Friday, December 09, 2005

Writing through the Cold

This is Texas. The thermometer on my truck said thirteen degrees this morning. Ouch. Cold weather is so depressing that I sink into a funk every year when it arrives. This year, it arrived with a vengeance.

The power went out in much of my iced over county Wednesday night and mine was one of 3200 homes that had no heat. So, my family huddled in the den by the fireplace and listened to the blizzard of sleet do its best to crack a window. It succeeeded.

Now, when I say family, I'm referring not only to my sons of varying degrees of height and foot putridness, but also to an assortment of animals including one cat, the dog, a small blue fish and a horse. Well, sort of. Sculley (yeah, I named her during the X-Files days) is half Collie and half whatever jumped the fence to visit her mother. I am convinced it was an ancient Caspian horse with exceptional jumping ability.

Sculley lives in a small corral by the barn in the back. She's my walking/running partner. Watching her run must be something like watching those wild horses run along the beaches of Assateague Island. I'd like to go one year and watch the annual pony penning. Anyway, I only just discovered that Sculley is a notorious couch hog and thank goodness she likes Tic Tacs.

So, that's how we stayed all through the night and through yesterday, even after the power returned. We drank hot chocolate and ate leftover homemade chicken noodle soup. Then I sat in my late father-in-law's late third cousin's late mother's heirloom rocking chair and tried to write the beach portions of my latest screenplay. Don't try it. You can't write about a beach while shivering.

But every time Sculley jumped from the sofa to the kitchen (yeah, that far), my mind kept going back to those remarkable horses swimming across the channel. Naturally I was thinking how cold that water must have been and by the end of the day, I had an outline of a Chincoteague story. Oh sure, it's been done. My kids have all read the adventures of Misty. But my story is not about a horse. What's it about? Yeah, you think you've figured it out. Nope. Not a dog either.

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