Cold Snap

The cold has bitten as of today. I dressed as usual this morning and put on only a sweatshirt over my short sleeved t-shirt and long pants, somewhat to my regret. Even with my tendency to stay warm, I would have been more comfortable outside today with a scarf around my neck. It’s clear and bright though, so hopefully it will warm up a little bit, later. Otherwise, it’s going to be a mighty chilly walk home from Vic’s daycare!

The weather is turning back East as well – I spoke to my parents last night and we talked for a while about what they’re up to and their plans for Thanksgiving. My brothers will be driving in from the West together, Ted from Ohio, swinging through Pittsburgh to pick up Tom. It saddens me that this year I will be missing out on the fun and that Victor won’t get to spend any time with his uncles.

We’ll be going to a friend’s house for Thanksgiving and it promises to be a lively, fun time, but I find myself wallowing in memories of Turkey Days past and feeling out of sorts that I won’t be getting up in the morning to help my mother and other family members to cook the Big Meal. It’s a doubly bitter pill this year, because we won’t be traveling East for Christmas either. This means that I just don’t know when my brothers will get to spend time with their nephew again. He’s changed so much since last year and they’re missing out on all of his growth and development from baby into little boy.

Perhaps the cold and my out-of-sorts mood inspired me to write again this morning after leaving my poor NaNoWriMo novel to lie fallow for a week. I pulled out my notebook and scribbled down a few paragraphs, then revisited my outline and reworked it. I was trying to write in a mostly linear fashion before, but the stream-of-consciousness nature of memory kept getting in the way. I’ve decided that this isn’t a bad thing though. Especially since the point of all of this for me is simply to get the story out.

So I sat there and divided the memories up into logical chunks based on place, then wrote down topics within each place that are significant events or experiences in my life. Within those there’s plenty of room to roam around in my memories, draw out narratives and actually move back and forth within time. The locations are basically jumping off points that tie the whole together in a cohesive, somewhat linear fashion, but I’m not limiting myself to only talking about what happened in that place. It’s a framework though, that allows me to move forward from a starting point to an ending point while leaving me room to wander back and forth between those points and points in between within it.

I feel a lot better about the story now that I’ve rethought the timeline this way. I was getting wrapped up in getting the chronology correct and hitting stopping points every time I found that my memory isn’t actually all that clear about the sequence of events. I kept having to call my mother to ask her whether A happened before B and if both happened after C. If I follow themes instead of chronology, it frees me up to just write about things as I think of them instead of having to wait until we get to the right point in the chronological order.