Friday, June 11, 2010

Friday Fricassee

Except for those of you who live farther north than was ever intended for human habitation, I think we can safely say that summer is here.

Summer makes me happy. Not the humidity, not the electric bill attached to ever-running AC units. And certainly not the bugs. But just about everything else? Perfect.

Laundry loads are smaller because we're wearing less clothing. Garbage-bin-duty is hassle-free because, well, I don't have to bundle up first (a process that takes as long as the actual chore). There is MUSIC outside--birdsong and neurotic chipmunks in the mornings, crickets and katydids and chorus frogs in the evenings.

And, oh. The food. Sun-warmed peaches from the farmer's market. Grilled grass-fed burgers and barbecued chicken and marinated lamb and--well, grilled anything. (The other day I grilled Brussels sprouts. Divinity on a fork.) Ice cream and homemade pickles and potato salad and luscious salads.

The only thing that's missing is the ocean. I long for it. I should live by it, really. In a hut. Other than sweeping sand from my floor and remembering to eat, I could write all day.

*pause while ridiculous daydream runs its course*

At any rate, the season brings a measure of happiness to me. Helpful, when frustration sets in. Helpful, when I feel like I'm grinding my gears and going nowhere. There's something about being rejected in the summer versus being rejected in the winter.

This winter was rough.

Yesterday, I discovered an almost-magical Spot. You know what I'm talking about--it's a Spot meant for Writing. I felt it with every breath.

Picture this: A simple wooden bench. Trees. The remains of a bonfire in a stone-lined pit. A stream. A small deck over the water. Birds.


Yeah. It's always the bugs that stop me. Anything that bites or stings. Or looks remotely like an ant. Yet I found myself planning an anti-bug strategy so I could return to the Spot and spend an entire morning writing.

Long, lightweight pants. Socks and sneakers. All-natural bug spray from Whole Foods. A hat.

And Beatrice.

I don't know if I'll do it. Bugs are the bane of my summer.

What about you? Do the changing seasons affect your writing? Do you have Spots that call to you in warmer months?

Share! And talk me into actually writing at my new-found Spot. Bugs be damned.


  1. I wish I could help, but I've been bashing my head against my daughter's bug phobia for years without success. I know if I had a comfortable spot where I could write outside without distraction, I'd be all over it.

    Yeah, the seasons affect my writing. Looking back, I've always been more productive in the fall and I usually hit a slow patch between Feb and April. This year seems to be breaking the cycle, though. No slow-ups or shut downs yet. =o)

  2. Does the wind kiss your skin just so and fills your lungs with renewed spirit? Does your mind clear and scenes appear out of the ether fully formed? Does the cool grass sway before you like a green sea?

    No better place to be.

    Oh, and thank you for the Death Scene critique. I found the comments useful and uplifting. Now if I could magically boost my word count and write the perfect query I would be on my way.

    Wait a sec, scotch over, I need a space on that bench, pronto!

  3. The ocean calls to me as well. But I do live only a couple miles from the shore.

    As far as bug defenses go...take a citronella candle with you and light it. That will, at least, keep the flying beasts away.

  4. Okay, we were twins separated at birth?? I could have easily written the same post. Identical likes/dislikes.

    I'm a huge grill fiend in the summer. Have you ever sprinkled cinnamon/sugar on peaches and grilled them. Yummy. How about a grilled banana split? We did those a few weeks ago? Grilled potatoes - regular and sweet, pineapple, zuchinni, squash, eggplant! Ah, the joys of a grill and summertime.


  5. I have the perfect spot. A bench on a bluff overlooking Lake Erie (hey, it's not the ocean, but beautiful nonetheless), shady, always a nice breeze, the flying predators aren't bad. The problem is, I can't write there. Too many distractions, too much daydreaming. I'm most productive squeezing in a few paragraphs during down time at work or scribbling on a legal pad while watching Glee. If I plonk myself down in the middle of nature I don't get a damn thing done.

  6. I woke up to snow this morning. Boo. Montana is lame!

    I long for the ocean too, but I live in a landlocked state. Sigh. I suppose I will have to take a trip to the land of summer and ocean breezes soon!

  7. Summer is definitely my season -- I come alive with all the things you described.

    I also detest the bugs. I have a lovely spot outside my house that I would love to enjoy -- I watch it through my windows when I write in the winter.

    But those bugs. Sigh. I think I'll give the spray a try. I don't want to miss out on my favorite season because the insects are more persistent than I am!

  8. I think you need to look at the big picture: what's the worst that'll happen with mosquitos? You'll itch. Is it worth the prospect of several inspired pages? In my mind, heck yes, but I'm not all that afraid of bugs. Besides, you never know when you'll need to describe the feeling of a bugbit someday! :)
    I used to freak out because of bugs. I've given up on it - they're everywhere. We live above an italian resteraunt and their garbage is underneath our window (several stories) so we get lots and lots of bugs. I don't even flinch anymore - except with moths. I hate moths, and will scream and run from the room. But other bugs? Eh, they don't bother me so much now.

  9. As long as I am moderately comfy where I writing (wherever that may be), I can write. I get so into my story that wherever the characters are, that is where I am also. My surroundings transform into a park gazebo or a graveyard, sitting in the thick, overgrown grass. Or perhaps in a dusty library with thousands of ancient books that mankind has yet to discover.

