The Elements of Fire and Writing

The Flame

Cooler nights here recently prompted the need to light the woodstove and with that comes the gathering of kindling. (My job.) We’re surrounded by it. After every gale, I play “pick up sticks” around the yard, hauling buckets of twigs to the house or breaking branches into smaller counterparts. Yet, it never feels like drudgery. To me, it’s a daily opportunity to check the foliage, breathe in crisp air, stretch my legs, and pretend it’s exercise. It’s also a blessing in disguise, having a ready supply simply because the wind blew the night before.

The Man Of Few Words takes care of the big stuff, bringing home tree trunks in two foot lengths and splitting them into woodstove-sized chunks. I love the sound of his maul in the front yard. Clunk. Chink. Clunk. Chink. He’s as steady and patient about splitting wood as any other aspect of his life. I also don’t take it for granted that he does it at the end of his work day and maybe that’s why I love cooking so much… feeding the tired, hungry love of my life is as comforting as a crackling fire.

My adjunct part of the deal is to carry in an adequate amount of wood depending on the weather. Rain in the forecast? Better bring in a couple days’ worth. (If all else fails, pile it on the back porch and tarp the rest.) It takes teamwork to keep the home fires burning. So far we’ve only had to run the furnace twice; once because it unexpectedly rained for three days straight and we ran out of wood (early in the season) and once because we were too lazy to get up in the middle of the night to stoke the stove. We’re more self-indulgent in our “old-er” age.

It also occurred to me that writing is similar to tending a woodstove. Three elements are required for the success of either.

thoughts = fuel

words = oxygen

writing = heat



creates an exothermic reaction

(more energy is emitted than the combined energy of the elements)



has the same effect


the world needs heartwarming words

Writing and woodstoves require ritual and it feels good to get back to both.

Enjoying fanning the creative flames,

~ Kimby

23 thoughts on “The Elements of Fire and Writing

  1. Kim,
    Reading this before I turn in for bed is kindling for my dreams. I love ending my day on such a lovely note–and I’ll let this be the seed for my dreams tonight: “feeding the tired, hungry love of my life is as comforting as a crackling fire.” (I so love that!)

    • Shanna, I absolutely loved your phrase: “kindling for my dreams.” Sometimes our eyes are so glued to the computer and/or TV until the last hour, we (I) forget to stop and watch the flames flicker before retiring. Thank you for that dream-conducive reminder! xo

    • Tracey, between the woodstove and “my stove,” things get heated up in here from time to time. :) But, there’s always the deck for relief… wouldn’t that just be the “funnest?” Thank you for your lovely, supportive comments. xo

  2. A thoughtful and evocative post ! Love the words “the world needs heartwarming words” so true, so true!
    We have a wood burner too but it hasn’t been on yet, although I’m sure it will soon……

  3. I ALWAYS enjoy your writing style. I don’t know how to explain it, but I feel like I need to treasure every moment and appreciate things in life including small things in our lives. Could be something nature, food, anything. I guess I love your approach in life. :)

    • Nami, I very much appreciate your comment, xo. Sometimes that “voice” is elusive, but every once in awhile I get it right. ;) You’ve identified exactly what it is that propels my approach to life (and yours) — appreciating the small things. Every one of them is a blessing, but it takes “noticing” to realize their true value. Thanks again for your beautiful comment.

  4. I would like to add that the “Kindling” is a good friend like you who keeps me going when I am ready to give up–on my writing career, that is. And–who proofs my work so I don’t look like a total idiot to my readers–lol.

    • Catherine, I like your idea of kindling — it’s more than just sticks and twigs. :) If there ever comes a day when I need a proofreading reference, I’m hoping to call on you. In the meantime, it’s just friends “kindling” friends. :) xo

    • Shirley, I wish you could feel how “warm” it is when the woodstove heats the whole place. No drafts, no chills, no cold feet! Thank you for bringing the element of romance into the mix — you’re so right — It’s romantic, too! xo

  5. I can smell the wood burning stove too. I live in town, but I am still out in the yard picking up kindling too for the fire bowl and I find it lethargic (also necessary to try to keep up with the yard). I bet the leaves are gorgeous right now. We drove to/from Okmulgee yesterday to visit with our little one’s birth mom and I was so happy to see all of the yellow and occasional red leaves on the journey there and back. I hope you new recipes are working for you. We Morgans are open-minded about food and always looking for some healthy new (to us) recipes so I look forward to seeing what works and becomes a mainstay…

    • Nolita, I was trying to figure out what happened to all the kindling I picked up during the Spring and Summer… it likely ended up in our fire pit, too (So snakes didn’t think it was their second home!) I love Oklahoma and I loved your comment… thanks. Will keep ya posted on the new recipes!

  6. This post is every bit as delicious as your food posts, Kim. I have this dream that some day we’ll meet “live” and in person and your “man of few words” and my “white on white” will sit quietly on the deck while we banter away in the kitchen doing what food lovers do. . . bustling about and savoring the moment. xxxooo

    • Sue Ann, I gave TMOFW a heads up that we may have company in the future and he was entirely okay with silently communicating with your “white on white” hubby on the deck. ;) Bustling and savoring sounds good to me, as far as we’re concerned. xo

  7. I can just hear and smell and feel that wood burning stove~~the heat, the crackling, the char of the wood…picking up those twigs and kindling pieces is like the beginning of something that will bring such warmth and pleasure to you and the MOFW…I can just imagine your all’s place, Kim…when I need a place of serenity I go there in my mind’s eye and land on your porch…your words bring more than provocative thought…they bring a sense of harmony…xoxo ~~ally

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