Holin’ Up In The Lair.

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Mid-February only brings us about two-thirds of the way through Winter. I don’t know about you, but once the Holiday decorations are put away, I’m usually ready for Spring. But no such luck ‘round here. The snow started late afternoon on Wednesday and will continue through the same time Thursday, with the temps plummeting then into the frigid zone and apparently just staying there for a few days.

There’s no way to escape the day job, hunting for missing mittens, wading through frozen drifts or slip-sliding across icy parking lots. But after work and definitely over the weekend that’s almost here, it’ll be time for some serious hibernating. Which for me means lining up suitable beverages, queueing up inspirational tunes (just nabbed some really weird jazz compilation CD’s that ought to be perfect) and pounding the keyboard. Sounds good to me. Heck, I’m usually happiest holed up in the writing lair anyway. Bet some of you are too.

A Broken Heart To Go…

Martinis And A Broken Heart To Go

Mid-January: Snowflakes started falling mid-afternoon Friday, and by Saturday morning (not especially cold) a thick coating of snow turned streets and sidewalks treacherous. But by mid-afternoon today, the temps plummeted into the 20’s, headed for the frigid teens by tonight, with gusty winds whipping people right down icy driveways.

The writing lounge sounds like the place to be tonight, maybe tomorrow as well. Maybe there’s no reason to poke my nose out the door till I head back to work on Monday. The keyboard beckons, and there’s work to be done. There’s a freshly refilled thermal carafe of coffee on my desk, the ashtray’s in reach, and though they’re only CD’s (vinyl would be better) the Jazz Noir compilation and 1997’s Martinis And A Broken Heart To Go (complete with Richie Fahey case art) ought to do the trick to keep things warm while I pound the keys.

There are worse ways to spend a weekend…

Jazz Noir

Listening To: Diana Krall

diana krall

All last week the grass was greening, the trees were budding. Later this week we should be in the 70’s. Spring’s here. But Mother Nature wanted to thumb her nose at us one last time on Sunday, lobbing a snowstorm into the upper Midwest with gusty winds and half a foot of the wet heavy stuff that blew from mid-morning till I turned in around 1:00 AM. So other than picking up some groceries really early (with an in-car coffee break with the New York Times) when it was still only cold, rainy and windy, it was definitely a stay-in kind of day. A good day to stay huddled behind the computer and marvel at the icy ugliness churning around out the window.

diana krall 2

The soundtrack for all that blizzardy bluster: Diana Krall, though not in order, just however they all ended up on the turntable and in the CD player. Suitable sounds for pounding the keyboard on a scene set in a 1959 cocktail lounge for the re-activated follow-up to The Stiletto Gumshoe.

diana krall 1

The Weather Outside Is Frightful…

winter montage

Oh, the weather outside is frightful…or so the 1945 Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne song Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow says.

Last weekend we had a winter tease ‘round here, with a good bit of snow, but manageable. This weekend we’re getting walloped, and it’s still going on as this is written. Once done, temps will drop, winds pick up and whatever was already cleaned up will just drift back into impassable hills overnight. Not whining, mind you, since it’s been winter-lite so far this season, with only one sorta-snowstorm in early November, and even November-December out of town travel into the frigid zones wasn’t too bad.

But I don’t mind a bit. For me, the most productive time of year is October through May when we’re driven indoors. There are fewer temptations, with no beaches, softball leagues, patio soirees, swimming pools, gardening or whatever warm weather pursuits might lure you away from the work you mean to do. When the shorter days and first snows send the bears into hibernation, a lot of us head to the sofa for Netflix binge watching. But for some, it’s the most opportune time to get things done, whether that’s painting your personal masterpieces in the apartment’s spare bedroom studio, building one of those insanely detailed toy train layouts in the basement, or finally starting that novel that’s been kicking around inside your head. Of course, there’s no better way to weather the – well, the weather – than to curl up in something cozy with a good book and your beverage of choice. Smarter folks may peek out the window to see the blizzards still blowing and simply choose to stay in bed. Which would be a pretty fun idea if there’s a bedmate by their side. After all, there’s no need for winter jammies when there are better ways to keep warm.

alexa mazzarello

Getting around on Saturday errands kinda sucked this morning, the snowplow drivers apparently breakfasting or loading their rigs with salt. But I’ve been in for a while now, with no plans to go back out till Monday morning, and once the week’s blog posts are scheduled, it’ll be time to hunker down over The Stiletto Gumshoe. The manuscripts-in-progress, not the website. A productive winter weekend of uninterrupted writing (or rewriting, as it happens) sounds good, with no plans to pause till evening. I expect the fingertips may be numb come 11:00 PM, at which time Eddie Mueller’s Noir Alley will beckon on Turner Classic Movies. 1944’s Murder, My Sweet is the film this week, with Dick Powell taking his first turn at reinventing himself as a hard-boiled noir favorite, and it was Anne Shirley’s last film. But it’ll be back to the keyboard Sunday, since the weather outside promises to remain frightful. But there are worse things than being warm inside when some productive work gets done. Agreed?

Montage: Roan Lavery, Meghan Elliott, Kate Williams; Still life: Alexa Mazzarello

 

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