Well, it finally happened–the first big snowfall. We got over a foot of the white stuff yesterday, making trees beautiful, roads slippery (over 200 cars were involved accidents!) and my poor vehicle impossible to find on my driveway. The snow was thick and heavy and wet, perfect for building snow forts, ramps and snowmen.
I took my pooch for a walk in the stuff and she loved every minute of it, bounding down the trails like a miniature deer. When I got her home, she had so much wet snow stuck to her fur she reminded me of the Michelin Man’s dog! I should have taken a picture but I was too busy trying to thaw the snow off her in a sinkful of warm water.
Being out in the warm yet crisp air made me really think about how all the senses give texture to our surroundings. With each step I noticed how the snowflakes felt as they hit my cheeks and melted, how the snow packed unevenly under my boots as I broke a trail, how the flakes made a dry pelting sound as they hit the fabric of my parka.
I also realized how all of this sensory information is processed through a filter of mood. Had I been in a bad one, the trail I had to break in the field would have angered me, like the snow was fighting me every step of the way, draining my strength as it clumped to my boots and soaked through my pant legs. Snow dripping down my face and on my glasses would have been a nuisance, prodding me to move faster, to hurry my dog along so I could get the whole thing over with. The sound of the snow hitting my jacket would make me feel isolated and possibly even stupid for being out there in the first place–who else would have chosen such a day to walk their dog?
Thankfully I was in a good mood, and I enjoyed the walk as much as the pooch. The trek made a good reminder that when I write, I need to slant the setting not only through the POV character’s senses, but also their current state of mind. There’s a big difference between showing a setting as it is, and showing it as it feels. Interpretation through mood adds an extra layer of texture to any scene.
Have you gone on any good walks lately?
Becca Puglisi is an international speaker, writing coach, and bestselling author of The Emotion Thesaurus and its sequels. Her books are available in five languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world. She is passionate about learning and sharing her knowledge with others through her Writers Helping Writers blog and via One Stop For Writers—a powerhouse online library created to help writers elevate their storytelling.
Mary Witzl says
I saw real, falling snow for the first time when I was 20. I’ll never forget it!
Here, we have no snow, but people are putting on their sweaters and acting as though they are cold. Back in Scotland, we are told, there is already snow — unusual for this time of year. I feel so cheated!
My husband and I went on a long walk yesterday. The lemon trees are heavy with fruit and there are oranges all over the ground — no one picks them! And the people just around the corner from us decided to slaughter three of their sheep. We had a real treat, running into them while they were doing that in their backyard…
Christina Farley says
Wow! What a picture! You really got that much snow? We got a dusting and we partied.
I would also like a little snow. Getting excited about the heater coming on is a little ridiculous.
Hey, Jude! Glad to hear from you. No publications yet, but we’re still trying!
Jax, I’m guessing from your name that you’re in Jacksonville? I live in Jupiter (south Florida)
Jaxpop, I was in Florida a few years ago and would love to go back. I love the weather down there, but might feel differently if I had to endure a tropica storm or hurricane, I suppose…
Heyjude, we’re both still trying. 🙂
PJ–That’s on our list, honest!
Zoe, I agree–that’s exactly how it is.
Gutsywriter–Thanks! I love taking photos. One day when i have more time (ha) I’d like to really get into photography.
Lakin, we’re glad you found us! Thanks for the link!
Thanks Keri. And Beth, if you want some of this snow, I’ve got a shovel with your name written all over it…
I WANT SNOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
keri mikulski :) says
And interesting observations about the mood filter. 🙂
I left snow behind with my childhood (the Adirondacks, Montreal,Buffalo, etc)- a whole bundle of mixed memories. Now I have to drive my kids to play in the snow (wonderful pristine stuff at Lake Tahoe), laughing at the ridiculousness of it but glad they can enjoy it for the weekend…and then come home! I mean,it’s great to visit, but not sure I’d want to live in it again.
I love what you’re dong on this blog, esp. the thesauri (?). Such a wonderful resource. I’m going to write more about it on on my blog and link back.
Bish …thanks for reminding me of that sound; there is something wonderful and unique between snow and sound.
Angela, I love the way you manage to give us some writing tips, even when you’re giving us an update on the weather. Thanks for that and the beautiful snow photo.
I have never even seen proper snow, so I don’t know whether or not I’m a snow person. It’s interesting what you are saying about mood: just the other day I had a walk at a beach (one of my favorites, it’s remote and has good swiming) where I went on a school camp. As I had’nt been there since the camp, this made me remember how I felt then: exausted, dehydrated and very sunburnt. Then, it was just another beach on an arduous treck along the coastline. When you are in a good mood anything can be beautiful.
PJ Hoover says
I love the snow! I miss the snow! At least one nice snow a year would be welcome, but here in Austin, it’s just not gonna happen!
I love the winter wonderland as a setting for your thesaurus (hint, hint).
Angela & Becca, would love to see you here!
that’s not really my blog but when ‘the Hiker’ left he put 2 of us on so would could post hikes after his departure. the blogging – with pics seems soooo tedious to me I don’t keep up with it.
Am just getting back to my writing after a loooong hiatus.
did either of you get published?
I moved to Florida to get away from the cold & snow. So now I’m working in Chicago for a spell – where it’s snowing Big Plans. Who needs ’em.
HeyJude–long time no see! Good to run into you. I was peeking at your blog…I bet I’ll come visit lots during the cold winter and get my tropics fix.
Adrienne, that sounds like a lovely walk. Wish I has a beach…
I love to see dogs play in snow.
We took our dog for a walk near the beach yesterday – it was windy and stormy and of course she was ecstatic over all those new smells.
Hey! Just found you guys!
I’m definitely NOT a snow person either so enjoy this tropical island I live on even more when I hear about what some of you have to contend with –
snow = a beauty yes! but better for me if only seen on paper aor a screen!
Lol, Bish–I’m not a huge fan of snow either. I do like it here though, because the temperatures tend to be quite mild overall and a lot less snowfall that what I had to deal with when I’ lived in northern British Columbia.
Kelly, thanks! Yes with snow you just have to make the best of it any way you can. when mine boys were small I had spray bottles with food coloring and water and they’d ‘paint’ the snow. 🙂
I live in the midwest so I am subjected to lots of snow. I love the way it looks (beautiful picture, by the way!), but I don’t venture out unless I have to! My kids though love to play in it! I like your comments about how your mood affects how you perceive your sensory info. That is so true!
Bish Denham says
I think I was 17 the first time I saw snow. It snowed the first night I arrived. I’ll never forget how amazed I was to realize that it made noise as it fell through all the pine trees. A continuous soft shhhhhhhhh sound. It was beautiful to hear and see.
That said…I’m not a snow person.