I just got back from a week in Portland, Oregon “senior-sitting” my 90-year-old uncle. The visit was bittersweet. The “sweet” was spending time with him. I adore everything about the man. The “bitter” was seeing how much his health has declined since I last saw him, just two short months ago.
The other “bitter” part was the weather.
I left 75-degree weather in Sacramento to endure the rain, gray, gloom, and doom Portland handed me along with my bag off the luggage carousel. I was a bit miffed about it. My sister, a former Californian turned staunch Oregonian, told me they have special powers to make it rain if anyone from California deigns to cross their border. They say it is to keep us smug-about-our-fantastic-weather Cali-folks from moving there. Here is some news for you Oregonians. You can keep it. It rains every time I visit!
Aside from hanging out with my really cool uncle, the yucky weather gave me plenty of time to write. What the hell else was I going to do? I whined about the Portland weather in an email to my friend who lives in England and he replied with:
“Portland sounds like England. Blissful misery. I lost all respect for Shakespeare when he uttered the question, “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” Clearly Shakespeare’s England didn’t have the same weather it has now because if he was looking to compare anyone to a summer’s day that would be the ultimate insult – in modern terms it translates to “You’re cold, wet, and boring.”
I got to thinking. Why is it that some of our best and most prolific writers are from gloomy places? Let’s reflect. Dickens and Shakespeare wrote in the fog of England. Ken Kesey and Beverly Cleary (love her) of children’s book fame hail from rainy Oregon. We also have Yeats, C.S. Lewis, Shaw, Swift, and Oscar Wilde from Ireland. New England gave us Poe, Hawthorne, Longfellow, and Dickinson. Need I say more about gloom and brilliance?
Maybe I would be a better writer if it rained more in California. However, I would rather write in the sunshine than in a rainstorm.
There have been many recent posts posing questions such as: “Where do you write?” “Can you tolerate noise when your write?” etc.
Here is a new question. What kind of weather is most conducive to your writing day?
Give me a beautiful day in the pine-scented mountains.