Nightmares and Snowbirds
Yesterday was a day of deep contentment for me, but today I’m grumpy. I chased an idea last night, staying up until midnight. I knew full well that I needed to get up at dawn to walk our dog Mordor in this tropical winter. (Did I mention we’re trying the tropics again this winter like we did two years ago?) My husband, Jonathon, and I have had enough of ice and snow. Genevieve came into our life hating the cold. She seems to take snow as a personal insult, but then she was raised in the south where winter is a mild dip in temperature, but nothing more inconvenient than that. I was raised in Northern Indiana. I’ve shoveled snowdrifts taller than the Chevy Nova which was my very first car. I believe my freshman year of college still stands as, “worst winter ever” in that part of the country, but I could be wrong. I moved to Southern California after college and then to St. Louis which does have winter, but it’s more ice than snow. Genevieve still takes it all very personally, as if we had lured her to this cold, cloud covered place without explaining all the weather options. Spike takes things more in stride, but then he’s a combat vet. If no one is shooting at him, or trying to blow him up, it’s a good day. Three of us have done our time with snow, and one of us doesn’t want to shovel a single ounce of it, so this year we are trying to snowbird for the entire winter. It’s an experiment. In a few months we’ll see what results we get. So far, we’re liking it, but Mordor is out of shape for the tropics. He’s a Japanese chin, which is a toy breed, and that means two pounds of weight on him is like a human being gaining a hundred pounds. I took him to the vet to make sure he was healthy otherwise and got an exercise requiem for him. Thirty minutes a day, I literally set a timer for fifteen minutes, then reset it, and then start back for another fifteen minutes. He’s a long haired breed with a pushed in face, so he’s never great in the heat, but with the extra weight he’s really not. What’s a snowbird to do? I’m setting an alarm to try and get us out and back before the heat comes up too high for him, which means dawn. So all the way back to me chasing an idea until midnight and then crawling out of bed at dawn to dog walk. Oh, he and I have discovered we have a new allergy to palm trees. I’m told that most people have to be around an allergen for awhile to react to it, but my dog and I are special snowflakes, or would that be seashells here?
The allergy isn’t helping my overweight, pushed face dog breath better in this humidity. Come to that, it’s not helping me either, hello inhaler. So, I’ve been up since dawn, walked the dog, walked me, made tea, drunk a cup of it, had breakfast, but all I can think of is I’ve been up for hours and I’m still not at my desk writing. I’m writing this blog on my iPad at the kitchen table. I’ve noticed that writing anything at my desk makes my muse/brain think we’ve written for the day, so I’ve moved all non-book/story related writing away from my main desk. I need sitting down at the desk to be part of my ritual of approach again. I need to figure out how to make the doctor ordered dog exercise part of my morning ritual that gets me to my desk, but it’s too new to be part of any ritual. I love the view from my desk here, I love it here, but I haven’t found my writing routine here yet. I’m starting to be a little desperate to make pages on the next book, which is why I am grumpy as I stare out at the turquoise water. I’m still doing some essential research for the book, which is also maddening, because it doesn’t fill the same need for me. My imagination is no longer my friend. Taking out the trash at night is full of strange noises and I’m jumping at shadows. I need to put these scary, violent ideas down on paper and get them out of my head. My deadline is fixed and I need to make it, but in the end it’s my own internal system that demands I write fiction. I either put my nightmares on paper or they come and get me, and my little dog, too.