When Will It Rain Again in San Diego?

rain water puddle

I dream of seeing night-darkened puddles on the street.

This is what I Googled today.

For the last couple of weeks, the humidity has been palpable. Just last week, a light rain fell along the coastline. On Friday I went for a walk under the drizzle, expecting a downpour. But the raindrops evaporated as quickly as they pattered onto the pavement.

Hot summer rain is odd, yet refreshing. Heat seems to rise from the steaming black asphalt. Against the pale overcast sky, colors become brighter, richer. Green bushes and trees turn emerald and mint. Even the most minute details, such as a spider’s web, transform to delicate beds of water droplets.

As I drive on the highways heading into East County, I notice signs warning us to conserve water — “Severe Drought.” No kidding.

A few days ago, I met a lady who told me that we’re supposed to have torrential rain within the next week or two because of a monsoon. All the weather forecasts neglected to tell me that, but I can only hope that it’s true.

I wish it would rain in San Diego again. A hot August rain. We need it more than ever.

If anyone knows how to conjure incantations designed to bring about rainfall, it’s the British. (Got to love them for that.) Their country is only too familiar with torrential downpours, misty mountain tops, and stormswept moors made infamous in Gothic novels. So I turn to their music now, hoping it will put me in the mood for darkening skies and chilly nights.

The whole Disintegration album by the Cure sounds like rushing water. Waves of sound mimicking waves of water.

Here’s my make-it-rain playlist:

  • “Prayers For Rain” – The Cure
  • “Red Rain” – Peter Gabriel
  • “I Wish It Would Rain Down” – Phil Collins (Oh, I wish it would, too, Phil.)
  • “Here Comes the Rain Again” – The Eurythmics
  • “Only Happy When It Rains” – Garbage
  • “Rain” – The Beatles
  • “Spring Haze” – Tori Amos (Okay, not really about rain, but I’ll take dewy haze over this heat right now. And she’s an American, but she married a Brit and she lives in Cornwall, so… she’s part of the UK fold now. Lucky lady.)
Rain by John Shave - Flickr

At night, the best cure for insomnia is rain.

 

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How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Blog

 

Scaredy Cat by Beatnik Photos via Flickr

Scaredy Cat by Beatnik Photos via Flickr

 

For years, I called myself a writer but never showed my work to anyone.

Everything I did was private, a secret.

I kept a journal and wrote until I finished it, then opened a new one and started scribbling in it. Sometimes I wrote by hand; sometimes I typed on a laptop computer. Whether I wrote by lamplight or candlelight, on a desk or on a velvet pillow, the urge to write always came over me just after sunset.

As the twilight faded and yielded to the deepening shades of night, my desire to write intensified. It invaded me.

Like a night-blooming flower unfurling its petals on a balmy evening, the urge to write overwhelmed me, clinging to me like a fragrance I could not escape.

Like an alarm clock ringing in my mind, the desire to write always struck me at night. As soon as the sky darkened, a gong went off inside me, as though saying, It’s time. Pick up a pen or turn on your computer, and write. Now.

Most of the time, I did write. While the neighbors tucked themselves into bed or settled onto their couches, mesmerized by the blue-white flicker of their TV screens, I wrote. And I wrote. And I wrote.

I wrote until I filled up a giant storage box full of journals, all different colors, shapes, and sizes. When I opened the mirrored closet door in my bedroom and peeked inside, I noticed the multicolored journals spilling over the box’s open lid, winking like jewels in the darkness of my closet. I felt like a greedy, yet cowardly dragon lording over some incredible hoard of ideas.

Writing was my dirty little secret I did in the dark, late at night, all alone.

But some nights, I ignored the urge. Or I took a break. I watched TV, watched a movie, read a book, surfed the Internet, or listened to music. Sometimes I did a lot of these things on the same night.

Some nights I did nothing at all. When I did nothing, I felt—depressed. Devoid. Empty. As though I had no purpose.

When I did write again, I felt rejuvenated. Invigorated. Flat-out excited. Only when my eyes started to droop and I yawned did I stop and go to bed.

The next night, when I picked up from where I’d left off, I couldn’t wait to begin.

Writing was fun yet forbidden. It was still my secret.

For many years, I kept it a secret. (I like secrets.)

Until one day…

I got mad.

I was sick and tired of waiting for just the right moment. I was tired of waiting for everything to be perfect.

I spent years reading other people’s blogs. And it occurred to me not too long ago that I started reading Neil Gaiman’s blog when his youngest daughter, Holly, was just a wee one. Now she’s off to college.

I spent so many years waiting to “perfect” my craft that I never did anything with it.

Yet I argued with myself. I said, “Hey, I write every day! I’m making progress!”

Then my inner voice retorted: No. You write in your private journal every day. Then you lock it away in your filing cabinet and keep it there. No one reads it. No one knows it exists.

“But I still write — every day!”

No, you don’t. When was the last time you worked on a short story?

“Um…”

I couldn’t keep lying to myself.

I thought, Time is going by. And there’s nothing I can do about that.

But I also knew that I could do something about the way I managed my time. I had control over my time; therefore, I had control over myself. Once I realized this, I knew that I had absolute control over the future of my writing.

I relaxed. All I had to do was write. As Stephen King would say, “One word at a time.”

So that’s how I write — one word at a time.

I’m not perfect. (Who is?) I make mistakes, I don’t always hit my own unrealistic deadlines (write a book in three months!), and some nights I’m so tired that I don’t make my word count.

But I keep writing. No matter what.

 

 

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