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No Rain & How to Write Without Looking at Your Fingers

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No Rain & How to Write Without Looking at Your Fingers

Is it weird that I want it to rain? I was expecting lots of rain when I moved to Seattle last July, and although I was nervous about getting Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.), I was almost looking forward to the gloom. Long strings of rainy days meant that I could hunker down in my cozy little apartment and do lots of reading and writing.

But I was lied to. We’ve all been lied to. Because Seattle is a beautiful, sunny city.

I think there is some sort of a conspiracy going on in which Seattleites try to convince the rest of the country that the city is rainy and undesirable, when in fact, the opposite is true. I see the sun more often than the rain, and when the sun is out, the snow-capped mountains loom behind the glittering waters of Puget Sound, and hundreds of sailboats dot Lake Union, just down the hill from my house.

It’s hard to stay inside on the computer with all that beauty going on. Not only do I feel guilty for not enjoying the weather, I am physically antsy being in the apartment. I’m not blaming the lack of rain on my low productivity this past month….but this is a challenge I’m currently facing.

Photo: Picture I took on my walk today.

Picture I took on a walk last week.  See Mt. Rainier, aka “the mountain” in the distance.  Even the name of the mountain (“rain-ier”) is trying to make you think it rains a lot here.  

Speaking of sunny weather, yesterday I started learning the Blind Melon song “No Rain” on the guitar. At first it was impossible for me to strum and sing the chorus at the same time. Eventually, however, I figured out that I could do it (somewhat) if I didn’t look at my fingers.

As a beginning player, I am always looking at my fingers. I’m not familiar enough with the guitar to know instinctively where the right strings and frets are. At least, that’s what I thought. I thought I wouldn’t be able to play the chords without looking at my left hand. But as it turns out, my fingers know more than I thought they did, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that I could let my fingers do their thing while I sang along:

“…And I start to complain that there’s no rain!”

Eva with her guitar (and flannel shirt -- I'm so Seattle!)

Eva with her guitar (and flannel shirt — I’m so Seattle!)  See a video of me playing “No Rain”.  Note that I don’t look at my fingers during the chorus.  

As I mentioned, I’ve been frustrated with my writing lately. I have a few novels I can’t figure out how to fix, and I have a few new ideas I can’t figure out how to get started on. But maybe it’s not a rainy day I need after all. Maybe sitting in front of the computer, staring at the blank screen and telling myself “write an outline now!” is like watching my fingers on the guitar and not being able to sing. I’m focusing too hard on the mechanics and not enough on the overall experience.

Maybe looking away for a while will help my creative brain do its thing. It probably knows more than I think it does. And one of the best ways to stimulate creativity is to get moving. So taking a walk in the Seattle sunshine might actually be as productive as sitting at home in my apartment.

Good thing, because it looks like it’s going to be another beautiful day.  (Shhh!  Don’t tell!)

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About evalangston

Eva Langston is a writer, among other things.

One response »

  1. amandadawnclothier

    You’re right to go with you’re gut. There’ll be a time when sitting down in front of the computer seems exactly the right and only thing to do. That’s the theory I am working on, anyway!

    Reply

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