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Writing...Yes, Really.

Under my new schedule, this moment is part of my writing time, not my reading blogs and emailing time. But that's ok. I'm blogging writing this morning. I just have to do an exercise right here where anyone can read it.

This morning was what the Dude would call "mostly cloudy." I don't know how it's done now, I think it's all computerized, but in the olden days, you held a clear frame over your head that was divided into about 12 panes. And you called it "sunny" "partly sunny" "partly cloudy" "mostly cloudy" "cloudy" based on how many of the panes had clouds in them. As writing goes, it's not terribly descriptive. Like, everyone has some idea of what "mostly cloudy" means, but it doesn't evoke. It's flat.

As a Dudette for more than 25 years, I'm particular about weather accuracy, extending to such phenomena as sunrise, sunset and moon phases (just ask michaeljasper what I wrote in the margins when I read the rough draft of his book). Sunrise today was at 7:10. I took E to school a half hour later, just as the sun had cleared the horizon (and straight into my eyes as we headed east down the drive, past the Hanging Oak). Because the cloud cover was broken, the sun occasionally came through these long strips. Look, there's a technical term for this, but I'm not going there. When the technical terms start flying, I glaze over. Unless we're discussing "virga" or "mammatas" or "sun dogs" terms I can actually remember. Never mind.

Light. Early morning light, that slants from the side. Light in opposition to dark. The sky was striped with blue/purple/gray clouds and the sun split them apart, shafting across miles and miles of foothills to the west. Light against the slopes while I was in shadow. Light that robbed color. Light creating a white-out effect on winter grass that was already blonde and now was washed out in the early morning's light. And I drove in shadow, in blue/gray shadow of dark, standing in Plato's cave gazing out and blinded by the brilliance of harsh light I saw ahead of me. Enwombing. (new word) I drove round a bend and was thrust out of the womb. The sun stripped across the field in front of me, across the road, breaking the ground twilight apart as it had the clouds in the sky, the foothills to the west. Exposed. The flash on a camera. And back into the purpled gray. In that moment, I saw my future, I saw my path before me. And it was gone just as suddenly, that light, leaving me grasping for the words to evoke the experience. Out of that light, I feel out of my element, wordless, breathless, a gasping fish on the bank unable to return to the watery womb.

And it's over now, that early morning moment as precious and as different as a sunset. The sky is blue and cloudless in places, the sun climbs and warms the earth, no longer slants across it like a stone skipped across the water.

Frog Out

Comments

( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
marshall_payne
Feb. 7th, 2008 03:02 pm (UTC)
Blogging is creative writing. During my 8-month hiatus from writing fiction while I regrouped my energies, I learned much from writing my blog posts. (Jessica and her damned liver per se.) And you were a big part of it! *G*
birdhousefrog
Feb. 7th, 2008 08:01 pm (UTC)
I agree, though many people don't. And while I do agree, I find that it's best if I do my blog work either in the form of creative writing or when E is falling asleep...in other words, not when I should be doing stuff that pays me MONEY! (More than the creative writing does, at any rate.)
kelly_yoyo
Feb. 7th, 2008 05:42 pm (UTC)
Blogging has helped me write without agonizing over every word, and express myself without overthinking everything. I think it's really valuable.
birdhousefrog
Feb. 7th, 2008 08:03 pm (UTC)
As a military spouse dragged all over the country with no friends to speak of, this is a lifeline I wish I had had then. I guess it's what you make of it. Like you, it's valuable to me. I just have to make sure I don't use it to avoid the workload that has serious deadlines. And this didn't. Had a really productive "school work day" here.
jehanni
Feb. 7th, 2008 06:56 pm (UTC)
I like "...breaking the ground twilight apart as it had the clouds in the sky..."... And I wonder if you consciously avoided "slicing" as a verb, since a) I often picture the shafts as having physical/metaphysical solidity, edge, and thence blade; and b) I've seen that verb choice in numerous written things, so clearly other people have that impression, too, and perhaps it's too obvious.

