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Loving - BRRR- What Is


Years ago, when I was a junior at Trinity College in Vermont, I took a drama class. The professor, Hugh Cronister, told us on the very first day that the big old drafty gym where this particular class met tended to be hotter than you-know-where on warm days and colder than Dante’s version of the same place during the winter.

"I don’t want to hear a single complaint from anyone in this class," he said. "There is nothing I can do about it and nothing you can do about it, so we will simply go about our business ignoring the sweat or the goose bumps. Got it?"

We all nodded, but just to prove he really meant it, he continued, "If I hear a single complaint from you, you will lose one point for that day."

The next time we met, the gym was sweltering. Class started, and one student grumped about the temp. Sure to his word, Cronister walked over to his notebook, looked at the student, and made a mark in the book.

Nobody, to the best of my recall, ever complained about the gym environment again throughout that semester. At least, not within hearing range of Hugh Cronister.

Now, here we are in the middle of a Georgia cold spell that I might have laughed about when I lived in Vermont. "You call 15 degrees cold? Ha!"

Well, yes, I do call 15 degrees cold, particularly since the houses here in the south are built to withstand the heat, but not anything close to frigid.

So, what does this have to do with writing?

A lot of things.

  1. When it’s cold, a deadline is still a deadline. Put on another layer and slip on your wrist warmers so your hands don’t freeze to the keyboard. Then, write.

  2. There’s nothing, short of a complete home remodel, that will prevent the drafts. I’ve already caulked and done every DIY thing I could think of. So, move the laptop to a different table in a different corner. Then, write.

  3. Nobody’s going to give me a demerit if I wait a little later to start my writing on a cold morning, but those characters of mine clamor around in my head, and if I don’t get what they’re saying written down, I’m liable to forget it. That may not be a demerit, but it feels like one. So, write.

This all sort of reminds me of Byron Katie’s book Loving What Is. As I understand it, she moved to the windiest town in some state out west. She spent ten years complaining about the wind (like she was going to stop it????) before she woke up, decided to love whatever she couldn’t change, and came up with four questions that could change anyone’s life.

So, I’ve decided that Georgia isn’t Antarctica, and "cold" is a relative term; that I can change the way I react to the cold, and my writing will progress (or not) depending on those reactions; and that I know, deep inside me, how losing myself in my writing generates an inner fire.

Now, who cares if it’s cold?

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