I’ve always been an ardent reader of Sherlock Holmes stories and it’s all because of the London fog. Growing up on the flat plains of the Texas Panhandle, there were few occurrences of fog, although we did have occasional dreary, cloudy, rain-sodden days. After soaking up some of the London climate through the mysteries, what I yearned for was the exceedingly damp, dark and always foreboding fog that Holmes and Watson had to plunge into when hot on the trail of deadly criminals.
That may be why I find Fall in New Mexico to be such a terrible time to write. I have in my mind that real writing, especially of mysteries, is best done while sitting deep in a tall-backed, overstuffed, winged armchair in a darkened room next to a roaring fire while a howling storm of rain and snow is battering the windows. In the Holmes tradition, the densest fog makes for the finest crimes.
So here I am, ready to batten down the hatches against the outside world and focus my words on describing the darkest faces of humanity, and it is a gloriously sunny day outside. We’re having wonderfully mild, warm, dry, windless, bright days of unending sun, while the mountainsides are covered with the colors of autumn. We’re past the height of the aspen yellows, but even the remnants are still painting the countryside with blankets of colors. No one in his right mind would want to squander a day like this by being inside.
Thus am I stymied in my creativity. It will soon be November, my mind is prepped for winter and all I get is short sleeves and summer. I’ve begun a new story that starts with the pain and depression of patients in a tuberculosis sanatorium and I just can’t get it to sound right. The warm sunshine coming through my window wants them to go outside and play volleyball or something.
Perhaps my time is best spent reading.
I was in London a couple of years ago, by the way. It rained a couple of times but I never got the fog that I wanted. My only victory for literature was finding magnificent growths of wisteria (one of the Holmes stories was located at Wisteria Lodge). I guess I’ll have to go back when the weather is worse, which is something that only a writer would want to do.
Don Willerton has been a reader all his life and yearns to write words like the authors he has read. He's working hard at it and invites others to share their experiences.