Seasonal affective disorders

courtesy of Microsoft clip art

My walking partner suggested I blog about the weather. No, not a rant about the rain or an excerpt from the National Weather Service’s seven-day forecast. She came up with this idea after recalling a conversation she had with a relative before moving to the Northwest from Southern California. “People talk about the weather here,” he warned her. She didn’t appreciate the comment until she had lived here a few months. The weather is more predictable where she came from: sun, sun, and more sun.  When it comes to Southern California weather there was really nothing to talk about (well, maybe the Santa Ana winds).

Here we can experience different weather from one part of town to another, from hour to hour.  These changes keep us on our toes and affect our psyches. When they got older, my parents began spending six months a year in Arizona. “I never noticed how gloomy it was here until I retired,” my father once told me. A lot of northerners identify with this view.

At the moment, I’m thinking of weather as a character in my novel.  A locale can be a character, and so can its weather. Where would Dorothy and Toto have ended up without the tornado? (And don’t say, “Kansas.”) A squall passing over the moors soaked Jane Eyre to the core. In “Psycho,”Janet Leigh stopped at the Bates Motel to seek protection from a storm.  Then there was Noah and the flood. I decided weeks ago that one of my tasks on the first re-write of my novel will be, in the words of television chef Emeril, “to kick it up a notch.” While he’s referring to adding chiles and other spices to a dish, I’m talking about building more tension and pouring on the suspense.  What is better qualified to carry out both than a dark and stormy night?

You can see that like most Northwesterners, I’m able to blame the weather for just about anything that goes wrong, including events in the lives of people who don’t exist.  The truth is that whatever ill may come to my characters it won’t be the weather’s fault.  Australian band Crowded House comes closest to explaining this in its song Weather with You: “Everywhere you go you always take the weather with you.”  The book, Wherever You Go, There You Areby Jon Kabat-Zinn, also expresses this sentiment. If it’s not the weather’s fault, I guess my characters will have to take responsibility for their own behavior. I know I’m not going to.

About stillalife

I retired June 30, 2010 after working for 40 years in the field of education and most recently doing school public relations/community outreach in a mid-size urban school district. I wrote for superintendents and school board members. Now I'm writing for me and I hope for you. In this blog, I offer my own views coupled with the latest research on how to preserve our physical and mental health as we age, delve into issues most of us over 50 can relate to like noticing wrinkles and forgetting where we left our keys, discuss the pros and cons of different ways to engage our minds and bodies after we leave the workplace, and throw in an occasional book review, all peppered with a touch of humor, irony, and just plain silliness. Also, I'm on the third draft of my second novel since retirement.
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3 Responses to Seasonal affective disorders

  1. greti79 says:

    Love it! I can’t wait to read your book.

  2. Dick Clark says:

    Of course you can always consider the approach by Guterson in his new book if you really want to spice it up. You did see the award he received didn’t you?

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