The Canadian Writers' Collective

Writing, and writerly tangents

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Why do we write/how 'bout this weather?

By Antonios Maltezos

The weather is glorious these days, a good time to ask the question again: why do we write? It’s the question we love to pass amongst ourselves as writers. Even though there is no definitive answer, the question itself binds us together like family, a community, a village. Who cares what the answer is, so long as we can make that brief connection with someone else that’s resigned to a life hidden indoors, free of good company most of the time. We suffer together. It’s our “how ‘bout this weather” question, and I think about it more frequently when it’s beautiful outside.

Mmm, the outside… I love everything about it, the trees, mowing the lawn, picking weeds out of the garden, a warm breeze rustling the lilacs. Even standing at the end of my driveway talking to my neighbor feels like a pleasant thing to do. “How ‘bout this weather, hey?” There’s a camaraderie implied in that question.

With the lengthening days, shopping center parking lots slowly transform into opportunities for loitering. Folks will linger, glance at each other in a way that says, “I’m willing to small talk, if you are.” It feels like everyone smiles straight through June, July, and August, behaving as if they’re owed some happiness for having slogged through yet another cold season in Montreal. Even the older ladies buff up, smiling their painted smiles, cute in their shades and varnished dos, their winter scowls put away in their broom closets. People renovate and rejuvenate during the hot months. They grow fat on barbequed burgers, forgetting the pledge to look good in a bathing suit, forgetting the last winter’s ice cold grip. It’s as if they’re getting ready for hibernation, and don’t know it. It’s only by the month of December, the suicide month, when they realize the snow has already started falling again, and the worst is yet to come. I stay focused while they lose their zip trudging through the snow. I’m free of the desire to go outside in the winter, free of the guilt of having to spend a lovely afternoon cutting the grass and not writing.

So, the winter of 2005-6 is but a memory now, and I find myself asking the same question again. Why do we write? Maybe we do simply love to suffer. For heaven’s sake, it’s glorious outside. I should be sipping a beer out on the deck. I should be planning a pergola, or at least a barbeque party…

… ohmigod!

… I should get a laptop!


Blogger Tricia Dower said...

Good question, Tony. And why do YOU write? I can relate to the guilt at being outdoors and feeling you should be writing, or writing and feeling you should be taking care of the garden. The winter brings such relief from that guilt!

Thu May 11, 11:16:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger J.A. McDougall said...

On this lovely morning in Calgary, I tried to take my laptop outside to the deck but I can't get the resolution adjusted well enough to read the screen!

Thu May 11, 12:01:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger tjl said...

The other day I sat out on the Art Gallery patio (there's a trick Anna, the screen has to be pointed at a certain angle away from the sun)and wrote for an hour, then I moved to a different patio, and wrote for another hour. I love spring, and find I write much more during this season. (Oh, and it's good to have some headphones, too, so when Celine Dion is playing--I hear her more in Vancouver than I heard in Montreal--I can drown it out.) Maybe it's just me, but I sort of enjoy talking about the weather.

Thu May 11, 12:43:00 pm GMT-4  
Blogger Patricia said...

ohhhhh Antonios...this is sooo great, what a wonderful post, I drove around today with a can full of plants, I even had one, a tall one, sitting next to me in the passenger seat! we drove around, me and my flowers, it was cool....and yes, a laptop, it's the only, then, you can write outside at night???'s supposed to hit 25 here this weekend!!! it's perfect..xoxo..thanks youxoxo

Fri May 12, 03:28:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger Andrew Tibbetts said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Sat May 13, 08:07:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger Andrew Tibbetts said...

I have a laptop. I tried hauling it outside to write in the glorious sunshine. It was too healthy-feeling for me. There's something about the writing experience that needs me to be unshaven, in my underwear, in the semi-darkness with a coffee (I should probably have a whiskey, but who can afford it?). Maybe that's why I don't clean my apartment. It suits that Bukowski-feel to have it a pigsty.

Sat May 13, 08:10:00 am GMT-4  
Blogger craig said...

I always thought January was the suicide month? Or at least February... damn bleak.

I think I write because for 10 months of the year in Winnipeg it's too damn cold to do anyhting else.

Love the "grow fat on b-b-q burgers line" - mmmm burgers.

Mon May 15, 10:06:00 am GMT-4  
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