I also quite like the gasping fish and the stone skipping images.
birdhousefrog
Feb. 7th, 2008 08:07 pm (UTC)
Analysis? Shafting and slicing...it wasn't like that. It didn't "shaft" the way light does, usually the sun is a bit higher in the sky and I'm seeing the shaft from a distance, not directly experiencing it. This light really ripped through the breaks...no cirrus in those gaps. I think it was "break" in terms of dawn breaking. Looking at it in a later edit, break is probably not a strong enough word. I think I would use "shatter" now. This was light hitting you in the face full-force, this was light flashing through bare tree branches, which hurts and I'm sensitive to the flash effect. No, it was a wide section of land that it struck suddenly, not like a shaft at all.

So maybe those were good terms to avoid.

Thanks for reading this little bit of creative exercise. Hee!
hyperbard
Feb. 7th, 2008 07:30 pm (UTC)
*G*I'm with them... I started on LiveJournal as a way to network when I couldn't get out of the house, and found eventually that I could do a nice update/list of stuff I had done during the day, thereby lessening the "I'm not working on this or that story/book" guilt:) Keep going!
birdhousefrog
Feb. 7th, 2008 08:12 pm (UTC)
thanks for the comment. I've had the argument both ways, though I'm in the camp that sees it as useful for networking and for writing. Looking at some blog entries, it's hardly pushing any envelopes...see this youtubey thing!...I read this book!...see who put this here!...I sold this story...Go read my new book!

All of which are valid, I'm not saying that. But if that's all you're blogging, you're not networking and you're not creating. At best, you're marketing. (Marketing sucks the life out of me.) The best of lj involves the networking, imo...offering yourself to the world whether it's your weather or your thoughts; and then reading 20 entries of what others offer you.

Oz
(Deleted comment)
birdhousefrog
Feb. 7th, 2008 08:14 pm (UTC)
Why thank you, ma'am. High praise indeed, since evocation is my goal as a writer!

I had a massively productive "school work day" today, too. And the books arrived, to the great delight of E. (Us, too. Going to look for the rest of the titles on ABE.)
(Anonymous)
Feb. 7th, 2008 08:56 pm (UTC)
What they are called...
The phenomena described by Frog are called crepuscular rays. Here is are two links, one the definition in Wikipedia, the other a link to some photos courtesy of Google:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crepuscular_rays

http://images.google.com/images?q=crepuscular+rays&hl=en&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&hs=VLY&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=X&oi=images&ct=title


They are cool, whatever they are called.

Weatherdude
birdhousefrog
Feb. 8th, 2008 02:40 am (UTC)
Re: What they are called...
Nope. Poor testament to my writing skill. Crepuscular rays such as shown in these links are what Jehanni was thinking of. No, this was sun, pure full sun, slamming through the clouds without any physical manifestation as 'rays' and then lighting the hills. Crepuscular rays, a name I will shortly forget, are interesting in their own right.

Frog
jehanni
Feb. 8th, 2008 04:30 am (UTC)
See, now we're morphing your experience into our own, and fusing/confusing/diluting/rippling outward into other experiences. "Shatter" and "slam" are more impactful word choices--they definitely tweak the feeling for me towards force and pain. The "flashing through the trees" reminds me of strobes and emergency response vehicles that often carry them; a very aggressive light, and traveling fast.
birdhousefrog
Feb. 8th, 2008 03:03 pm (UTC)
and as a writer I have to accept that. My goal is to evoke and I have to accept that what I evoke is from your experience, that I can never fully communicate my own. You, the reader, will always bring your own experience to the page, make it unique. The goal is to evoke in many readers, whatever that evocation is.
michaeljasper
Feb. 8th, 2008 10:33 am (UTC)
Oooh. That's cool about the cloudy frames! That sort of stuff is fascinating -- how much of that have we lost, thanks to computers? (Sorry, feeling like a Luddite lately!)

Lovely descriptions.

And of course, thanks for the maginal comments!
birdhousefrog
Feb. 8th, 2008 03:01 pm (UTC)
Oh, you're just being kind about the comments! I'm just glad the book is done and at a publisher and I get to buy it someday.

Yes, the panes are still used in kids' earth sciences classes. And I suspect observers are still taught how to use one, just in case. I'm sure the Dude knows if the military still teaches the old-fashioned way to do it. And the computer would use something similar as its process...look at a radar image, but use the same framing guidelines on the image because each term has come to mean something in meteorological language.
mount_oregano
Feb. 8th, 2008 07:40 pm (UTC)
Beautiful.
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )