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How can it be that we’re running the air conditioner full blast on a Monday and by Friday night my bodily temperature sensor demands that nice warm corn bags be placed in the bed before my pajama-clad self slides between the sheets? Well, it’s simple–I live in Southern California. Sometimes I think Southern California is a state unto itself, with weather patterns not duplicated anywhere else.

On nights like these I tend to cry that I’m freezing, but that isn’t exactly true. What I actually mean to convey is that the outside temperature, as evidenced by our very accurate thermometer, has reached the 50-degree mark and possibly even passed that benchmark by a point or two on its downward path. Around here that’s enough to declare it (almost) officially winter. If we didn’t have a little cold snap like this we’d never get in the mood for Christmas spending, and the whole economy would collapse.

One of the things that tends to happen when the air gets cold and the ground gets damp is a sudden increase in the amount of writing I do. Old joints find it harder to get down and work in the garden unless they’re nicely sun-warmed, and it becomes quite easy to decide that I really need to catch up on my blog or finish that story that never quite ended. I open all the window blinds and delight in the crisp, bright autumn-y landscape, but I do it from the comfort of my sunroom, where I can sit with a pad and paper and a cup of cappuccino–and a corn bag in my lap–and just wait for inspiration to strike.

Creative inspiration is a funny thing. Once in a while a phrase will pop into my mind and by the time it makes its way to paper, another has followed it, and one more. In no time at all I find the paper filled with nearly illegible scribblings that sound so good upon reading that I’m forced to copy them into the computer immediately so the great writing won’t be lost. These wonderful pieces seldom turn into stories, I’m afraid. Too often, if I try to glue some semblance of a plot to the ramblings, the whole thing deteriorates into a forced and ugly little work that has no chance of ever living up to the promise of those first words.

In this I’m not alone. It seems that there are a whole lot of folks out there who can come up with a terrific narrative hook, a sentence or paragraph that catches the reader and keeps him wanting more. Sadly, there are also a whole lot of folks out there who can not come up with the “more” to save their souls. Most of the time, I have to include myself in that group.

Do you like my blog? Fantastic! It pleases me to think my words strike a chord in other readers. Do you “Like” my blog? Even better! Positive reaction always warms the heart just as my corn bag warms my chilly body. And if you are that rare person who is running around with a million plots in your head but can’t seem to find the perfect words to get started, you just let me know. I’ll grab my pencil and my cappuccino and see what I can do for you.

I’ll see you again, after the commercial.

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