Austin awoke to a soggy, gray blanket of fog that only horror writers and car insurance agents love. I awoke with fog as well, but in my brain. Just as well that I have no job to be up for at the butt crack of dawn. There was also a ray of light: a note on my blog from a Seattle author I mentioned the other day, Paulette Perhach. An authot writing to A Dude is big deal, y’all! Later in the day, I got connected with another Seattle writer, Carol Tice, a ghostwriter who does coaching. Eventually, I got my cobweb-addled brain and body out for my walk and a bike ride… into the rain and mist I went.
Downtown on an errand, I ducked into a Starbucks (a tiny coffee company based in Seattle you may have heard about) for a tinkle and to use their free wi-fi. I used to live in Seattle. After a few years of suffering through miserable winter days like today, escaping often to the YMCA for what I dubbed a “shake n’ bake” — sauna, steam room, hot tub — I was chased out of town by the constant state of darkness and moisture. The Starbucks gestapo was also to blame since they rightly claimed I didn’t buy any coffee. All that’s to say that rainy days and Mondays always get me down. Except you can’t keep a good dude down for long.
The fog comes
on little cat feet.
It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.by Carl Sandburg
This sort of weather lends itself to sleeping in, naps, Netflixin’ and doing a whole lot of nothing. We live in tenuous times, at the brink of war with Iran one moment, to wondering how we’re going to pay the rent, feed the kids, save our schools, save our planet the next. For many in the urban centers of Western nations, we have a level of stress and problems that probably sound ridiculous to a poor rice farmer in Asia. Sure, they may get their fair share of spam emails too, but worries about cyclists in the bike lanes because there aren’t any of either out in the sticks is not on their list of stressors. But problems are problems, and you work with the hand you’re dealt. In the end, the house always wins, don’t it? As they say on the Ballard Bitter beer bottle from Seattle: “Ya sure, ya betcha!”
Don’t get me wrong, I love fog. It’s my favorite weather, actually, as long as I don’t have to drive a car in it (and biking isn’t the greatest, either). It’s the one time one can literally have their head in the clouds. Once, in a distracted state, I wrecked a car. There was moisture fogging up my windows and a cheerleader neighbor in the passenger seat. So while it’s good for the plants and knocking down the cedar pollen, fog is not necessarily always friend to humans. That’s Mother Nature for you.
Images of fog populate our collective psyche: Jack the Ripper stories, film noir, crime novels and such. The Mist is a horror movie about the long dark night of the soul, based of course on a novella by the master of moods and monsters Stephen King. I’ve just finished his On Writing and got Doctor Sleep from the library. (By the way, if you’re on Goodreads, I am too, so look me up there if you use it. Although I’m not on it not often, I’m doing more reading lately. I hope to use the site to track what I read and for mini-reviews.) I’ve definitely bgit fig on the brain. As Lou Reed once sang, ‘I’ve got a foggy notion… got my Calamine Lotion.”
One thing Paulette says early in her book, which she quotes another author saying, is that everyone who aspires to write produces pabulum at first. Often, when the mind is foggy, that can still happen (even after four years of blogging and a whole book draft later). Perhaps like now, for me, who still has much to learn. For me the subject of writing is full of books, websites and all kinds of conflicting advice. I’ll listen in to Carol’s group call with Sophie Lizard, an English writer and coach with a great name (if it’s real, who knows?). I’ll go through Paulette’s book Welcome to the Writer’s Life then again with the exercises.
So I’ll wade through the morass of mental moisture: I’ll read the websites, blogs, magazines and books that I can. I’ll keep writing this blog if it makes sense, but trying the make some money off it would sure help. Going to One Page Salon. I’ll finish editing my book, get input and give it a third pass, and published by someone or myself if need be. Go to more readings, and maybe start doing some readings. Join Freelance Austin and the Writers League of Texas. All the while biking (5 x 22 x 50 is the tentative goal for this year — doable but a huge time suck at my slow turn of pedal), walking, yoga-ing… and living. I’ll slog through the fog and try not to trip on a log and fall in a bog walking the dog while composing this blog.
Somehow I’ve got to find a way through the morass and pay the bills – like, soon. Ideally by writing, not a soul-destroying, mind-numbing and dream-killing desk job. But with which platform? Upwork, Verblio, Patreon, Facebook, Fiverr, Twitter, my own new website? All the above? Who has the time? The overwhelming amount of information is like a huge ground cloud; one’s glasses fog up and the defroster needs to be put on high. To clear the mind’s eye with wipers at full flap and defroster on blast (like so many Twitter users do).
As the saying goes: Onward, through the fog. It sounds better in Spanish: Adelante, por la nublina. Either way, into every life a little rain must fall. Whether your baptism is as a budding writer, a new parent, a graduate, the recipient of a promotion, a politician, a celebrity, a laborer, a home maker — we’re all going to get drenched with the deluge from time to time, both metaphorically and literally. All of us will be covered and smothered in the liquids of life — fog, rain, snow, blood, sweat, tears, mud and slime and worse…. if we’re lucky. If not, you’re probably hiding at home under the covers. Let’s go. I’ll see you out there. Bring a towel, and don’t panic.
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