It’s Complicated

By Julie, from Snowmagedon, formerly known as Somerville

view from Somerville
My current view.

I have written this blog post three times. First time was about plotting. Second time was about character development. Neither of these topics inspired me to finish the post. Because all I can think about is snow. More precisely, the 11.3 more inches Boston needs to break the all time record for snowiest winter. We are currently tied for second snowiest winter, but with a bit of snow due tonight, we’ll move into #2. But I want to be #1.

This should in no way indicate that I am enjoying this snowy winter. I live in the city, and rely on walking and the MBTA to get places. Neither is easy. Commutes take twice as long. Walking down sidewalks means navigating narrow paths etched between buildings and seven foot walls of snow. If someone hasn’t shoveled, you need to walk into the street, and hope the traffic jam doesn’t unclog before you can get back on the sidewalk a block down. Even if I decided to drive places, there’s no where to park. Side streets are clogged with lumps of snow and ice that barely resemble the cars that are buried underneath. Honestly, we have no where to put another foot of snow.

But that foot will make this a record breaking winter. So I want both things–to break the record, and for no more snow. I am comfortable living with this contradiction. Most of my life exists in the complicated zone.

I blame it on being a writer. Part of creating an interesting character is showing her motivations. Some of them are in conflict with one another, and require either a choice to be made, or a compromise with the conflict. Certainly writing a crime novel requires wrestling with complications, highlighting some, misdirecting interest in others.

The younger me did not embrace complicated. I thought everything required making a choice. As I’ve gotten older, I realize that complicated is interesting. That sometimes you can’t choose, or don’t want to. That complicated is preferable to flat.

And so, I root for another foot of snow, even when the idea fills me with despair.

What can I say? I’m complicated.

20 Thoughts

  1. It’s complicated, all right! The North Shore, where I live, has really gotten hit with the snows. If I do get out and drive, the piles at the corners are too tall to see around. The piles in my yard and driveway are over my head, so it’s impossible to throw more snow up there. But at least it isn’t the city. And I hope we break the record, too. ;^)

  2. I hope we break the record too, but this w/e weather report says probably ice/rain. Those would play havoc with everything. So this time I’m hoping snow.

  3. Hear, hear for #1! Something to talk about for years to come. Big snows make me giddy, but I know I’m lucky: I work from home; I don’t have to be anywhere else, so the car can stay buried in the driveway; I live in a sturdy old house that has already weathered the biggest storms (i.e., the Hurricane of 1938), and we had the roof replaced a year or two ago; and all my modern systems are chugging along just fine (and I have plenty of blankets, flashlights, oil lamps, etc. if needed). But I don’t rub it in to those people who have to get out there and try to get to work. My word to them: don’t blame everything on the MBTA, and drive slowly on the roads!

  4. Someone just posted on FB that Niagara Falls is frozen over. I’ve been there a couple of times and up to Niagara on the Lake. The fall are astonishing to see, and of course all of the people are lovely and polite. I would love to see the falls frozen over. Field trip, anyone?

  5. This came at the perfect time, Julie as I’m wrestling with something Sarah is conflicted about in book three. Good luck with all of that snow. It’s the first time since we moved in July of 2010 that I’m grateful not to be living in New England.

    1. You aren’t missing anything. Plus, if there is a T shirt once we break the record, we’ll get you one. Character conflict is tricky–we have to walk the line between making the character honest/keeping the reader engaged and exasperating everyone. I know you’ll navigate the waters well.

  6. I hear you. I enjoy our nice weather, but we do really need rain. I’m praying for rain while enjoying sunshine. But I’m also praying that the rain they are predicting for this weekend don’t materialize until Monday since I’m supposed to be at Disneyland all weekend.

    See, it’s not just you and snow.

    Here’s hoping you don’t get snow/break the all time snowiest record.

  7. Sorry, Julie. I’m hoping Boston breaks the record. That’s probably wrong of me but, you know, it’s a record! And I’m like Sheila, working from home so I don’t have to go anywhere. I’ve got a fully stocked pantry, batteries, a woodstove, and a generator. Plus a strong husband and teenage son who can shovel me out while I continue to write. Life’s pretty good, even snowbound.

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