By Charlie Hodge
I think it’s safe to say summer has arrived.
At least that’s what my current physical surroundings and personal persona indicate.
My mind and body are comfortably ‘slunched’ in my back yard under a sun/rain umbrella looking out over a blustery burst of colours. (If I sit just right in this lawn chair and tilt my head at certain angles all I see is a vegetable garden with a sea of snapdragons and columbine behind – never mind the jungle everywhere else).
The sky is various hues of blue, spectacular in fact. Only a few white clouds dancing the skyline and a large thunder cloud way south of here. I am aware of this partially because I am an astute sort who appreciates and cares about our blue sky – and also because my bare feet perched up on the edge of the chair make a startling contrast.
Yup – summer in the Okanagan is good.
Mr. Sun is already cooking out another heathenry hot mid day. It’s only 10:30 a.m. yet I can feel it coming. Later this afternoon I will return to this lawn chair for a brief siesta. Right now, however, it is time to go to work.
Which means I have to sit up.
The hole situation is a Catch-22 scenario. I’d better start ‘work’ immediately because once it’s too hot outside I will want to move indoors where there is air conditioning. And going indoors screws up my way of ‘officially’ starting summer.
Today is ‘writing a column day’ at home which means I am attempting to keep my scattered self together enough to write a column and successfully make the pending deadline.
For many folks there are a number of special ‘triggers’ that indicate when summer has ‘officially arrived’. First time in the boat, swimming, water skiing or just plain sun tanning at the beach. For others summer officially arrives in mid or late spring with the first cooking on the barbecue or having a cold beverage in the backyard with the partner or neighbour.
For me it is writing my ‘first column of the summer’ while sitting in the back yard. Writing in the yard being the key.
Some folks think writing a column is simple, It’s just easy peasy stuff – sit down and hammer out a perfect entertaining or informative column in half an hour. In fact it is very stressful and time consuming. Writing a column is not easy to begin with but to take the gong show outdoors is pushing it.
There is a craft to writing a column – a tad of a strange process I suppose.
First and foremost a writer needs the ‘right space’ in which to create.
Hmm warm, sunshiny, covered deck in outdoor garden with blue sky – check. This must be the spot.
Next the right tools for the job: Let see laptop computer, table, mouse pad and mouse – check.
Note pad and pen – for old time’s sake.
Normally I would have a drink in my hand in this kind of heat. If I was not so tired and lazy I’d get one right now. Besides, I’m busy writing my column. I have work to do here.
Aside from a good location and the right tools a column needs an idea. A subject matter.
This is usually the problem. Hmm, what to write about?
The trick is to have a mixed bag of ideas so that each week the article is different. I cannot just write about politics or entertainment or mushy warm stories about gardens, cats, Tez, friends or grandkids. Nor can I write something similar to something I wrote about recently.
Well it’s been a few weeks so I suppose I could delve into hockey and justify it with the biggest move the Maple Leafs have made since drafting Auston Mathews by signing free agent star John Tavares last week.
But no, Tez will give me hell for ‘another hockey column’.
I could pick on Trump again but that would get reader Mike all upset again.
Either way I had better get on with getting an idea cause once it’s too hot and I move indoors for air conditioning there is that horrible seductive allure of the imagination swallower the evil TV. If anything can kill a good inspiration or column it’s the TV.
Hmm? What to write about?
On the other hand TV it is a two edged sword . Often when the wonder well of inspiration goes dry I will click on the old tube and see what is there. That usually where the Trump rants come from. Of course I could always wait until the evening news for an update inspiration.
That might be a good idea.
Maybe I can do a little work out here in the yard instead and then have a cold drink and enjoy the hot weather now that is close to noon. Then I could take that siesta cause, well, I am getting tired out here in the sun thinking about stuff.
Besides I may have to go inside now because there is too much glare on my computer screen from the sun to write.
So much for summer officially starting today.