The area where I live is famous (justly or not) for having a lot of rain. Honestly, it’s mostly lots of gray with some mist to decorate pedestrians with shiny dew-beads. That said, we do get some honest to goodness rain, and I’ve found that those kind of days are good days. Why is that? Here’s a couple of reasons.
There’s very little in the world more relaxing than the fall of rain. I love to sit near a window (I’m in a middle-floor condo, so no roof noises for me) and absorb the pounding on my deck, the trees in the courtyard, and splashing in the ponds. It leaves me in a mellow frame of mind, and helps me focus. Focus is something I’m not gifted with, so any advantage there is something I latch on to.
Some people might think I’m a little weird, but as long as I’m able to go straight home after and jump in dry clothes or a hot bath, I really enjoy walking in the rain. In the modern world we spend so much time in carefully controlled environments. When indoors we’re almost always within a comfortable ten-degree range, thanks to heating and AC (at least in the parts of the world where they have AC–not so much here.) Most city-dwellers have little need to be out of doors, running from house to car to work to store and so on spending as little time as possible getting drenched.
But what about people who can’t avoid the weather? I sometimes write stories where characters spend lots of time out in the open. When the storms come, they don’t get the option to just hide in the house. So if I want to write about that, I need to experience it. What does it feel like to get well and truly soaked? When it’s cold? Hot?
I worked for more than fifteen years as a minstrel at a medieval faire. Outdoors, in all weather. I know first-hand what it feels like to have a mud-soaked dress sticking to your chilled legs, while huddling under a cloak. I know how much of a difference wool can make, and I know what it smells like when it’s been out in the deluge all day.
I don’t have to imagine it. I can write it authentically. And I love to take opportunities to make myself perhaps less-than-comfortable, so that I can honestly write characters in similar situations.
I suppose it is cheating to then come home and hop into my nice hot tub, but hey, surely there will be a character some time who is wet and cold, then gets to experience the bliss of lavender bubble bath!
On another note, I’m rounding out 2015 on a high note. I have garnered two acceptances this month: “A Taste of Cinnamon” to Fireside and “Blink Twice” to Perihelion Science Fiction. I don’t have publication dates yet for either story, but I can’t wait to share them with the world.
Happy holidays to all!