The Debs are thrilled to welcome Misa Ramirez, the author of the Lola Cruz mystery series: Living the Vida Lola (January ’09) and Hasta la Vista, Lola! (2010) from St. Martin’s Press Minotaur. A former middle and high school teacher, and current CEO and CFO for La Familia Ramirez, this blonde-haired, green-eyed, proud to be Latina-by-Marriage girl loves following Lola on her many adventures. Whether it’s contemplating belly button piercings or visiting nudist resorts, she’s always up for the challenge. Misa is hard at work on a new women’s fiction novel, has developed a middle grade series for girls, is published in Woman’s World Magazine and Romance Writers Report, and has a children’s book published. Visit Misa at misaramirez.com and and at Chasing Heroes (chasingheroes.com)
Misa, welcome, and thanks for blogging about snow!
The Beauty of a Snow Flake
First, let me say that I love quotes. I find them inspiring and thought-provoking, and when I have dreaded writers-block (or worse, procrastination syndrome), you can often find me perusing quotes in one of my many quote books, or online at quote sites (of which there is an abundance).
When the Debs were kind enough to welcome me as a guest and I found out the theme of the week was ‘snow’, I was momentarily stumped. Lola Cruz Mysteries are, well, mysteries (with yummy romance thrown in to spice things up). They take place in Sacramento, California where you can fry an egg on the sidewalk in the summer and freeze your toes off in the winter. They are sexy, sassy, and smart. It doesn’t snow in Sacramento (at least not that I’ve ever experienced). Lola Cruz, the private eye heroine of Hasta la Vista, Lola!, has only seen snow on the ground when she’s gone up to Lake Tahoe.
Snow. Hmmm. So I scratched said head and…you guessed it…turned to snow quotes. Yes, there are quite a few quotes involving snow, believe it or not. Voila! I had a spark of an idea.
The quote that spoke to me is: “To appreciate the beauty of a snow flake, it is necessary to stand out in the cold.” I have no idea who said this, or what inspired it. At first glance I agreed with the statement. Yes, absolutely, you have to be outside catching snowflakes to really see their beauty.
But then I remembered a children’s book I have (a Caldecott winner) called Snowflake Bentley. It is the true story of a man who spent his life photographing snowflakes. It’s a fabulous book and one we read every holiday season.
Okay, so what does all this have to do with writing? Just this. So much of what we, as writers, strive for is an end goal (read: publication). If I take this quote and turn it into a statement about writing, it would read something like: To appreciate the beauty of a book, it is necessary to go through the (sometimes excruciating) process with the writer.
And this is where I get lost. See, I don’t agree with that at all! As a reader, I can absolutely appreciate the beauty of a book without having personally struggled with the plot, the revisions, the character development, or any of the other myriad of challenges entailed in the book-writing process. In fact, the best books are like a gentle snow where the words and plot and characters flow together so seamlessly that before long the whole landscape is dusted in white and fairly sparkles. I can curl up and enjoy a book like this, getting lost in the magic that an author created. That’s an amazing beautiful experience.
Isn’t it the same with a snowstorm? Do I really have to stand out in the cold to know that no snowflake is identical, to realize that snowflakes are C.O.L.D., to take in the beauty of a flurry of snowflakes? No! I can stand at my window and know the truth about snowflakes, and appreciate their beauty (while staying warm). We did this for the very first time this Christmas. It snowed in North Texas on Christmas Eve. As recent transplants from California, we were awestruck by the storm, the falling snow, the breathtaking beauty of it all. It was fabulous to see it from inside our house, and we fulling appreciated the beauty of each snow flake that fell.
Now, if I choose to go outside, my experience will be different (as it was when we all bundled up and went out to build tiny snowpeople and tried to sled–it wasn’t that much snow!). I’d find a different kind of beauty. It’s like being Snowflake Bentley and wanting MORE than the beauty of the storm. He wanted to take the storm apart and look at the pieces. That’s what writers do when they craft their books. We take one snowflake at a time and piece them together into a sparkling landscape of white. Our hope is that readers will appreciate the beauty of the flurry and not be able to pick apart the plot, or see it as only pieces of a whole. It’s my hope with every book I write, and I think I’ve succeeded.
So, what do you think? Do you have to be outside in the cold to really appreciate a snow flake?
If you’d like a Lola Cruz recipe card, be sure to visit my website and sign up for my newsletter! Here’s to living like Lola!
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