Monday, October 27

There's a golden sky


        I’m a morning person, which means even though I make my own hours, I go to work in the dark. It’s my favorite time—watching the day come alive. This morning, for a few minutes, the pinkness in the sky wrought by the rising sun turned the fields and the woods a warm gold. I tried to get pictures, but they didn’t capture the color or the feeling. That’s where being a writer comes in handy. Because by the time the gold had brightened and split into bars of light and shadows, the scene was there.
          I already had the people—I always do—so now I know where they’re going to be. How they’re going to feel when the sun slips up to offer them a new start.  
       I know that she will have stopped by the side of the road and is standing, looking first one direction and then another because she doesn’t know what to do. Where to go. Her whole world, or what’s left of it, is in the minivan she’s driving.
          I know that across some fields and around a corner or two, he stops on the way across the barn lot to his office and gazes in his accustomed silence as the wind whispers through the cornfield. It dries the mud left by last night’s storm. The end of a storm, he remembers from an old musical, leaves a golden sky and the comfort of birdsong in its wake. He knows better than to anticipate—life hasn’t been kind enough for him to feel comfortable with expecting the best—but it looks like it’s going to be a good day.
          It’s one of those times I love being a writer. When a nice sunrise is more than just a few minutes in the day. It’s a scene or the beginning (or ending) of a story. It’s a catalyst for whatever you need it to be. It can be a backdrop for a portrait of a story’s cast or it can be the final scene of the epilogue when you’re at the bittersweet “the end” moment. It can be the setting for walking and talking—one of my favorite things TV writers do (yay, Aaron Sorkin)—or it can be the ending of a night the protagonists might or might not regret.
          Just a few minutes, but the possibilities are endless. Has this happened to you? When it comes to gifts to give a writer, it’s almost as good as a really nice pen that fits your hand right, isn’t it?
          Have a great day—I hope you have some wonderful minutes. Tell us about them, won’t you?

23 comments:

  1. I've had those moments too, Liz. And dialogue can do the same thing. We picked up a prisoner in another state once. We were familiar with him. He'd been in jail before. My partner asked, "don't you get tired of living like this?" He shrugged and said, "I get tired of living period. Jail can be a way of coming in from the cold." He didn't mean the literal cold but the cold of a harsh and confusing world. That just stuck in my mind and a wondered what kind of life would making going to jail seem like coming in from the cold. I remember the sound of resignation in his voice. That guy has been one of the characters in several of my books.

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    1. Oh, yeah--I got cold chills from that one, Vic. The sadness is so deep it goes right into the bones.

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  2. Sunrise is a beautiful time of day, but no matter how happy I am to watch the beauty of a day dawn--I'm afraid I'm not and have never been a morning person. Lovely post!!

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    1. Thanks, Barb! I always kind of hate that I miss the joys of being a night person--I'm sure they're as many and varied as what I get from sunrise--but I just can't stay awake!

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  3. Thanks, Liz--once again you've expressed what it is that makes writers get up and go at it again. I'm now an AM person, but when I was finishing college (later in life) I was definitely a PM person--kids were in bed, phone didn't ring--and I loved that, too. Not just the quiet, but the feeling that I was the only person in the world who was awake and keeping watch. Not true, of course, but that didn't make it any less good.

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    1. I used to try. I'd have everything ready to go when the kids went to bed and the TV went off, but the truth was that I had to go to work in the morning; therefore I was lucky to stay awake 20 minutes after they went to bed!

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  4. I love it when those moments happen, Liz. In real life, I'm not much of a morning person because I'm just not coherent right away...but I still appreciate a good sunrise (in real life or in books).

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    1. They're not all productive for me, either. At this moment, which is well beyond sunrise, I'm still in my jammies and sucking down some Earl Grey. The golden look was here again today though (I wrote the post yesterday) and I can't get over the beauty of it.

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  5. I have similar feelings about seeing beautiful nature, especially this time of year. In fact, I worry that the beauty is a bit cliched to write about. At the least, I think it's challenging to bring in words that make the setting unique. Sometimes something will happen and I will take a slight pause, almost like snapping a photo in my mind, to lock in the image. This happened a few years back when Indiana was in an especially severe drought. I trudged a fairly long way to my mailbox through the yard and the dry, brown blades of grass crunched under my shoes like it were ice snapping on pavement after an ice storm. The sun beat down and I thought how the setting exemplified aspects of my life, that I was in a drought of the spirit as well.

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    1. It might be cliched, but I remember D'Ann saying the thing with stereotypes is that usually there's truth to them (or words to that effect) and cliches are the same way. Not only is there truth to them, but importance as well. This is JMHO of course, since I never met a cliche I didn't like. :-) I'm glad you found your way out of your drought, Cathy!

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  6. Love your writing, Liz and I never find it cliched. My own is what I worry about. :) As with anything, beauty will be uniquely described by each person. Also, that dry season was fairly close to losing my father, to put it in perspective. It was a very sad, difficult time and brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it.

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  7. You've captured a wonderful moment there, Liz. I was caught up, in the moment, imagining my own characters standing in that early morning light in a completely different state. In fact my hero in the next book has a moment similar to that one, but in Texas. : )

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    1. There is definitely something about the morning light, no matter where you are. Thanks for coming by, Roben!

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  8. Hi, Liz! Every weekend, Handsome and I take our dogs for the long walk to Starbucks. Very cars. Mostly birds and squirrels. And quiet. It is wonderful to watch the seasons change and mostly, to have a moment for ourselves.

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  9. I'm sooo jealous, Liz, as I'm definitely NOT a morning person and wish that I were. I believe the morning is the best time to write, too. I just can't seem to get to bed early and then it's a big hassle getting up early. Kudos to you!
    Hebby Roman

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    1. Thanks, Hebby, but I think you can create your own best time any time of the day--only being awake is required! :-) I've always envied people who can write late into the silent night, because I have to have quiet to write but can't stay awake long enough to write late!

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  10. The scent of the early morning air--pre-sunrise always takes me back to my childhood when I'd help my dad out on his Oregonian paper route. We'd get up around 3:30 and head down to the distribution center. The air was moist with dew and there was something about the scent of the air--fresh and sleepy at the same time. Thanks for the memories.

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    1. Oh, I love that, Margie. I've only been to the PNW once. We spent five days in the Seattle-Tacoma area (son was at Ft. Lewis) and two or three at Bend, OR, where my sister lived on the edge of a national forest. Dechutes? I'll never forget those Oregon mornings--they were different, and special.

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  11. I just love your voice, Liz, just lovely.

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  12. This was a lovely post. It made me wish I was a morning person so I could see beautiful sunrises. I've tried...I really did...but I'm not made to be a morning person. I'm a night person. And my best time to write is after dinner to when I go to bed. I'll have to stick to pictures and your writing to get my sunrise fix. ;)

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    1. There's such beauty in the night, too--and I never see it! Thanks, Chris.

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