Unfortunately, since January 2013, we've had very few rainy days here in Santa Cruz and I must admit, my writing has suffered. It's too easy to go out for a second three-hour surf session, go play another round of disc golf, or just head out on a bike ride.
With the return of the rains a few weeks ago, my productivity returned. I was once again intrigued with my latest novel and at a point where I found it hard not to write. I seemed to be able to crank out a page or two whenever I had a few minutes available at my laptop. My characters were screaming to express themselves, even if only for a few lines at a time.
Then, two weeks ago Karen and I went to Costa Rica for my stepson's destination wedding. While most people would be ecstatic at the prospect of warm weather, endless beaches and fine surf, I was expecting the worst. I hate being warm. Costa Rica is warm. I hate being tied up with family obligations that prevent me from doing what I want or need to do. Costa Rica looked like a disaster in the making for the novel that was back on track. I wanted to stay in Santa Cruz, experiencing the sorely missed rain and reveling in the recovered pace of my writing. But I had to go.
Surprise, surprise. The experience in Costa Rica was not the disaster I anticipated. I never imagined that I could be productive sitting on a covered patio next to a jungle waterfall, a light breeze carrying the scent of exotic flowers. But the sound of the cascading water once again allowed me to escape into my story.
Of course, family members, seeing me hammering away in this serene setting, just couldn't help themselves and had to interrupt to ask what I was writing or to talk about the beauty of the place. But I admit that even with the interruptions, it was almost better than being at home.
After a spectacular wedding, certainly the most beautiful I'd been to, we left the Waterfall Villas and moved to a beach resort. Our beach bungalow was separated from the sand by a strip of lawn with palm and coconut trees providing all-day shade. At precisely eight thirty each morning, onshore winds would begin to blow from the ocean. I'd exit the surf, grab a quick breakfast, and find a spot in the shade. Once again, the tranquility of the lush green grass, wind rustling the palm fronds, and the ocean in the background provided an ideal environment to write. Of course there were interruptions, required trips to nearby towns to explore and shop, but I still managed to eke out productive time.
We returned to several days of rain in Santa Cruz and I've been immersed in The Shadow of God. I recently sent out most of the first draft for review and I'm in the final stretch. I have the last chapter to write before the serious editing and rewrites begin.
Oddly, I find myself wondering how both tropical breezes and cold Santa Cruz rainstorms inspire me to write. They seem so different. And maybe that's it.
With only a hundred non-sunny days in Santa Cruz each normal rain-year (and we haven't had one of those in a while), rainy days are exceptional. They challenge the routines I've developed on the sunny ones - routines that make it easy to procrastinate. Similarly, the change of scene in Costa Rica challenged my routines. There were a lot of expectations on my time and those rare moments of solitude, whether next to the waterfall or in the shade of the swaying palms, made me urgently want to take advantage of that special time to lose myself in my writing.
The forecasts are calling for more rain over the next week followed by a dry spell of at least a week. If I don't finish The Shadow of God by then, I think I'll find a change of scene to keep my writing on track.