Snow…and writing

The white stuff came down hard here in Nova Scotia. It started about Friday at 9pm and kept up until early this morning.,

That’s a LOT of snow.

Maybe about 40cm – depending on what part of Nova Scotia you are standing in.

Not as much as White Juan – back on Feb 18, 2004 – in which we had about 100 cm of snow fall on us in one 24 hour stretch.

I remember that winter well. I had just taken on a contract to shovel snow at our rental property. An eight car parking lot. I shoveled it with a regular plastic snow shovel – and a lot of grunting. For White Juan the landlord even came over and brought his teenage son and the three of us hacked away at the parking lot until it was done.

You want photographs – check out this page.

http://hrsbstaff.ednet.ns.ca/whutt/storm_2004.htm

But let me take the liberty to single out a few REALLY good photos – to give you an idea how bad it hit.

That second photo is a shot of a city sidewalk.

************

I have ALWAYS been a physical kind of guy. I really sucked at team sports – having no sort of coordination or knack at throwing a ball. Still, I have always enjoyed the physicality of a macho test of strength. In fact, just a couple of days ago my wife happened across a broadcast of the World’s Strongest Man event – and the two of us sat down to watch the whole thing right through. There is something primeval and innately sensible about a contest that determines who can live the most weight. I’m not a power lifter by any means – but I can weirdly relate to any form of a competition that is based on that concept.

The single greatest memory I have of my grandfather, Hanlan Arthur Vernon, was of the day when he needed a storm window that was hidden by a gigantic piece of lawn furniture – one of those rigs that has two adirondack-style chairs and table for your beer and burger in between slung on a rope. It was hanging directly in the way of the storm windows that my grandfather.

“Bah,” my grandfather said. “We’ll have to wait until your brother gets home.”

I should mention that my younger brother Dan is about four or five inches taller than I am, is a natural-born athlete  and I have ALWAYS stood in his physical shadow.

Well, to make a long story short I squatted down, picked up the piece of wooden lawn furniture by one end and just stood up and hoisted the sucker up while my grandfather ducked down and yanked the storm windows out from where they had been hidden.

I still remember him beaming at me. I was a bit of a bookworm and a geek and a weirdo and I don’t believe he ever realized how strong I was – and back then that was incredibly important to me.

I pulled nearly every muscle in my stomach accomplishing this feat – but the next morning I got up out of my bed at five in the morning and shouldered the bag of Toronto Star newspapers that were my responsibility – and delivered everyone of them. Later that day, after school, I delivered the two routes of Sudbury Star newspapers. Then I lay on the couch for the rest of the evening, just trying to breathe slowly.

In later years I often drifted towards physical jobs. Even with several years of college I continued to seek out labor and warehouse positions. I truly enjoyed the physicality of clearing an eighteen wheeler of freight. I became known at one warehouse as being the dude who could pick up a woodstove and stack it on top of another.

These days are older – my back is a little stiffer – and I tend to spin words for a living.

But on snow days like this one that shaggy dude – (my hair used to be way down past my shoulders) – who used to lift woodstoves and lawn chairs and power lathes grins out of the darkness of memory and says – “Best get to it, boy.”

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(and for those folks who want picture proof of my hair check out this classic blog entry… https://stevevernonstoryteller.wordpress.com/2012/04/22/who-here-hates-combing-their-hair/ )

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I’ve been out this morning for an hour or so and have cleared my front sidewalk and about a third of my back driveway.

I’m taking a breather – because us old farts need to be sensible about such physical effort.

Still, I get a weird sort of kick out of facing a challenge such as this snowfall. I love the feeling of working at it, hacking each shovel full of snow free – a couple of square feet at a time – slowly clearing down to the pavement.

I approach my writing this way as well.

I work on each project – word by word, sentence by sentence, paragraph by lonely paragraph, shoveling it clear until a story emerges.

And always – in the shadow of memory – that hairy dude who loved to sing country songs in the back of eighteen wheel trailers – grins out at me and says – “Best get to it, boy.”

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

PS: I did get a look at the cover for FLASH VIRUS: EPISODE FIVE – which will be released in the next week or so.

I’ll give you a peek at it.

Flash Virus Episode Five Kindle format

If you are intrigued by the cover and want to learn more about the series hit one of the links below and get started reading on Kobo or Kindle!

OR

if you are looking for just a straight horror novel to read until the snow melts I’d have to recommend this one in either Kobo or Kindle!

That’s more commercials than I’ve posted for a VERY long time – but who knows – you buy an e-book and I might just eventually earn enough to buy myself a snow blower!

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6 responses to “Snow…and writing

  1. ‘That’s more commercials than I’ve posted for a VERY long time – but who knows – you buy an e-book and I might just eventually earn enough to buy myself a snowblower!’

    From what it sounds like this year Steve I’d put a deposit on a snow plough ! Well either that or a very big spade oh, and I’d expect to pull those stomach muscles a bit too.
    Best of luck with the new book.

    Like

    • Thanks kindly, David.

      Only problem is – if I even HAD the money for a snow blower I’d then have to find the money for a freaking bigger shed with a door that worked to put the snow blower in. And then – before you can say ho-ho-ho – all of the neighbors would be asking me to play Santa Claus on their sidewalk with my brand new snow blower and before you knew it I’d be putting out just as much effort – BESIDES having to pay for the gas to run the thing.

      So for now I’ll stick with my shovel.

      Like

  2. Great post, Steve. Thank you.
    Strangely enough, just what I needed to read this morning. Last month I sold a novel to an editor (my first!) and I am now writing them another. With this one I’m still pretty much at stage zero.
    So, I sat down at my desk this morning, and the thought of maybe doing some social networking, or maybe cleaning the house, or going shopping, is more attractive than working on my next book. I feel about as creative as a plank of wood this morning.
    But then your post reminded me how I wrote the last one. I just sat down every day and worked at it, until it was finished.
    Cheers,
    Ken 🙂

    Like

    • Ken – we are ALL at stage zero. All of us writers and creators – we get up every morning with a blank slate and a hungry keyboard and all we got to do is rattle away with our fingers crossed.

      Although what I am keyboarding onto a slate is WAY beyond me.

      Good luck to you with your next book. Glad to hear my words helped build a fire beneath your muse’s butt.

      Like

  3. That is a *lot* of snow! I live in CT, and we just had a historic snowfall…for us. We don’t typically see snow fall like it did over this weekend in one stretch.

    I can’t believe you shoveled that parking lot by hand. You are either physical…or insane. LOL

    My husband is the same way. He says he can either pay to go to the gym, or shovel/split wood/etc at home for free. It’s a good work out.

    Like

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