Monday, September 26, 2011

It's All in the Atmosphere

Ah, it's autumn. The crisp, cool air. Beautiful leaves turning and falling. Farmers looking forward to a bountiful harvest. Sweaters in the evening.

Well, that was fun to write. But it's just a myth to those of us in central Texas. Here in Austin it was 105 degrees yesterday. The most chance of rain any forecaster will venture is 30 percent, and that's a 30 percent change of scattered sprinkles, not the actual rain we so desperately need. The trees have given up and gone into early dormancy. We'll see if they leaf out next spring. The farmers have plowed under most of the crops for this year, awhile ago. There were a few anemic cotton harvests, but the corn never got above two feet tall and withered weeks before any ears could form.

I had the great good fortune this month to make a trip to cool, wet Tennessee and take a walk in the Smokies on a foggy day that required a jacket. But, if I hadn't actually taken a plane and arrived there physically, I still could have gone. That's the advantage of being a writer.

Any old time I want, I can sit down and conjure up weather. That's part of my setting, after all. If I get thoroughly into what I'm doing, I can write a blizzard and start shivering. My bare toes will turn cold. I'll want a cup of hot tea. Then I'll leave the keyboard and come to. It will shock me that it's over 100 degrees and the AC is valiantly trying to cool the house. I love being a writer!

If you're feeling the need for something with a dark and juicy atmosphere to sink your teeth into, with touches of black humor sprinkled about, remind yourself that our anthology is coming out next month. We here in Austin sure hope it's cooler by then!

Oil on canvas "Autumn Leaves" by John Buxton Knight, public domain


  1. Great points! It's good to be a writer in this miserable Texas heat!

  2. I think you're already somewhere cold, Pat, so sorry about that. I'm thinking of writing about eskimos.