Warming Up the Winter Writer

Ezra Pound had some unsavory racial and political views, but he did trot out some intriguing verse. The rhythms below from his “Winter Is Icummen In” are germane to today’s topic:

Winter is icummen in,
Lhude sing Goddamm,
Raineth drop and staineth slop,
And how the wind doth ramm!
Sing: Goddamm.

Skiddeth bus and sloppeth us,
An ague hath my ham,
Freezeth river, turneth liver,
Damn you, sing: Goddamm.

Goddamm, Goddamm, ’tis why I am, Goddamm,
So ‘gainst the winter’s balm.

Sing goddamm, damm, sing Goddamm,
Sing goddamm, sing goddamm, DAMM.

I couldn’t agree more (and have particular fondness for the line “An ague hath my ham”). As days grow short, I am seized by Seasonal Affective Disorder (also known as SAD, but I prefer “Goddamm”).The waning of the light curdles my thinking, and my liver turneth. I’m never far from a sour turn of mind anyway, finding a fellow traveler in the Woody Allen-as-child character in Annie Hall who tells his therapist “The universe is expanding—someday it will break apart and that would be the end of everything!”

I know just what he means.

So when the pall of low light strangles the sun, my ruminations naturally turn to thoughts of beloved pets that died cruelly, the knowledge that the price of stamps will spiral ever upward, and the notion that Newt Gingrich will in my lifetime be elected Emperor (and Sarah Palin will be his Moose Queen, you betcha).

Write Light
This time though, I’m not going to let that winter furze settle about my face and person. I will take Dylan Thomas’s adage to heart: Rage, rage against the dying of the light! Rather than wearing the clammy cloak, I’m going to toss it off and self-medicate. My prescription:

  • Read more Mark Twain, David Sedaris, Dave Barry (and maybe a bit more Mark Twain)
  • Put all political ads in the compost, unread
  • When the sun does come out, revel in it, drink it up, dance its warmth

In the last few weeks, I’ve returned to writing fiction, which is a warmth to me all its own. I’ve revived a novel that stalled a couple of years ago, and its lead character is a kind of hapless boob, though a well-meaning one. I had so much fun yesterday putting him in a dreadfully compromising position that I barely noticed the gathering clouds and low light of the late afternoon.

It’s storming here today, and the sky is a dark, roiling thing. Man, my protagonist is in for a heap of trouble.