Sunday, August 10, 2014


Ah, summer. Another family weekend coming up, so I'm writing this a couple of days early. Last weekend divided itself into two parts: an arts festival up in the mountains, where I read from An Alien's Guide and my work in progress as a featured contributor to the spoken word performances, and a family birthday gathering. This weekend it's a wedding - two, actually, same day and time, so we'll be involved in some creative shuttling from one side of our valley to the other to celebrate with both young couples.

It's August, time for all those wonderful long sunny weekends filled with picnics, gatherings, weddings, parties, camping, road trips, time outdoors. Sunshine and fresh air, and time spent gazing at beautiful night skies packed with stars.

Smoke from one of our fires competes with sunset.
Well, our night skies here in central Washington state are a little smoky. Fire season is underway, thousands of acres and dozens of square miles burning from lightning strikes in a hot, dry, windy summer. Homes lost, families relocating, animals chased out of their habitats, and firefighters spreading themselves thin.

My own home sits safely within city limits, well out of harm's way. I've spent the last few evenings staring at the smoke plumes spreading through the skies, making disturbingly beautiful sunsets struck through with crimson and black, thinking of how big the world is, how much it holds for us, how quickly it can change.

Family gatherings, nature, fires, sunsets, loss, change, love, and beauty - they all hold stories that deserve to be told, and provide the images we can use to tell them.

Ah, summer. Time to write.

Elizabeth Fountain is the author of An Alien's Guide to World Domination (2013) and You, Jane (2014). Find her published work here and her blog, Point No Point, here. 


Rhobin Lee Courtright said...

Finding time to concentrate and write on a WIP with all the family activities including vacations and travel can be difficult, but writing down the quirky happenings during those interactions can enrich later stories.

The fires out West are scary.

Julie Eberhart Painter said...

Each weather calendar holds a best time to do our writing. Your summer is a gathering time. In FL, we are inside in our airconditioning writing, just as we did in Winter up North -- remembering.

Liz Fountain said...

You're so right, Rhobin; we have a saying: "you might call 'em crazy, we just call 'em kin." And Julie - I love the metaphor of seasons for writing.


Big Mike said...

Most of my writing occurs in the cold of winter when I'm propped in front of the cozy fire, with dancing embers crackling in the background. Also love the fall with it's brilliant sunsets and crisp mornings, helps to kindle the spirit to ponder fictional worlds and other possibilities.

Michael Davis (
Author of the Year (2008 and 2009)
Award of Excellence (2012)

Liz Fountain said...

Ahh, a cozy fire on a cold night sounds sweet about now - our high is projected to be 106F today!