Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Seeking inspiration

You can always tell when my newspaper column is due because I stop blogging for a few days while I scramble to come up with some topic that will appeal to the readership of this small town.  This is the fourth year that Liz, my co-writer, and I have been producing the Crofton column for The Chemainus Valley Courier, and when you live in a little village of perhaps 2500 people (including those in the more rural outskirts), with virtually no services, so few stores you can count them on one hand, no bank, no hardware, no drugstore, no doctors or dentists, no high school, no gangs, and very few drug addicts or criminals - well, sometimes coming up with interesting stuff to write is a challenge.  Most often, we talk about the beautiful parks and seawalk, nature, birds, fun events like the annual fishing derby or polar bear swim or Christmas parade and sing-a-long, or we interview an old timer with an interesting tale to tell or an artisan with a unique talent to share.

But when you've been writing a column for several years (and both of us contributed to a quarterly Crofton newsletter, now defunct, before that), it can sometimes be hard to come up with something fresh and new.

Liz and I usually take turns with the primary responsibility for writing the column, the other person offering suggestions, doing editing and proofreading, and supplying much-needed prods as the deadline looms closer. And it is my month to write.  And the deadline is the end of the day tomorrow - oops, probably today by the time most of you read this.  (Hmmm, Liz, maybe some of your amazing chocolate quinoa cake would give me the prod I need!).

So that's why I'm sitting at the computer at 11:00 pm blathering away on the blog -  to get the writing part of my brain in gear and hopefully find inspiration for the column.

In the hope of finding that inspiration on a typical foggy grey day in January (Cartoonist Lynn Johnston once referred in a comic strip to February as "that four month period between January and March" - here on the island, it is January that stretches to four months), I wandered down to the beach with Shiloh one morning this week.  Actually, we wandered all around town and then down to the beach - for a dog who is nearly sixteen, that girl can hike!

C'mon, mom, let's see what we can find
to write about!

We looked to the north west

and to the south east

And to the southwest..
but couldn't find a story.
 I came up with a few ideas as I watched the dozens of ducks swimming in the bay, a heron on a piling, and a clump of fresh green mossy grass growing on top of an old piece of wood that supports the RV park's wharf.

Two llittle ducks went out one day
Over the hills and far away....

Heron on a piling

Under the wharf
See the grass on the cross beam?

Springing forth from wood

Shiloh thought perhaps I could write about all the logs that have broken free from a boom on its way to the log sort at Shoal Island - they may be a hazard to local boaters, but they do have a pretty red colour and some interesting chains and holes.

This is interesting, mom!

Log and chain
(photo taken in a different season!)

I came home with a few ideas, and before I could get them onto paper,  Bonnie phoned to suggest we take Eddie and Keaghan to Swallowfield.  So off we went.  Not too much exciting there (we were both tired, and the river was high and fast, so we didn't go all the way to the estuary) - though Keaghan did spot some other people far far across the fields:
I see something!
I hear something!

And when we returned to the parking lot, the old tree above our cars held this guy:

Be nice or I'll poop on your car!

He was completely unruffled by our appearance or by the dogs, and calmly watched us as we got in the cars and headed for home.

I'm watching you.

..where I again sat down at the blank screen and thought: what the heck am I going to write about?
Oh well, there's still a few more hours.


Anonymous said...

I know you will come up with something interesting Jean. You and Liz always do and I will look forward to your story.


EvenSong said...

I do my best work after procrastinating to within an inch of the deadline!

Anonymous said...

As is Keaghan isn't tall enough...he has to stand on top of a rock!
Shiloh is certainly looking healthier under your care, Jean. Her fur is more colourful and lusterous. You are taking very good care of her.
Thank you for the lovely pictures.