Monday, November 6, 2023

Doom of Darkness Time

 Q: The days are growing shorter: do the seasons affect your writing schedule, or ability/preferences, in other ways?

-from Susan

The question is complicated by the fact that several major holidays fall within the Doom of Darkness Time, which for sure affect my writing schedule. It’s hard to keep an eye on the turkey while batting out the daily word count. Buying and decorating the tree is a two-day total loss, and since I host Christmas Day for my extended family, most of the week before is shot. Then there are the holiday lunches that, honestly, suck up most of a day each. Not that I’m complaining. Anything to distract me from the fact that it gets dark too damn early!

My rough schedule is to write 500 to 1,000 words in the afternoon, but wait! If the afternoon is now only a few hours, I feel like the daylight’s already fading at 4, which is when I might be getting into the zone. 

Then, setting aside the discombobulations to my professional life, there’s the damper it puts on my interior mental state. Now that the kids are grown and scattered, the rush from mid-November to present-opening Christmas morning is not filled with holiday music and twinkling lights so much as twinges of regret and what could be a wee bit of self-pity if I didn’t consciously bat it away. Finding non-plastic, beautiful, creative presents for sons and grandchildren was a challenge I loved. With the youngest grandson now in college, cash is definitely the preferred gift. After all, how could I possibly know which electronic thing is the coolest, fits with their other electronic equipment? And no one wants slippers.

So, yes, you could say I am affected by this season. The best part is that, even if imperceptibly, more light trickles in starting the day after the Winter Solstice. Oddly, that day is the beginning of the defined winter season, which sounds ominous to light-lovers, but it also denotes the darkest day of the year. It will get better, a promise we have to take on faith for awhile, but by the end of January, yes! More light.


Please, if you’re still building your Christmas list, add books. And, ahem, please note my first ch√Ęteau mystery is out in the more affordable paperback later this month and can be pre-ordered, and all three of the re-released Dani O’Rourke books are handsome paperbacks too. I have cats to feed.



Dietrich Kalteis said...

Yes, books are better gifts than slippers. And if it's any consolation, Susan, at least you aren't likely to get any snow during the Doom of Darkness Time.

Susan C Shea said...

Well, I guess it is, Dietrich, although here in the SF Bay Area, we love driving 4 hours plus to get to Tahoe in the snow, so that's different from when I lived in NY State and snow = shoveling, chains, slow mo spinouts...