I'd be curious to hear from my readers on this, because, in looking over much of my work, there's often a strong element of weather. And when I think back on the birth pangs of each story, I remember the weather somehow starting the whole thing off. I've written on this before, mentioning my nature journal and almost exactly a year ago in my post Weather Forecasts Depth in Your Writing.
I've read so many times that I could not begin to attribute the comment, how one should never start a story talking about the weather. However, in a story I just started working on, I'm doing just that, and, in this case, I think I will probably keep it. I didn't go into a paragraph of description, just one line before moving right into the action, but I felt that one line of weather set the mood.
The odd thing is, while many writers can picture their characters right down to the mole on the left buttocks, I can feel the weather surrounding them. I'm not sure why, but, even when it doesn't end up being mentioned, or I cut it out later, I know what is going on outside the window of my characters' homes. In The Box of Cereal the weather is a cold drizzle––the kind that makes a depressed person sink even lower. Dora's Memoir is set in a hot, stuffy Philadelphia row house on a summer night, and Foundations of Churchill begins during a rare hot and rainless summer in southeastern PA.
All of those stories had another inspiration too, of course, but I remember on the day I began to write them, I was either living through, or remembering, the type of weather that was elemental to the story.
So, what is your inspiration? Is there something in particular that usually sets you off on a writing spree? Conversations on the commuter train? Scenery or landscapes? Or does it vary? I'm curious.