Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Guest Blogger - Linda Swift - My Dilemma: Saving FACE

My Dilemma: Saving FACE

I have read many articles regarding the way human beings are affected by the moon, tides, sun, and  location in which they live. There are even diseases related to some of them such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) which causes depression in many people in the absence of enough sunlight. I will leave the matter of vampires and full moons to those more knowledgeable of that subject and move on to my personal observations.

Several years ago I became aware of peaks and valleys in my physical life and realized that they followed the calendar. I have always loved autumn. I am aware of the term “spring fever” which refers to the season when “a young man’s fancy often turns to thoughts of love.”  This is the season of romance novels and new beginnings. However, I am struck with “fall fever” every year when the leaves begin to turn. My lowest peak of energy and efficiency occurs in what is referred to as the “dog days” of late summer. Then suddenly there comes a barely perceptible change in the air that I can sense before any visible changes appear. This may happen near the end of August or any time in September. By October,  my fever peaks and remains high until the chill of November gradually brings it down. Now as I write this, I am in the waning days of this year’s peak season and try as I might, I can’t make it last beyond its automatically scheduled time.

Just as there is this cycle in my physical existence, the same pattern is present in my creative life. If I am going to start a new book or other project, the momentum to do it will occur in this time period. I may continue to write a book or finish a project later in the year, but I can trace its beginnings to autumn. I live in a state where the four seasons are very distinct but I have noticed the same pattern when I have lived in many locations where they are not.  

When I was a child, I always looked forward to the beginning of school as the best time of year. Later, going to college after marriage and family, I had that same feeling of anticipation when fall semester began. During my teaching career in many states, I never failed to experience this fall peak of energy.

For a time, I thought it must be related to my involvement with education. But when I exchanged public school life to become a full time author, the same cycle remained. In fact, it became more pronounced in the absence of scheduled activities. In Indian Summer days I wax lyrical. Many of my best poems are about autumn. I want to wander… anywhere, anytime. I have often joked that I would elope with the mailman if he asked me in autumn. I am not a flighty person but my imagination does take flight of fancy when the leaves are falling and wild geese are flying toward warmer climes.

My “affliction” of having Fall Affective Creative Energy (FACE) does present some problems. For the past two years, I have arranged several book signings in autumn. One in particular, which I have coordinated for two years, involves several authors from other states, and takes place in a local coffeehouse. It has belatedly occurred to me that I am sabotaging my creative writing time for an entire year by doing this. The event has been so popular and productive that people, including the other authors, are expecting another signing in the fall of 2013. I am planning to seek an earlier date to avoid conflict with my fall fever but risk the possibility of diminished returns in the changing.

To some extent, I have observed that my cycle repeats itself in each day. I am an “afternoon” person also, reaching my peak of the day from 3-10PM. When in Florida, I have noticed that this is my best period for spending time on the computer, in the pool, taking my two mile walk, preparing and eating dinner, and reading, preferably in my swing.  Obviously, I can’t do it all so hard choices must be made.

I don’t believe I am alone in this state of being connected to the seasons and even hours of passing time. I have no solution to the problem except to observe your own highs and lows, and then follow the time worn advice: “Go with the flow.”

A Haiku Collection ebook and print Willow Moon Publishing http://www.willowmoonpublishing.com

A haiku is an unrhymed Japanese lyric poem having a fixed three-line form of 5-7-5 syllables. Within the confines of this narrow scope, the poet seeks to imprint images on the reader's mind and heart.

These word pictures are not meant for "doing" but for "being." They offer a closer look at nature's quiet beauty; forsythia buds opening, a bean field in summer, wild geese in flight, an icy-winged snowbird. And make you smile at a fat toad eating fried bugs or a bushy-tailed squirrel sitting in a bird feeder. Within these pages you can smell lilac-scented rain; hear the hum of a waterfall; see autumn's bright bonfire; feel ice needles stinging. These haiku are intended to lead you to a greater appreciation of serenity and self. They are, in the words of dedication by the author, "For those who see with the heart."

Lynda's Review of Resurrection by Linda Swift
About The Book:
Amazon Buy Now
Charlotte Timberlake wants to write a book comparing past and present treatment for mental illness and persuades a doctor to have her admitted to a state hospital as a patient. When unforeseen events make it impossible for her to leave, she finds herself unable to convince those in charge, her children, or ex-husband that she doesn't belong here. Charlotte soon realizes it is up to her to find a means of escaping the nightmare of her self-condemned prison.

I'm happy to have the opportunity to review one of Linda's other works, Resurrection. My readers know how much I enjoy Linda's writing, and this book was no disappointment. Resurrection's story premise is both chilling and thrilling. It was down-right scary how impossibly hard it would be to convince others of your sanity if your environment dictates otherwise. It made me realize just how often I might judge a person or situation because of circumstance rather than fact.

Charlotte Timberlake made one very dangerous mistake when planning her strategy for being committed to a state mental facility for research purposes. She didn't plan an escape! She didn't, in her wildest imaginings, believe she'd need one. Author Linda Swift does a great job on this story, fully integrating her readers into Charlotte's nightmare situation. Story elements move swiftly in this story of 119 pages, so strap yourself in and take the plunge of a lifetime. I'm happy to give this book Four Stars!


BE A WINNER IN OUR CONTINUAL MONTHLY BOOK GIVEAWAY! You can find complete details on the Giveaway Page.


