Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Unusual Weather Indeed

You may be wondering why I have a shot of the Cowardly Lion on my blog. After recent events, I felt it was appropriate since the Cowardly Lion is also famous for the line: "Unusual weather we're having, isn't it?"

Allow me to explain.

Yesterday morning, the phone rang somewhere around six o'clock. Being the only one up in the house, I raced to grab it, but only found the darn thing after the third ring. It’s at a moment like this when I wish we still had the old-fashioned, wall mounted model. Sure, it had a long cord that coiled up tighter than a diamond back about to strike, but at least you knew where to find it. Such is the age we live in though.

As it turned out, the call came from the school district—a recorded message that classes were delayed two hours. The reason? Icy road conditions made for unsafe travel. However, as the day progressed, the sun broke through, the temperatures climbed, and the ice melted. But then, an afternoon shower came into the area. And if that wasn’t enough, high winds swirled up a cloud of dust throughout the South Plains as well. By the end of the day, we found the highs somewhere in the low 50s and wide range of weather to go with it.

Waking up this morning, I looked at the outside temperate gauge and…

Sixteen degrees!? Tap-tap-tap. Hello? Is this thing working? As I stepped out to crank over the truck’s engine, though, a few seconds without out a coat told me everything I needed to know.

I shared it all with my wife, who shook her head and then went around the house making sure the kids were bundled up.

Thinking back, growing up in the Great Lake area, I don’t remembered days like this. When it turned cold, it usually stayed cold. And when it warmed up, you could usually count on it staying that way too. I don’t remember occasions when it would freeze, then rain, and then sand blast your home, only to freeze again the next day. Out here in west Texas, though, during the winter season it seems to be a way of life. Hot and cold. Ice and rain. Dust clouds and blue skies. As the saying goes: You don’t like the weather? Just wait a little while.

No serious complaints though. I still love west Texas, even with its unusual weather shifts.

Here is the latest on other fronts:

My novel is still in progress, with almost 70K words and thirty chapters written. The pace of writing has slowed down some since NaNoWriMo, but I’m okay with that. Along the way, I’m also doing a little research to add more realism to my scenes.

I received a rejection on one of my short stories last week. The editors didn’t give me any feedback this time—just a note that they wouldn’t be using it, and I was free to send it back out. How nice of them to let me know I was “free to send it back out.” As if the rejection wasn’t a big clue. Anyway, following the advice of Heather Sellers, I did send it out. “If a piece is rejected ten times,” she wrote, “I consider revising.” (from Page after Page, chapter 26). Now I don’t know if I’ll let a story get rejected ten times before I consider revising it, but the principal is the same. With so many editors out there, each with their own separate taste, why should I consider revising until I’ve heard the same criticism from more than one editor? So, out my darling went, off to face another panel of editors. Fingers crossed.

I hope all is going well with you my friends. Enjoy the holidays. Enjoy your families. Take a moment to count the blessings you have.

Merry Christmas!


  1. I don't think that I could cope with such rapid changes! I'm a human barometer. Each swing brings about a headache for me.
    Hope your holidays are pleasant!

  2. "With so many editors out there, each with their own separate taste, why should I consider revising until I’ve heard the same criticism from more than one editor?"

    Great point! Unless the rejection came with a specific request to revise it a certain way and re-submit it, I guess.

  3. Our weather has been changeable this week, too. Now it seems to have settled down--down to the low 20s.

    Good luck with your short story submission. I'm sure you'll find it a good home somewhere.


  4. Hey Stephen,

    What to do with a story post-rejection is always a head scratcher, particularly when there is no commentary attached. I have so many different reactions that I couldn't say that there is a pattern. Sometime I tinker. Sometimes it goes right back out, as is. Sometimes the doubt-devils swirl about until I give up and just say "screw it, it's not good enough."

    Stay warm. You can keep your East Texas weather.


  5. Laura: First, I dig the avatar. Is that a cartoon of you? Très chic. Hope you have pleasant holidays too.

    Anton: Good point. I imagine if an editor wanted me to make changes under those conditions, I would be willing to oblige. :)

    Carol: Glad that the weather has settled down for you, even if it's down in the low 20s.

    John: I don't know if the pattern will hold. It's just a philosophy I currently hold. Who knows? I may just be in denial. :)

  6. summer will be here before you know it

    merry christmas