Friday, October 24, 2008
Leaves and Writing
Fall is the time of year when I yearn to express myself beyond my capabilities. It's when I wish for poetry in my thoughts, and articulation on my tongue, making me wish I were a teenager again, with the flow of words that used to fill notebooks.
I gaze at the changing fall leaves with their amazing shades of yellow, gold, greens, yellows and reds -- and it fills me with wonder. I could sit and gaze up at the flickering leaves and shafts of light for hours, feasting my eyes on the splendor of the leaves with their brilliant colors.
Every year I think of painting large canvases of trees arrayed in their finest, wanting to capture the feeling they give me, but I never have the time. Fall is a busy time of year for me -- I go back to work, I have children in school, there are gardens to be canning out of -- with no spare time to paint. I find it difficult enough to write.
One of these days I'm going to incorporate the sounds, smells, and sights of this time of year into a story. It will be based in the fall, and perhaps end with Halloween, but I haven't decided yet.
Using traditions in a story add to the ability of the reader to picture what we are writing. Describing a season puts the reader where we want them, and brings the story closer to reality. Everyone has kicked leaves while walking down the sidewalk. As a child, neat piles of leaves are just too irresistible. They beg to be jumped in and thrown about.
Have you ever watched the leaves as they fall? We have a large tree that sprouts little thin leaves that float and spiral through the air. There are times when it's almost like it's snowing, but it's all leaves. They are lazy, slow little twists in the air, as if reluctant to give up this moment of freedom when at last freed from being anchored to the tree.
I also begin to think of holidays -- Thanksgiving comes to mind during this season -- harvest, family, home. Homecoming games, hot cider, crisp apples with cheese, caramel apples on a stick. It’s a feeling thing, I guess. What are your memories of fall?
Whatever your skill, whatever your deepest desires, writing will bear it out. I am unable to link my words into poetry the way I desire, but sometimes I can string them together so they make sense and call imagery to mind. Sometimes I can write and draw with words what my imagination bears out. Sometimes I can't.
I suppose it's a skill that will be honed with practice, with advice, guidance and editing. But as long as I keep trying, it will happen.