Stormy weather, reflection, and personal growth

The weather for today called for thunderstorms, and the forecast was certainly spot-on in that regard. Proper thunderbolts-and-lightning, very very frightening, and so on. Oh, and grape-sized hail that scared the crap out of my cats.

I love a good thunderstorm. One of the things I miss most about living in Carnegie is being able to lie in the back room–my grandma’s old room–and listen to the rain hitting the skylights. Thought it wasn’t quite the same, I did take some time to sit out on the back deck to watch the beginnings of the storm. I snapped a few pictures, enjoying the crazy clouds and the increasing winds, wrote in my journal a bit, and then set both my phone and journal aside to appreciate the weather.

Fun fact: I used to be terrified of thunderstorms. Specifically, I was terrified of the thunder itself. By association, I would freak out when I saw bright flashes of lightning; I knew what they meant, and I didn’t like what would follow. The typical response? Find the nearest pillow and hide, as pillows were obviously the greatest protection from the elements. It’s a common enough fear, and so I don’t feel too bad admitting to it. If the thunder’s loud enough and the lightning’s crazy enough, really, it becomes a surprisingly rational fear, I’d say. It was during those times that I spent cowering under couch decorations that my grandmother would try to comfort me by explaining the thunder away as angels bowling. The louder thunder rumbles were, the more likely it was the angels got a strike. I learned enough about bowling during my formative years while still not finding thunder to be a great source of terror, but the idea that it wasn’t so bad stuck around. My grandmother actually spent a good deal of time watching storms, too, and it’s something I seem to have picked up at some point. I even, against what was probably better judgment, went with my stepfather to try retrieving my grandmother and great aunt after a tornado cruised through Mount Washington and wrought all sorts of havoc.

This is something I dwell on from time to time, as it’s something I’ve grown out of. Here’s the part where I get ridiculous, because I’m drawing parallels all ham-handed and shit. My writing is like the way I’ve gotten used to, and have grown to love, thunderstorms. When I started writing, it was all short stories with MS Paint and Microsoft Works. Lots of crappy writing, thoughtless snark, and…Well, it was my first attempts at writing. Over time, with practice and patience, I slowly got better. I found an audience that enjoyed my writing and I ran with it. I’m still, I’ve discovered, finding new audiences and continuing along the process of finding what works and what doesn’t, and I’ll probably have to keep doing that until the day I die (or, less likely, my fingers all fall off and I’m no longer able to write).

The comparison may have fallen apart there. Over time, these two things–thunderstorms and writing–became things that I didn’t fear (for different reasons, obviously), but things I enjoyed a great deal. They both old a special place in my heart, even when they are a source of frustration.

Thunderclouds of inspiration

Or “I cameĀ this close to writing a post about how George R.R. Martin may be writing eight books forĀ A Song of Ice and Fire, but didn’t and you should all be remarkably thankful”.

When I was a child, thunderstorms scared the hell out of me. Not the lightning, nor the rain, but the thunder. In hindsight, after a tornado wrought havoc on much of my one childhood home (taking moving and such into consideration here), I may have been onto something.

As I sit here now, laptop positioned atop my crossed legs despite the discomfort such a combination makes for in this humidity, I can’t help but appreciate storms. What I’ve found, however, is the one thing I really love more than thunderstorms themselves is the last few minutes of anticipation before the storm strikes. Until the rain pours down, when it’s only the lights-and-sounds show made up of the approaching thunder and lightning, it’s nothing but a tremendous, sometimes terrifying, collection of potential. The potential for tremendous destruction and awe-inspiring force, as well as the potential for rejuvenation in cases where the rain is much-needed (California, I’d love to send some of this your way; I grow weary of the dreariness, certainly, but I don’t mind the all-natural light-show).

I’ve come to realize, in a perhaps cheesy-sounding way, thunderstorms and developing ideas for my writing hold a lot of similarities. From the moment inspiration first strikes, to the inevitable rolling, rumbling gathering of ideas, until suddenly it’s over. The storm subsides, having drifted elsewhere, and the first draft is safely tucked away in a Word document or in a notebook.

Yikes. That got a little hokey, didn’t it?

Beyond inspiration, I’ll always have memories of my grandmother, who liked to snack on potato chips while she would watch storms from the front porch of her house. She’s largely responsible for my getting over my fear of thunderstorms. She told me how the thunder was really angels bowling, and the really loud thunder-claps were when said angels got a strike. I imagine, going with the rather cheesy approach this post has taken (blaming the post, not myself, for this), that comforting little white lie may just inspire some short stories down the road. I’ve only got a backlog about a forest’s worth of paper long.

That’s for another time, though. For now, my attention will be devoted to watching Meowiarty look confused by the wind being just gusty enough to spit a little rain in through the screen door.