Saturday, September 20, 2014

God Made Fall For Writers

Summer is the season for fun, at least that's what songs and television commercials tell us. Summer a time to be outdoors, enjoying life with minimal clothing. Summer is the time of bikinis and beach volleyball and vacations to the coast.

Summer is hot.

Fall At My House
When I was a boy, I couldn't wait for it to warm up enough that daddy would let us go outside barefoot. Once he said yes, my brother and sisters and I would shuck our shoes and forget them until late fall, except for school, town, and church. It seems every summer I stepped on at least one rusty nail and scores of honeybees. Our back yard was covered with clover, but we navigated it barefoot each and every day. Stings and tetanus shots were part of summer in the South. Shoes were not.

It's funny, but I don't remember summers being so hot back then. They were, I'm sure. I not one of these people who buy into man-made global warming. No, my theory is that we didn't notice the heat because we were always outside. We didn't have video games or cell phones. We had bicycles and motorcycles, and dirt clods to throw at each other when daddy broke up the garden with the tractor. You don't notice the sweat during a good dirt clod fight.

For the past fifteen years I've worked mostly at a desk in an air-conditioned office. A man becomes accustomed to air with the humidity pumped out. When he goes outside, he notices the heat in a big way. Same thing for kids, I suppose, when they lay up all day playing Nintendo or watching 100+ channels on cable.

I'll let you in on another secret: old people don't look that great in bathing suits. These days, when my wife and I go to the beach, I have enough sympathy for the other beach-goers to wear a shirt. She still looks great, but I've packed on a few pounds.

No, I've come to the conclusion that summer is for young people. They can have it. I'll just sit back in my recliner with the air-conditioner blowing and wait it out.

I like fall because the weather is mild. I can go outside and sit without being eaten alive by gnats and mosquitos and horseflies. My wife and I can sit in the porch swing and hold hands and look out at the lake without sweat rolling down our faces. We can sip coffee early in the morning and let hot caffeine  warm our insides. Sometimes on an especially cool morning, we may catch a whiff of smoke from a neighbor's chimney. There may be no better smell in the world than chimney smoke on a cool morning.

Fall is the season of pretty colors. Leaves change, then fall to the ground and cover grass I don't have to mow again for months. Fall is a time for peaceful reflection. It's the best time of year to take a vacation to Gatlinburg (which we are doing in October!). It's also my favorite time to write.

Thanks to my MacBook with Retina Display, I can sit outside in quiet solitude and write without straining to see the words on my screen. We live out in the country, so it is quiet. Tranquil.

God made the world and he made all four seasons. Of that I am sure, but I'm equally sure He made fall for writers. Winter is for editing and revising. Spring is for publishing. Summer is for finding excuses not to write, but fall ... there's no excuses for not writing in the fall.

What is your favorite season?

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Carl Purdon is the author of The Night Train, Norton Road, and Blinders, available in ebook and paperback. For signed copies, visit his website for ordering information


  1. I miss the roar of the old cotton gins in the fall. The whir of the big suction fans and the resonating created by the tin top and sides produce an unforgettable sound. It was easy to ignore the dust and the heat when your ears were full. I always wanted to run the suction tube that drew the loose cotton from the wagons and beds of the side-planked pickups. It was probably the worst job at the gin but it started the process that meant jingle in overall pockets.

    1. I've never been inside a cotton gin, but I can almost picture it from your description.