Monday, July 23, 2012

Monday Morning Musing

I love thunderstorms. I enjoy the assault on my senses that a robust storm provides. And we had a nice one this morning - a sort of off-and-on event starting before daybreak and seemingly ending right about now with the lifting of the clouds and a burst of sunbeams on my porch.

We're in a drought in the Midwest, and many people are hurting because of it. The crop reports are abysmal and I don't know if the recent rains will help the farmers, livestock, crops, etc. at this point.

The extent of my suffering has been watching the lawn and my plants suffer. That's not much of a problem, in the scheme of things, especially since I've got a sprinkler system and time in my schedule for daily watering. I can't say I've been much affected by the drought so far this summer, except that this morning, I realized I have been in a writing drought, of sorts.

Not that my negligence toward this blog coincides precisely with the drought conditions. But let's just say there could be a connection. Or not.

But this morning, for whatever reason, the writing synapses started firing with the approach of thunder, and by the time the lightning was close enough to see, I'd cranked out a chapter of my novel. Not my novel that I started on vacation. And not my novel turned into a nonfiction essay. But the novel I started last summer, quite possibly during a thunderstorm.

It's been sitting, neglected, under one of my many piles of books, for months. Every time I looked at the outline and character sketches, I thought, "Who cares about these people? What difference do they make?" How to build on the essence of human goodness distorted by the corrupting influence of daily life has been a difficult problem. What would motivate a character to dig deeply beneath their most closely-cherished beliefs to find the seeds of their own wickedness? What makes a person go from blissfully unaware and unintentionally damaging to fully conscious of actions and consequences?

Somehow, that answer came to me this morning. It actually came from the dogs, if you want to know the truth.  Joey is terrified of thunderstorms, and develops uncontrolled tremors from his fear. Gus gets mad at thunder, trying to drown it out with his pitiful little barks. And Grant, ever the follower, barks at whatever Gus is barking at. Because of their lack of understanding of the cause of the noise and sensory disturbances, they respond in fear and ignorance. And I don't think they are even conscious of their responses.

Fear and ignorance are primary factors in the story I want to tell. And fear and ignorance describe my feelings about writing a story for an audience. Fear and ignorance are also the main components of my feelings about trying to get a book published.

But I don't fear blogging anymore. I know my audience - you are so small, it's not difficult - and I know my platform. Even though the last few entries have generated hate mail, I have to keep writing.  I wrote to complain about the President and my disdain for Fifty Shades of Grey, but fortunately I haven't even had my house rolled. Hate mail is a pretty small price to pay for having a place to air my views.

My brain has been wilting, parched, waiting for some inspiration to get me back in bloom. This little storm may have been too little, too late for the nation's farmers and such, but it was extremely refreshing for me.

Bring on the rain.