    This is where I like to write. You've heard the saying 'home is where the heart is'? Well, comfort is where the writing is...for me.

    Maybe that will become my new catch-phrase =)

  10. in Fl, we have this huge statue of a sailer kissing a nurse out by a tiny strip of land that stretches into the water. Some use it as a mini-park, but sometimes i'll just sit on a bench, face toward the ocean, and write. Watching the boats, listening to the dogs with their owners, and hearing the steady beat of crashing waves not even three feet in front of me is incredibly relaxing.

    The problem? Seeing my laptop screen during the day there is impossible, which is why i head there later on in the day. Say, eveningish.

    As for your bugs, I say bring a portable bug-be-gone scented candle and light it up near you. They work great!

  11. Summer is NOT my season, but then, I live in southern Nevada. (Our high the other day was around 110 degrees). Come June or July, we all move indoors:)

    And I think you should try writing in your Spot, Authoress. If the bugs bug you (hee, hee), you can always move. But maybe you'll be so enraptured by the trees and the stream and all the birds - and Beatrice - that you won't notice them.

  12. Bugs…shiver. I don’t know as I could ignore the mosquitoes. Or the occasional spider dropping down. Or the yellow-jacket landing in my hair. ACKK…

    But never mind that. I want to echo another comment made by a contributor. I received the best advice ever for the Mini-Drop the Needle. Thank you again for this venue. I love it.

    After the usual reaction of, “whadda mean it’s not perfect”, the advice was spot-on and I was banging my head with my hand, saying, “Why didn’t I see that?”

    Thanks again.

  13. *sigh* I do live by the ocean, but must be farther north than nature intended, because summer hasn't come here yet. ;) I'm hoping, though!

    Your spot sounds lovely. I vote for a mosquito net that you zip yourself up in!

  14. I'm one of those people who live 'farther north than was ever intended for human habitation' lol, and I love the beach in winter. Nothing better than walking on the sand wearing warm clothes and having the ocean spray crash over you - then drying off before an open fire.

    On the bug subject, we travelled around Australia in tents for almost two years with our two children under 3 years of age and I wrote articles about the trip as we went. You do get used to the bugs, spiders and snakes (and the dingos) after a while:-)

    Enjoy your 'magical' spot. I found that when I immersed myself in my writing, I was able to shut out the creepy crawlies - and deal with the bites later:-)

  15. Go for the great spot! I find Avon Skin-so-soft works good for keeping mosquitoes away. You can also put a dab of toothpaste on the bites, or prick a small hole in a vitamin E capsule, and put the goo on it. Both take the itch out without chemicals.

    We have a small lake near me. I sit up on the overlook deck. A nice cool breeze, and ambiance. Perfect for mood writing.

  16. There is no inspiration like that which comes from the perfect Spot. The endorphins produced as a result of being surrounded by such natural perfection will show through on the page.

    I'm surprised you need convincing. I want your Spot.

  17. This post was one of my Authoress faves!

    I'm anti-bug, too.

    For writing? I bang something out in February and March. When the holidays are over, and it's still serious winter here in Oregon.

    Then I spend about 9 months revising.

    I'm done just in time to start something new in February again.

  18. Repellant candles? Bug spray?

    If I found a spot that nice, no bugs would keep me from using it. I say go for it.

  19. Let me tickle your fancy. Large blowflies waft down from the north. Big ones that are like flying Hummers. They don't really worry you except that they like windows and drone away until they die. Barbecues, well everyone has one. The only problem with them is that sometimes the gas runs out so you have to dash to the local gas station. The weather is benign. If it's hot one day, it won't stay that way. Usually a change with come through in the form of a 'southerly buster' and everything cools down. Winter isn't all that harsh. It rarely gets down below 9 degrees centigrade.


    Favorite spot is at the back of the inner city house in which I dwell. I have a large windup umbrella and a table on a patio with a small bonsai pine with a little fishing man sitting under it. There are small bush flies but you spray the spray and its okay (good advertising line there) and open up the computer and while you ponder, you can watch the darling little rainbow lorikeets talking to each other while they fysh around the various bits and pieces in the garden. Season here in this garden doesn't matter because either way the sun spot remains umbrellaless in winter, and umbrellafull during the summer.

    Mosquitos... little suckers linger but can't land because the spray has been sprayed.

    Sydney is highly recommended for those who are vulnerable to a constant flow of very even temperatures. A lot of people walk around even in winter in t-shirts (brrrr).

    The only deterrant to living in Sydney is the Nanny State (a government which thinks you have no brain and must legislate right down to which juice you drink on Thursdays).

    Lots of Canadians and Americans live here BTW. Seems like they've agreed with me and headed for the antipodes. Australia is safe if you don't count the prime minister. We don't get those violent storms, and the welfare system is kind. Health care is complained about but you don't get left on a shelf in any hardship or emergency. (Qantas passenger jet was sent to spot the little 16 year old girl stranded in the middle of the Indian Ocean on her round the world) -

    Coffee is really good downunder. And where I live you just walk to a local cafe where you get a fantastic meal (cheap) an internet connection in most cases and al fresco section in the sun ...


    And as if that wasn't enough...

    They speaka da English,