Autumn is the perfect time of year for writing.
Gone is the glaring sun that lasts until almost midnight and erases all the dusky shadows of inspiration from the mind. The evenings draw in, we retreat inside, and reacquaint ourselves with the deepest musings of our hearts.
For, admit it, we didn’t write much in the summer did we?
The afternoons were too hot, and the long evenings were perfect for lounging, sipping cool drinks, and listening to the echoes of neighbourhood children playing in the twilight. In the summer it feels ungrateful to be sitting inside at a computer when the weather is glorious. And trying to work outside is never advisable, as the sun glares on the screen and the heat is too oppressive for linear thought.
We might have had good intentions to finish that novel, or start journalling, or write a short story. But summer beguiled us into thinking it would last forever, and we would always have tomorrow.
Tomorrow came and went and transformed the world into russet and flame and amber. The air is full of the tang of apples that have fallen from the tree and are slowly fermenting, of wood smoke and leaf mould. Fruit and foliage are being changed alchemically from one thing to another. The afternoons are moist. The harvest moon hangs low over the horizon. The evenings are crisp. And you mark the day on your calendar when you need two duvets instead of one.
Transformation and harvest; fruit to wine; grain to bread; trees from green to red.
Autumn is all about transformation and harvest, and that is why it is perfect for writing. We feel that transformation in our souls, and want to reap the rewards.
Just think of harvesting those plump ideas, hanging pendant and ripe for the picking from the idea tree in our minds. They grew full and juicy during a long, hot summer of growth, and now they are ready to be transformed into words on the page.
The margins of our life is smaller in the darker days. Our routines are concentrated in one or two rooms: for me it is the kitchen and the studio. I bounce between the two ferrying freshly brewed cups of tea, or refilling my paint-water jar.
Winter has always been the season for storytelling, and for the reading of long novels.
In the ancient days winter fell on the small villages and darkness descended on the hillsides. People retired inside to sit and eat and drink, where they could lie in blankets and reminisce about the summer’s conquests. They would spin stories of magic and adventures.
Now, we might not tell stories by the hearth-side, instead we watch boxed sets and netflix dramas, and we stack our bedside tables with thick novels. Those are our modern epics.
There’s a relief when it’s six o’clock and almost as dark as midnight. There’s nothing else for us to do but dive into the soul and write (or read). And let our imaginations roam through the margins of reality.
Or, when you rise in the morning and the sky is still dim with the pre-dawn glow. There is no harsh light to pierce the delicate membrane of our early morning imaginations. We can keep the mysterious and limitless post-sleep dreamlike state alive as long as possible. How much easier it is to sit quietly, intently, writing.
So, my writing self welcomes Autumn with joy.