The clocks are turning back tonight, and the path’s twirling with red and yellow leaves because it’s getting very blustery out there. High winds are predicted over the next few days, which made me think about winds in literature. Shelley’s ‘Ode To The West Wind’. ‘Windy Nights’ by Robert Louis Stevenson. The cyclone that gathers up Dorothy and Toto in The Wizard Of Oz. Mary Poppins blows in on a wind (you want to skip to 2:01 there, rosy cheeks and everything), and of course all those answers are blowin’ there too in the Bob Dylan song. Gone With The Wind, The Shadow Of The Wind, Written On The Wind, The Wind In The Willows. In Tibetan Buddhist philosophy the windhorse holds a central place representing basic goodness, and most mythologies have gods or goddesses of the wind.
I was reaching for the memory of how Cathy’s ghost visits Lockwood at the start of Wuthering Heights, and turned to my tatty Penguin Classic: ‘I heard distinctly the gusty wind, and the driving of the snow.’ Then duh! Of course, ‘wuther‘ is a word that describes the wind (‘dialect English to blow with a dull roaring sound’).
And is there any song more lovely and more haunting than Kate Bush’s ‘Wuthering Heights’? But is it out on the ‘wiley’, ‘wild and’, or ‘winding’ ‘windy moors?! I’m not sure I ever figured that out. We used to singalong with ‘winding’ as kids. Ah!
For this week’s writing experiment: Compose something that uses the wind. A character that blows in on a wind, either literally or metaphorically. An ode to the wind, or a haiku (I’m thinking haiku are often very still, but do they have to be?!). A tale about a windy deity, or a story that uses the wind in some other way, or maybe just a piece that uses wind in the title. Maybe look up wind-related words in an etymology. Blow out the cobwebs with some revision of an old piece by writing a wind into it. Consider how you too can conjure up all the romance and associative power and elemental energy of this force of nature.
As ever, be concrete and specific in your choices in writing.