Color in the Fog

By Rebecca T. Dickinson

In the winter, I miss the fresh markets. The little market up the road from my home closes in December. It is rare to see snow cover the area where I live unless it is a cold winter like 2009-2010 and 2010-2011. A small part of me grieves for the empty, drab market. It is located on the corner, but looks more like a girl in a pale, thrift store dress waiting for the boy to ask her to dance. Crates shout for freshness and color; an escape from its damp, brown existence.

Winter also comes for the writer. A season chills the fingers. The brain and the keyboard disconnect. Work drives a person crazy, reading for a class piles up, or the baby bangs his book on the table and wants his parent to show him the pictures. At times a writer does not know why words freeze.

In Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, he wrote about how tough it was to find time to write with two young children and a limited budget of time and money. He wrote while he waited for laundry to finish. Even if he did not think it was the springtime of his creativity, he composed something.

Not every writer is that way. Some writers need time away from the world where children are pulling on their arm; college friends are ready to go out to a bar; or the chatter of colleagues at the lunch table. Words become like cats behind the couch. The can be lovable pet comes out from behind the couch when all the noises are gone. Uproars of the mind also disrupt the possible kaleidoscope of colors we as writers might create with just a few presses on the keypad or jot of a pen. The pen stands up straight and does not move. It waits and waits for something to pop.

When a white wine sauce simmers just right, I like to add cherry tomatoes. I dislike tomatoes by themselves, but the sauce fills the round, red beauties with taste. They pop in the mouth. A flood of flavors invades the tongue. I believe an author searches for the same result in a sentence, a character, or word.

I’ve often heard others, myself included, blame writer’s block. I’m not sure what my feelings are about the subject, but I know insecure moments fight with creativity. Those times question our abilities or stories. Uncertainty drills itself into the mind like a head cold. Drums of a foreign nation beat against the walls of the forehead.

One of the keys to fighting the beast, I believe, is to stop trying to look through the fog.

Fog clouds a space. The writer wants to paint their work full of yellows and reds. It feels like those colors hold out on the writer. It is waiting for spring. The soil that grows plants and vegetables is still in place during winter. As writers, we have the option to dig into the soil, plant the seeds, go back to basics, and rediscover how to make a work significant. All the sudden, the bin at the fresh market is not a wasted space. It is the container to hold the creations of a writer’s mind.

Stephen King On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

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7 thoughts on “Color in the Fog

  1. Writing Jobs January 11, 2012 at 4:19 AM Reply

    Another great post. I enjoyed reading your blog today.

    We love meeting new excited writers.

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  2. jovialistej January 15, 2012 at 12:47 PM Reply

    I think that, the best season for writing is the winter, the best of the day is the morning and the night, but I think that because I am an Argentino Writer and I write on Buenos Aires city.

    • rtd14 January 16, 2012 at 3:52 PM Reply

      You are right. I try to wake up earlier in the mornings than my one-year-old.I’m lucky to have a baby, who likes sleeping in the morning. The unfortunate part is that he picks up the habit from me, I think. Whenever I wake up in the morning, my creativity is at its best. I prefer to edit later in the day or at night. What is the link to your blog? I’d like to read it. For some reason the link here did not work.

  3. Lorna D. Keach January 15, 2012 at 7:14 PM Reply

    I’ve heard Stephen King’s book on writing is the best out there. I haven’t picked it up, but thanks for giving me more incentive to do so. You’ve got some great ideas here!

    • rtd14 January 16, 2012 at 3:47 PM Reply

      I’ve read different books I’ve either found or that other teachers and writers recommended. It is hard to find time to read everything out there, so I like to go with the best. Stephen King’s book on the craft of writing is at the top of my list. I also like Pat Conroy’s My Reading Life.

  4. jovialiste January 16, 2012 at 6:48 PM Reply

    Thank you very much for your answer.
    The links are: – There are 400 articles, and 22 books. – There are 588 articles or posts (Thiinks, humor, investigations, “videos”, etc)
    and in BLOGGER are more….
    But I write in spanish, not in english or french, because I live on Buenos Aires city.
    But to day are TRANSLATER.
    I have in paper a book publish 2010 about the theory of the humor. The title is “TEORIA Y PRÁCTICA DE LO CÓMICO Y DE LA RISA”. (spanish, Edit Dunken, Buenos Aires, 2010)

  5. Pete Denton February 2, 2012 at 9:32 PM Reply

    It’s a number of years since I read On Writing, but I do remember being inspired by his comments. I might have to check it out again. Thanks :)

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