Changing Weather

The weather is on the move here in Seattle this morning. A moody wind and a sudden skyful of clouds and it feels like autumn. I can’t say I have a favorite time of year except perhaps those cusps where I sense the new season taking hold. It is then when I am most reminded of world’s constant pull toward change, and I much comforted.

There is a particular challenge writers face when they choose to render such details as weather for their readers. Nearly every writer who has ever sat down to tell a story has described snow and rain and wind and sun. Yet as with all things, it remains the job of the writer to tell it new—and not so you might hold or attain the mantle of “good writer” but so that you might allow your reader a chance to see a windstorm or a spring morning as if for the first time.

And this is good news. Your readers are pulling for you. Consciously or unconsciously, your readers crave and believe in the new. Perhaps in the shadows of some worldly despair we might be lured to mutter how nothing has ever changed, how history repeats itself, how if you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all. This is not a belief; this is a complaint. This is someone crying, “Show me the world is evolving and interesting because I think I am losing interest in it.”

I feel sometimes as if it is this lonely soul to whom I am writing. Every day can feel like its own awakening as I re-believe that life is potential and not repetition, and yet it takes nothing more than a thought to slip, and in a moment we are alone with our doubt. It’s a kind of trance this pessimism, and the gift of art is to jolt the audience out of such dreams. Your readers are asking nothing less than to be reminded that no two sunsets or snowfalls have ever been the same, and that change, while frightening, is the fertile soil for all of life’s potential.

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