Before anything else, I must say CONGRATULATIONS once again to my friend and Thursday’s Children participant Stacey Lee on the sale of her book to Putnam! She’s one of the funniest, kindest, and most generous people around (she gave me my little turtle Remy). I can’t wait to buy her book (tentatively titled Golden Boys).
And now for the most horrifically graceless segue ever,
Inspired by Muck…
To paraphrase Jeff Foxworthy, “You know you’re a New Englander if your four seasons are almost winter, winter, still winter and road construction.”
Of course, he’s not a New Englander and thus he forgot the fifth season. Mud.
In this part of the world, Old Man Winter kicks Mother Nature’s butt from November to April. When Spring finally comes to northern New England, she definitely looks “ridden hard and put away wet.” The glorious carpet of autumn leaves has turned ugly brown. Limbs have been ripped off, revealing raw wood-flesh and some poor, doomed trees lean at drunken angles, knocked over but unable to rest because their comrades caught them on the way down. No pretty green leaves hide the damage. Lawns show unsightly wounds inflicted by snow plows. Nobody in his right mind tries to sell his New England home in early to mid-Spring.
Flowers foolhardy enough to bloom are begging for a foot of late season snow to be dumped on their heads.
But, for all the destruction, and decay, there is life.
In the muck of vernal pools…
Do you see him? The little frog in the middle of the photo? There’s another frog facing him,those tiny glowing dots are his eyes.
These brackish puddles lack the aesthetic appeal of babbling brooks and crystalline streams. They’re lined with dead leaves and have a faintly ominous look – like you might lean over to look into one, and get sucked down into an alternate world, probably ruled by smelly trolls. In reality, vernal pools are thriving micro eco-systems.
Earlier in the week, a writer-friend and I had a teasing exchange over Facebook about our WIPs’ swampy middles. At the moment, I’m teetering on the edge of my WIP’s murky midsection. Its surface is dark, opaque, and undoubtedly concealing all kinds of writerly perils (aka smelly trolls). I can’t see the precise story lines, plot twists, and character arcs which will ultimately get me to the other side of my book (yes, I’m pantsing this one). They’re temporarily obscured by the fertile mud of too many ideas.
Do your stories have swampy middles? Do they scare you a little bit?
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