  1. Lynda, thank you so much for having me as your geust today. This is a perfect time to feature Song of Every Season as the publisher is offering it at half price until Jan. 1, 2013. And thank you for the wonderful review of my book, Resurrection. Speculative Fiction is a new genre for me but I also have a collection of short stories titled Take Five in this genre which has just been released. All of my books are available at Amazon.com

    1. You're so welcome! Your writing always tickles my imagination and makes me meditate on things a little deeper than usual. And this article is certainly one of those pieces.

      Fall is definitely my season of choice, and my most aggressive start time. I begin new stories in Fall and usually end up finishing existing stories in the Fall and Winter.

      There is something about the color and temperature at this time of year that seems to give me permission to slow down and allows the creative side of my nature to emerge, rather than the obsessive "get things done yesterday" part of me that rushes through Spring and Summer.

      My most productive time of the day is 7PM - 12PM. My husband teases me about not truly waking up until after 5PM in the evening, although I'm a fairly early riser. *Smiles

      Our internal clocks, our seasonal clocks, everything about us is wonderfully unique to each individual and makes life so interesting.

  2. What an interesting observation, Linda! I think I must be the opposite, as the fall (or autumn as we call it) brings with it the dread of cold winters and dark nights, which I hate. I'm much happier when the year turns at the winter solstice, and I can start looking forward to the spring again (which is my favourite season). I must admit I haven't linked my 'creativity' to any particular season, but as far as the days go, my most creative part of the day is after about 9pm! I tend to think that's a throwback to the days when I was working full time, and had young daughters. Once I'd finished my 'school work in the evenings, and my daughters were in bed, then I could enjoy 'me' time i.e. after about 9pm. And it's still the same, even though I'm now retired and my daughters have long since flown the nest!

    1. Paula, most people would agree with you about which season is a favorite. I agree that new beginnings are nice but I'm still an autumn person and always have been. I have always called myself an "afternoon person" also and I think you are, too. And I well remember the winter days in Hull. Dark until almost mid0morning and again by mid to late afternoon. Made me want to stay inside and have a cup of tea!

  3. Autumn usually presents itself with a high pressure center so cool compressed air rushes into our lungs with little effort on our part. It invigorates us and fills our blood with blood. We become alive and surging with energy, In comparison, the last days of summer it is often hot, humid and had a low pressure center that makes us have to work harder to breathe and dang uncomfortable. It's no wonder we can't get our creative juices flowing. So, as you said, it's best to go with the flow. Dream and plot in the summer and write in the fall.
    An interesting blog for contemplation, Linda.

    1. Sarah, it is interesting to learn the physical reasons that may be dictating our behavior in the autumn. And how they are related to the changing weather. So many factors to consier here! Thank you for these comments which explain a lot of things! And Happy New Year.

  4. Is FACE a real condition? If not, there are probably a few reasons for you experiencing this: (I have it too btw) first of all, even here in SoCali, the weather changes after early September and it's cooler and invigorating so for me I feel like doing more than I do in summer & its draining heat that can prohibit any unnecessary activity. Also you mention education/school: I believe that those of us who attended grade school from Fall to Spring rather than year-round mini school sessions were/are conditioned to be more attentive and mentally ready to begin a "new year" of school so to speak, hence the activity/creativity level upsurge in the Fall. As for December, not only are the holidays upon us, forcing us to be active like it or not it is also the ending of a year winding down. Just my opinion.

    1. No, P.I., FACE is my tongue-in-cheek made up condition to explain my observations. I've also spent a few seasons in SoCal. and did experience the seasonal change you mention. I agree that we are probably programmed from an early age to react in certain ways each autumn which are related to beginning school and all that involves. And as a teacher, I continued that way beyond my own years as a student. And now with only one more current holiday to go, we can begin the winding down period, thank goodness. Thanks for your comments.

  5. Lynda, I've noticed the physiological and inspirational changes in the seasons, also. My urge to write surges when I wake up to a crisp morning. This usually begins mid-August when we barely detect the refreshing scent of fall in the air.

    About November, the creative urge wanes. A good thing since we have the holidays to prepare for. But mine seems to pick up about now, the end of the year. I started my first book on New Years' Day. It was my New Years' Day resolution in 2004.

    I tend to write short stories in the Spring, wane a bit in Summer, but by mid to late August the juices boil again.

    I'm a bit of a Sun-sign buff. I partially attribute my creativity to which Sun sign we are entering. The 12 signs change around the 21st of each month. Since the planet Mercury influences writing and communication, and enters Virgo(the prolific writing sign), on August 23rd, I think it gives me that extra oomph of creativity. I also keep tabs on the moon. When it is in Capricorn or Virgo, my wording improves. I write wittier dialogue and am able to create more descriptive scenes during these monthly 2 1/2 day periods.

    Okay, now that you think I'm Kooky, I'll close. LOL. But, next time you have an exceptionally creative writing day, note the sign the moon is in. Then next month when it comes around, take note again.

    1. Laurie, this is a wonderful addition to my blog. You havee brought into the mix the influence of sun signs and of course, they are very important. I have paid more attention to them in the past than I do now, but I see that I need to study them again and make note of how they may be affecting my creativity. Thanks so much for your comments and I will follow up on your good suggestions.

  6. Wow, Linda, I never thought about this. That book signing of yours looks wonderful, too--I guess I don't really go by the seasons, but more by how I'm feeling each day. There are some days when I am not worth shooting, and don't have one creative thought. Others, when I wake up in the middle of the night and can't sleep because my thoughts are tumbling around. This is very interesting to me. Now I'll be thinking about it for who knows how long? LOL