When I moved to the mountains west of Denver after seven years in New Jersey, I had to learn new weather words. Words like sublimation and virga and graupel. I had never heard of this nonsense. (I shall now define these terms for you so I feel all smart and stuff.)
- Sublimation. When a solid moves directly to a gas without stopping at liquid or passing go or collecting $200. Basically this looks like snow or ice on the road turning to a massive evil cloud attacking your car as you attempt to go grocery shopping.
- Virga. This is rain that hits dry air and evaporates before it hits the ground. It looks like a big dark rain cloud with long, gray stripes coming out of it. Or sometimes like a ginormous jellyfish hovering over your car, attempting to eat it while you try to go grocery shopping.
- Graupel. The official definition http://www.weather.com/glossary/g.html of this is snow pellets. They tend to be kind of soft. They look and feel like some nutcase in the vast heavens is pelting you and everything around you with tiny balls of Styrofoam while you try to go grocery shopping.
So what does this have to do with writing? Well, I have this bad habit that drives me to use new words in stories when I find out about them. So when I found out about these weird weather phenomena, I had to work them into a story somehow. What better way than to make one of my delectable heroes a meteorologist?
Now you might not think this is sexy. You would be wrong. A guy who knows something about the weather is totes sexy. And so was born Carter Allen, the meteorologist hero of Mostly Sunny with Chance of Belgian Chocolate. So basically, I wrote that novella so I could use the words graupel and virga in a story.
So what does this have to do with Christmas? Not a lot, except that our Christmas weather is shaping up so far to be particularly weird, and I wish I had Carter around to tell me whether we’ll have snow or not