I plan the titles of these “sessions” (sessions? from Latin sedo, sedere to sit) –

well, I for one am sitting down, at my laptop, facing due west as it happens, with the attached house – in the terrace-of-three – between me and my view of Ben Horn –

I plan them [sentences as well as titles] in a rather random way, a bit like what the weather throws at us, up at 58 degrees north, although behind the randomness there’s a deeper pattern of air currents and oceanic currents; cycles of tides. day and night, moons and planets, suns and stars, galaxies and nebulae…

Am I speaking of weather, or of creativity, or of life cycles?

“I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now“, as Judy Collins sang so poignantly throughout my teens, and still sings today – at 81 – a role model for my future).

Brain dump

(which we needn’t ever share):

In your ThoughtBook, write out and complete these as many times as you wish, without a second thought:

What’s my weather like today? …

What might my weather be like tomorrow? …

What changes in my weather do I look forward to? …

If you enjoy doodling, illustrate your pages with weather symbols of your choice!

Then

in your ThoughtBook write what you are feeling just now (in colour, if you like)

  • just single words, like “smiling” or “hurting” or “thinking”
  • keep going and let them fall onto the page like windfall apples

I offered this exercise as part of a class supported by the wellbeing charity Arts and Minds in autumn 2017, as part of my first public outing as a writing tutor. We met in a room at the Michaelhouse Centre, an inspirational church conversion in the centre of Cambridge.

And that’s where, after Brain Dump, and a time for shaking out. relaxing and soothing our own writing hands, we did this indoor laundry:

Blowing away the cobwebs – by hanging out the washing

You will need: a piece of yarn, string, ribbon, cord, long enough for you to rig up an impromptu indoor washing line. (Please do this with all due respect for safety of yourself, others, pets etc!)

Pegs or paper clips

Coloured pens.

Pieces of paper, about A6 will do. Can use newpaper, used envelopes, if thick pens / crayons / chalks available.

Optional: cut paper into shapes (like the clothes such as paper dolls might wear, or shapes representing weather types, moods etc)

On your pieces of paper write as many of the words as you feel OK with “voicing” – one word per” garment/sheet” and as big or as small as you want – and then make a ritual of hanging them in the “winds of change”, to air for a few minutes or hours.

You can photograph your washing line if you would like to keep a record of this impermanment cluster of moods. Then you can recycle, compost, or burn them in a fire pit.

Now cast your mind back to any books you’ve read, or films you’ve seen, in which a particular weather event forms an important context for the development of the plot. Jot down some key descriptive words

Or where the character’s “internal weather” is reflected in the actual meteorological conditions. What would happen if the weather turned out to do something opposite to what is going on in the mind?

‘Rain at night’ by Helen Hoyt, from ‘A Little Treasury of Modern Poetry’
(1947) Routledge and Kegan Paul

For example, I thought of my internal weather feeling “hesitant” this morning. How would that have interacted with a flash bang wallop of a thunderstorm? Would I have shrunk under a dripping tree, or made a rush for a drier shelter? Would the liveliness of the pyrotechnics have woken me from my torpor?

(As it was, I went to bed for the afternoon, on an overcast day. When I was awoken by the phone, it was seven o’clock and tippling with rain. By nine o’clock I sat in the little conservatory facing north west, watching the sunset and enjoying another phone call in which we talked about Lammas growth on oak trees, as you do…)

Do you have any vivid recollections of deluges or thunderstorms from childhood? Or of a time of great drought, real or imaginary? Or of the hardest frost, meanest blizzard, – or the most forgiving dew at dawn? Go, write.

Appreciation

Today I am grateful for:

~

~

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Further Resources

Lucky dip:

Select a word from this assemblage on a theme of weather:

blizzardmistcloudglare
drizzleshowershinedust
hailscorchhumidpuddle
drenchthundergalehaze
  • Now write down as many words as you can that rhyme with it
  • Share your word-clusters and add any further rhymes from others
  • Explore / play with any poetry that emerges from your cluster

I had intended to introduce you to some weather poems here. Since I am feeling under-the-weather, I open up that to you – to share links, or the poems themselves, with us here.

Have a good week, and enjoy what shelters you have available, from the sum, the rain, or the vicissitudes of your own weather patterns.

Up Glen Loth, Sutherland Copyright Kathy Labrum McVittie 2 August 2020