Storm

Today’s #CleanWIP theme and collaboration is Storm. [More info]

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Snow

Photo by Alain Audet (Pixabay)

Today’s #CleanWIP theme and collaborative article is Snow. [More info]

I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says “Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.” And when they wake up in the summer, Kitty, they dress themselves all in green, and dance about–whenever the wind blows. ~ Lewis Carol “Through the Looking Glass”

Something for the authors. This Twitter thread from filmmaker, Christopher McQuarrie is about screenwriting and it has nothing to do with snow. We feel it applies to authors of every sort and is totally worth the time it takes to read. (Maybe save it for a snow day if you must.)

Many of these authors and a few others joined together for today’s second article, Character Names. It’s a sweet collaboration we hope you don’t miss.

Lightning

Today’s #CleanWIP theme and collaborative article is Lightning. [More info]

Photo by George Alexandru (slightly altered for use here)

“The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is the difference between the lightning and the lightning bug.” ~ Mark Twain

Lightning would be so romantic if it would just keep its distance from everything important, including all living creatures. Of course we all know it doesn’t. All too often lightning ignites fires, damages homes and other structures, destroys appliances… sometimes it even kills.
The earliest scary lightning story I can think of happened when I was perhaps ten years old. While swimming in an in-ground pool, lightning struck close enough that I felt a slight tingle in the water similar to the sensation of sticking a 9-volt battery to one’s own tongue. (Wasn’t everyone their older brother’s battery tester? No? Hmm.)
I recall another close call in my early to mid teens. It was much closer, actually. I was watching TV with my dad while Mom was at the kitchen sink when all of a sudden and with a loud blended crackle and pop, a bolt of blue came from an outlet directly behind the television and struck the sink just as Mom took one step back from it.
I know there were many other times lightning was closer than I like it to be. I live in Florida. Some have called it the lightning capital of the world though the age of the Internet has shown everything—including this claim—is debatable.
Undoubtedly, the strangest lightning occurrences I’ve witnessed were during tornadoes. I’ve been in and near many, especially since February of 1999. I didn’t move. Perhaps they did.
Only some of the tornadoes arrived with lightning, but the lighting that came with those that did was unlike any lightning I’ve ever experienced outside of a tornado. Instead of booms of thunder, there were only extremely fast clicks and crackles; the flashes were like flashes of a strobe light at a dance party or the local disco. (Give it time. Disco music will make a comeback, I can feel it.)
This article seems it might tolerate one lightning fast tale. This occurred only a half-dozen years ago and it was among the most scary—holding its own with those during the tornadoes.
Boom! (Scared yet? No?) About three seconds later, another boom, this one louder and undeniably much closer than the first. I begin to count. One Mississ—BOOM! Shaken, I begin to count again. One—BOOM! And another. BOOM! I lie flat on the floor on my belly, now considering how soldiers must feel when in a war zone under fire by heavy artillery. A final approaching BOOM, quite deafening and then about two seconds later a BOOM further away, but obviously following the same line of travel.
I lie flat another couple minutes and finally get the nerve to get up. About twenty minutes later, I hear sirens of fire trucks and getting louder with each passing second. Roughly a minute later, they’re slowing in front of my home then turning onto the small private road at the edge of my yard. Turns out the final approaching BOOM struck a cousin’s barn less than a thousand feet from me and had pretty well burned it down before it became apparent to other neighbors what had happened.
But it sure seemed closer.

By Earl Chinnici
Today’s lightning theme seemed a great reason to work on my first draft of a work-in-progress currently titled “Fifty Close Calls.” If these collaborative articles have also helped motivate you to add words to a work-in-progress, I’d love to hear from you. Check the contact page for the latest info.

February 22, 2014 – Lightning exploded the side of a tree and propelled several shards of wood into the ground in multiple places, the farthest discovered piece being about fifty feet away from the base of the struck tree. The sticks forming the V (an X when viewed closer) in the background of this photo are also two pieces of the same tree. Others nearby were not photographed.

Rain

Today’s #CleanWIP theme and collaborative article is Rain. [More info]

We are excited to announce today the opening of our CleanWIP Magazine storefront. We’ve designed several awesome products already and have many more planned.

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Cycling under the autumn rain.

A post shared by JP – Pedestrian Reflections (@pedestrian.photographer) on

While it’s true that some things smell better than others do, it’s nice to be able to smell a distant rain. It’s also nice to enjoy the smell of frangipani without a burning cigarette or an ashtray full of butts nearby. I shudder when I think of all the butts I used to smell. ~ Earl Chinnici (from Maybe You Should Move Those Away From You)

Wind / Windy

Today’s #CleanWIP theme and collaborative article is Wind (the breezy kind). [More info]

“When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” ~ Henry Ford

Being a Floridian fifty years, I’m no stranger to wind. So it seems to me I should be able to write so much about it, on demand even, but I’m finding it difficult. I began to write yesterday while still being affected by post-tropical storm Nestor. I wrote two paragraphs and stared at them about the span of half an hour then discarded them so swiftly as though I’d suddenly realized they were infected with a highly contagious pathogen. Why would anyone want to read this?
I tried again and achieved similar results.
A third time I began anew and only made it through two sentences before being disgusted by the way I arranged the words. Perhaps I am tired, I thought. So I slept.
As I young child, I recall days with family flying kites on a gentle breeze from the schoolyard. Had my wind-related experiences stayed in the neighborhood of kites and pinwheels and gentle ocean breezes, perhaps it would be easier to write about wind today. But then, how could I ever hope to convey the differences between the center of a hurricane and the center of a tornado had I not been intimate with both?
Minutes after I rose and with great determination, I attempted this article once more. Only minutes later, that disheartening realization of failure set in yet again.
Anyone near me knows of the anxiety I now feel, but how could one topic cripple me to this point where words will not flow?
But isn’t that how it often goes and with nearly any work-in-progress? When it comes to matters of the mind, a work might be ‘in progress’ quite a long time.
Perhaps I am tired.
Perhaps tomorrow the words will flow freely.
Perhaps this tale isn’t so much about wind as it is about writing and about those spaces between words. ~ Earl Chinnici