Ah, at last, the perfect day to get some writing accomplished has rolled around!
First, it’s cold, windy, and very gray outside. Second, I’m home alone and have the majority of my “chores” out-of-the-way. Finally, I actually have some enthusiasm about how to move forward with my novel. So after a quick check of my e-mail and blogs this morning, it’s time to sit down and get my saved manuscript opened up and apply the changes I made on the hard copy of chapter 12 of my WIP. I’ve set a sort of timetable to have 32 chapters written for my manuscript draft by the start of summer. Then, I will work through the summer months in revising, rewriting, and polishing the entire thing and have it ready to send off to the publisher by early autumn. Here’s hoping that things can proceed as planned.
While spending the day and night with my two grandsons yesterday, I re-read one of my very favorite short stories by one of my very favorite authors. “To Build a Fire,” by Jack London, has always stirred something within me when it comes to writing and creating tales of adventure with nature playing a major role. I suppose I’ve been thinking about the characters and settings and the conflict of man vs. nature in this classic story for most of this cold and snowy winter. After all, this was the snowiest February in the history of Illinois!
I mean, who wouldn’t give some thought to the lone, inexperienced man way up there in the Yukon, traveling with just a dog, in 75 degrees-below zero weather? Sometimes our weather evoked feelings of desolation during many of the frigid, wintry days we had here in February. No matter how many times I have read the story, I can’t help by sympathize with the guy who makes the mistake of building his “final” fire underneath a snow-laden spruce tree and…well, you know the rest. If not, I suggest you find a copy of this wonderful tale–perhaps London’s best–and read it. If you’ve read it before, I recommend you pick it up once more and savor those wonderful words London put down in 1908.
During my re-visitation to this story, I also saw in greater light the other big mistake the man made. No, his breaking through the snow into a hidden spring, soaking his feet, was really none of his doing. He really couldn’t be expected to know it was there. The bigger mistake he made was very similar to the kind of mistake many have made, generation after generation: Not heeding the advice of the experienced. He scoffed at what he’d been told by the old-timer at Sulphur Creek, that one should not be out traveling in weather such as this–particularly alone! Instinctively, the dog knew this. Too bad the guy didn’t! Lessons learned the hard way are usually the most costly. In this case, for the man, it was fatal.
And with those thoughts, it’s time to put down my own words and move my tale along. Thank you once again, Jack London!