writing related things that aren’t actually writing, and forget what it is that we love.

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