Blame the Weather

I thought about a number of things on the drive in to work this morning. It’s been cold here in Ohio; the last two weeks have not seen the temperature get above freezing. It makes for beautiful white scenery, but I’m sick of the cold now. But I tell myself that things could be worse. I remember a 10-day period in Wyoming when the temperature never got above zero degrees (Fahrenheit).

I thought about how cold weather makes for great atmosphere for certain kinds of storytelling. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, for example. Or Fargo. I used the deep of winter as the setting for my unpublished police novel, The Mushroom Shift, and it suited the story well. Winter puts people in a definite survival mindset in a way that the most oppressive summer heat can’t, and TMS was all about different kinds of survival. The winter is a wonderful tool to amplify the negative. Machines don’t work right and break, and when things go wrong, they’re wronger than normal. It made me think briefly that perhaps I should take another shot at publishing TMS.

Then, somehow, I changed tracks and started to ponder where I was going in And/News. I’ve been nervous about having Richard and K leave the campground because they’re now determined to surrender to the police. The problem is, I need them not to, but I couldn’t think of a reason to forestall it that wasn’t lame or already used.

Since outright plot manipulation wasn’t working, I instinctively fell back on the characters and how their situation is affecting them… and there it was. The answer.

See, early in the book K suffered a dramatic loss, and during her cross-country run with Richard, she’s been going through the five stages of grief. So I’m going to use that against her, and have the next stage hit in such a way that it prevents their surrender and precipitates the next catastrophic event.

The downward spiral has begun. Let it never be said that I don’t know how to treat a lady.

So it was a productive commute into work today. That’s good, because my showers have been fitful and broody of late. It must be the weather.

Aside that has nothing to do with the aforementioned: iTunes software is wonderful stuff. I downloaded a version of it that works on Mac OS 9 for my computer at work because it handles streaming audio better than anything else I’ve used. At home I’m ripping my CD’s into mp3’s for the day when I get an iPod. And I’ve found cool Internet radio stations, like one that plays 60’s psychadelia 24/7 (in recent years I have come to love the stuff – don’t ask why… I don’t have an answer). iTunes is changing the way I listen to music.

(And I don’t even own stock in the company. Maybe I should.)

NP: Phishcast (Internet Radio via iTunes)

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