Monday, March 20, 2006


It's sad but true, winter is over. Well, it was bitterly cold on the weekend, but all of the rain and warm temperatures lately have ruined the good part of winter; skiing.

I'm one of those immensely irritating people who love winter. I wasn't always like this - as a teen I skied quite a bit in Quebec, but for ten years after I moved to Toronto I stayed indoors in the winter, putting nose prints on my windows from all the checking to see if it was spring yet. When I did venture outside I spent most of my time grumbling about having to wait in bus shelters designed by people trying to maximize the amount of wind going up my skirt. It was miserable.

Then I fell in love with a man with a car who wanted to go skiing on one of the tiny molehills around Toronto. Once I snapped my feet into my rentals and did one run, I was hooked again.

What does this have to do with writing? Well, I'm an avid skier, or as avid as it's possible to be when you live in the flatlands of Ontario, and I find skiing to be one of the most inspirational things in my life. There's a vitality in skiing, in putting my energy out there in a way I don't normally. It's amazing how often a bit of dialogue pops into my head, or a solution on how to fix a problematic scene comes to me when I'm looking down from the top of a run. As a nerdlet and writer - both of which demand a lot of time sitting on my arse - I tend to get my thinking in a bit of a rut; skiing helps shake that up.

At the risk of being photo-albumy, this is a shot of me at Whistler last year. It's hard not to get inspired with this kind of scenery...

I'd LOVE to do a book about a city girl who chucks it all and heads out to Whistler to be a ski bum, but then finds out she can't ski well enough to cut it. I'd give anything to be able to write off that kind of research...

On another note, I've always thought that there's a different flavour to life in Canada in the winter, a different energy and, certainly, a different lifestyle. I find it a challenge to write in opposite times of the year - hard to get into the Christmas spirit in June, hard to think about patios - in a realistic way, not a delusional one - in January. Spring and fall are always a bit of a paradigm shift for me, so I'm at loose ends a bit, these days.

Of course, sailing season is just around the courner...


Edited to add: Bestseller Tess Gerritsen blogged on "Writer's Anemia" this week, which ties into the whole skiing/recharging/inspiration thing I was talking about. Of course, she does it better :)


Sonny Shine said...

I was a ski bum while in the Air Force. I was stationed in Denver, Colorado and I didn't do anything but ski all weekend long! Being an Alaskan native, I can understand why somepeople are facinated with snow. *sigh* I've had enough of it in my life though, I think I'll move to California!

Maia said...

Skiing every weekend in Denver? That sounds like heaven :)

Wouldn't you miss the snow (ok, eventually) if you were in California?