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How is the writing coming along?

By Remy Benoit

  I thought I would give you some time to think, to find the words and then come back with some little exercises to stimulate that pen or those fingers on the keyboard.

  Autumn comes for us here in the States officially next week. But even here in Louisiana where we really don't do winter, there is a noticeable change in the air, in the scents, in the sunlight, and in the temperatures.
  Try this just for fun.

  Keep an autumn journal, day by day, just noting what the temps were, if it rained, or snowed, or if the wind blew particularly strongly.

  Note the times of sunrise and sunset and your reactions to the diminishing daylight hours.

  How does it feel to be driving home from work with the lights on?

  What Holy Days or holidays are you celebrating? Describe in your autumn journal your feelings about them. Do you enjoy them, feel obligated by them, dread them or welcome them? Don't just say I loathe this holiday, tell your journal what you really feel. Does your stomach cramp, your breath grow short? Do you grind your teeth in angst or glow like a firefly lighting the way for others?

   Pick up a leaf and tell your journal what it looks and feels like. Don't just describe a leaf, describe a particular leaf and then press it in your journal. How do you feel about raking and bagging or mulching leaves? What do they smell like, feel like in large numbers?
Are you old enough like me to remember when the cars on the streets where moved in the city so everyone could burn their leaves? Was that something that you looked forward to as a child and miss now? Write a letter to that child and tell him/her who he/she grew into. What dreams did that child have that you have not as yet granted her/him?

   What can you do this autumn to bring one of those dreams to fruition?

   What does falling snow taste like?

   What foods enter your kitchen at this time of year? Which ones do you look forward to? Tell your journal exactly what they taste like, and how they make you feel.

   How do you feel about your winter wardrobe? Are there things in it that no longer express the current you? How do you know that?

   Have you taken any time to put things in your car that you might need for an emergency in a bad storm? What are they? If you haven't, why not?

   And do you get cabin fever? How does that feel? What do you do about it?

   If any of you would like to share some of the thoughts that emerge, just click on Feedback and I will be happy to post them.
Just keep in mind, there are all ages groups and visitors from around the world here.

   From time to time I will be adding some quotes to stimulate your thoughts.

Here are some personal journal notes:

   On my front lawn the live oaks still have their leaves, the Cajun tomatoes are reddening, and there is a hummingbird who flutters hello  in the morning when I sit on my front porch.
   A red-headed woodpecker taps away at the tree.
   If I leave the gate open the neighbor's horse wanders in.  It is a dapple and blind in one eye, the right one, but it sort of smiles hello and goes about its business of munching on the grass.
   A stray cat has wandered here with two kittens in tow;  she is  white with orange and black markings. One kitten is white with black facial markings and the other is grey. They are skiddish, but I try to make them feel comfortable, and have opened the door to what used to be the goose coup in case they need a place to sleep.

   I am planting the gardenia cuttings that I rooted this summer, cooking up yams to sweeten and freeze for the holidays and thinking it is time to get out the crock pot and start soup asimmering.

   The mornings are cool, chilly to us, in the 60's but the day time temps still go into the high 80's though the humidity is down to the mid-sixties percents. The sky is changing. It becomes quite blue in the autumn here with puffy and fluffy clouds. There come too this time of year some breezes that don't get stuck in the humid air but actually reach you.

   My daughter reported that late last night she heard what she thought was a lost cow wandering through the woods and complaining quite vociferously about her plight. That set all the dogs on the country road to barking.

   There are beards of daddylonglegs on the porch roofs and I have a toad that follows me about the yard. If I have a watering can with me, he will sit quite still for a shower and seems to enjoy it so much that I truly expect him to burst into song.  There are lots of tadpoles in the drainage ditches.

   The quiet here is good for me, calms and centers me while I write the new book, Blood Heat. I sat and read some ten year old journals the other day.  So much has changed in my life, because I have changed so much. Living in the country again has put me back in touch with the soil, the trees, the flowers, the seasons, with the Creation as a whole and it makes me wonder why we have so willingly given up that touching. The earth is our mother and what is more gentle than a loving mother's touch? How often has she forgiven us for what we have done to her? How long can she be forgiving if we continue?



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This item is part of historian, author, editor, and educator Remy Benoit's ongoing weblog for Veterans, writers, students, and others who believe in learning from and making history; including thousands of articles and posts and the free writing seminar, Using History for Healing and Writing.

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