September 19, 2011

Seasonal Transitions

As a writer there are times when I feel more like writing than others. Autumn is one of those times when I'm really ready to write. To help in this transition from summer's triple-digit temperatures to autumn's clear blue crisp days, my family has gotten into the habit of taking a family vacation.

So what does that have to do with writing? First off, vacations are wonderful opportunities to observe others around you. For instance, the harried parents who took their little one out on the patio of a nice restaurant while waiting for their meal to arrive. I watched them visibly relax when the child's noise and activity were away from patrons who might complain. Or watch a young couple on the deck of a paddle wheeler as it chugs slowly along a bayou. They snuggle and whisper, oblivious of the fifty other passengers. Or the couple who sat next to my family. The man and his wife--for they were married--acted independently, each going their own way, doing their own thing. Finally they joined back up at a bench near me. Together but separate. The total opposite of the young couple leaning against the ship's front rail. Note the camaraderie of the men and women who work on the ferry that transports vehicles and passengers from Galveston to Bolivar several times an hour. They're all business in their scruffy looking outfits with official orange jackets. But among themselves as the ferry plows through water intersected by huge ships and small pleasure crafts they joked. The ferry approaches the next dock and it's back to business, the humor seen by me as a walk-on passenger, gone. Sit on the back porch of Murdock's Souvenir shop where Adirondack chairs and rockers are free for the sitting and you really get a nice slice of life that can easily slip into any of your literary characters.

Often I come back from vacations with some story percolating in my head. One of those that simply buzzes between your ears and won't let you sleep. You've GOT to write SOMETHING down about that story before you go bonkers!

Autumn is my favorite time of year. Begin retired, days are often the same. However my husband is a substitute teacher in the local schools and is often gone Monday through Friday. For me, that establishes a pattern for my writing that is missing in the helter-skelter of summer's going here and there at the drop of a hat. I settle down to my writing, with a renewed sense of expectation, often including into my fiction the vacation characters I saw. The weather is wonderful with cooler days and crisp nights. I'm ready to write, energized and jazzed.

One other tradition I observe--and my family begs for when temperatures cool--fits perfectly with this particular blog's format. Anna always includes recipes. I have one to share. One that suits autumn and soothes my soul. One of my family's favorite things to eat when the weather is cool is gingerbread. Enjoy the recipe, remember to observe, take advantage of autumn's beauty and let your heart enter your writing each day.

Jane Carver
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Jane Carver
A recipe from Marguerite Robinson
Baltimore, MD

350* for 35-40 minutes
13 X 9 greased pan

2 cups of flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. allspice
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup molasses
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 cup boiling water

--In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, ginger and allspice. Set aside.
--In another large bowl (you'll combine all in this one), combine oil, molasses, sugar and eggs. With mixer on medium (or beat by hand) beat 3 minutes until blended. Add dry ingredients, beating until smooth and well-blended. Quickly/safely stir in boiling water. Pour into prepared pan.
--Sprinkle with powdered sugar when completely cool.


charla2121 said...

I too love autumn. The weather seems to bring out a more relaxed atmosphere. No one has to hurry to escape the heat of summer or the cold of winter. Like spring it gives people the chance to observe the beautiful scenery changing around them.

marybelle said...

Autumn is my favorite too. After the heat of Summer the cool change is most welcome. The Gingerbread looks delicious.