|Stock photo of two amazing
hockey players enjoying the weather.
It has been a cornerstone of my postings, both here and on Facebook. Weather is all around us and more now than ever it is a part of just about every virtual and real-time conversation I have. Mom will not talk to me unless we address the barometric pressure in London and L.A. To further the infiltration of weather patterns in my life, I am now tracking the climate that I, myself, created in a fictional story. During the revision process, I am making sure that my prose describes the “ablest weather that can be had” and that the conditions jive from chapter to chapter so as not to disrupt the reader with poor quality, amateur weather. My goodness this weather business is tedious. On the one hand I want my character to see his breath, but on the other I want him to sweat. I guess I better get a jacket involved. Regardless, I wonder, whether weather is really worth it?
|I didn’t mention her once today.|
Mark Twain didn’t think so in The American Claimant. It was whilst reading the passage where he promised to lay off the use of weather that I unceremoniously crowned him as my favorite author (so much so that I watched the entire lifetime special on him, which I think is 18 hours long). I have included this passage below, and though I think the best writer in American history was on to something, the fact that he vowed not to use weather as a fictional tool in his book was actually a strong use of it after all (which he was no doubt aware).
Mark Twain’s strong opinion on the importance of weather is further exemplified in his most famous, yet unauthenticated quote, that “the coldest winter [he] ever saw was the summer [he] spent in San Francisco.” He has also said that “if you don’t like the weather in New England, just wait a few minutes.” And finally, my favorite, he stated that “everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.”
Touché. In my humble opinion, Mark Twain, in his infinite and celestial wisdom sealed the deal for wannabe-writers and conversationalists around the globe, talk of weather is here to stay and there aint nobody gonna do a thing about it (I know, for some just reading that will be painful, but that is kind of the point). Back to revision…
by Mark Twain
THE WEATHER IN THIS BOOK.
No weather will be found in this book. This is an attempt to pull a book through without weather. It being the first attempt of the kind in fictitious literature, it may prove a failure, but it seemed worth the while of some dare-devil person to try it, and the author was in just the mood.
Many a reader who wanted to read a tale through was not able to do it because of delays on account of the weather. Nothing breaks up an author’s progress like having to stop every few pages to fuss-up the weather. Thus it is plain that persistent intrusions of weather are bad for both reader and author.
Of course weather is necessary to a narrative of human experience. That is conceded. But it ought to be put where it will not be in the way; where it will not interrupt the flow of the narrative. And it ought to be the ablest weather that can be had, not ignorant, poor-quality, amateur weather. Weather is a literary specialty, and no untrained hand can turn out a good article of it. The present author can do only a few trifling ordinary kinds of weather, and he cannot do those very good. So it has seemed wisest to borrow such weather as is necessary for the book from qualified and recognized experts–giving credit, of course. This weather will be found over in the back part of the book, out of the way. See Appendix. The reader is requested to turn over and help himself from time to time as he goes along.