When I was growing up, it rained every single Saturday. Honestly, for years and years, Saturday meant rain. Most people would complain about it, but I learned to love the sound of water hurtling against the window and sloshing off the roof. I liked looking through the rain-streaked windows and watching the drips fall languidly from moist spruce and maple. I loved the very smell of rain, the resulting puddles and mud that would squish through my bare toes. I even learned to appreciate the bloated and stretched worms that would be flushed from their homes.
All of these things meant an abundance of rain, and it’s because of rain that I became a writer.
Rain meant my mother wouldn’t shunt me outside. It meant I could sprawl on my bed with books and Highlights magazines. Rain on Saturday meant I could stay that way nearly as long as I wanted, and even when I was forced to do something else, I could usually slip back into the cozy pinkness of my room to draw, play with my tape recorder, or work my way through the books that accumulated on my nightstand.
The nightstand was a quaint hand-me-down with a slightly curved top and a rippled, decorative edge. It had a small cabinet door and a single drawer without a handle where I`d hide my current diary. “Diary“ is a generous term; it was rather a catalogue of events that everyone knew about.
Written in a minuscule script, the diaries of my youngest years were pointed and factual. As I grew into a teenager, the thoughts became introspective. By the time I was about 15, I’d abandoned the tiny books and moved into a coil-bound scribbler that I filled with a florid script in a voice that was not my own — or at least, I have no memory of a silly teenage girl who reported breathlessly, and almost exclusively, about romantic engagements, wishes and dreams that revolved around boys. It seemed that the larger and more fanciful the handwriting, the more fanciful the “facts“ This diary, which had since changed terms to “journal,“ is decidedly wrinkled. It was kept securely between my mattress and box spring.
This particular journal makes me shudder. It is everything that I was not, but it was also everything I thought a teenage girl was supposed to write in a diary. Presumably to protect identities should it be discovered, only initials were used, and exploits appear to have been embellished into the realm of pure fiction.
Reading it now, I see this coil-bound scribbler with the leopard cub on the front as my first true experiment with voice and imagination. This is what I thought a young girl would write, and this is how I thought a normal girl would sound. My imagination had begun to take flight in the pink glow cast from the walls and ceiling in the of my small bedroom in the safety of a hidden book. It could only do this when it was raining and my mother let me stay inside.
Rainy days, when I can curl beneath a blanket with something warm to sip and watch the tears stream down the faces of the windows, still have the same effect. When it comes to creativity, rainy days are the best days.
© 2012 Sue Farrell Holler