February, the shortest month of the year! The coldest two weeks of the year in my area; I’m sure some of our southern-hemi friends find it the most miserable hot days of the year. So short, yet so packed with inspiration for writing!
First up, Groundhog Day in the US. It’s come and gone, but if the groundhog sees its shadow on Feb. 2, it’s supposed to get scared, run back to its hole, and there will be six more weeks of winter. If it’s cloudy, though, the groundhog will play around, and there will be an early spring.
This reminds us that it’s fun to play with opposites in a story. Does our heroine have a terrible, awful life, and then get hit by a car, only to wake up as Queen of the Vampires (MaryJanice Davidson, Undead and Unwed)? Or does she have a happy, sunny life, suddenly get pelted with unsuitable suitors who make her life miserable, but after six weeks of BS (OK, six months or so), discover that one of the suitors loves her deeply and would rescue her wayward sister for her . . . and she loves him (Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice)?
Ready? Set? Let’s fly into February! (Image via Wikimedia Commons)
I often feel like January is a recovery month – it takes 31 days to catch up on the sleep I lose on New Year’s Eve, and I’m often busy trying new resolutions to improve my diet, exercise, career, housekeeping and writing practices, which in turn, leads to recovering from too much fiber, muscle strain, brain strain, dust allergies and . . . and luckily, no adverse effects from the writing.
February is full of fun little days that have produced big stories. February 2 is Groundhog Day, the day a small mammal predicts the weather and future happiness. I’ve discussed the movie Groundhog Day a couple of times on the blog, as a metaphor for re-writing, and a meditation about how a wretched character (Phil, the weatherman) re-invents himself as a being worthy of loving and capable of love.
February 3 is Setsubun, the Japanese holiday about driving out demons called oni and generally getting rid of what doesn’t serve you. The tradition is that you throw beans while yelling, “Demons out! Good luck in!” Then you pick up all the beans, and eat as many beans as your years on earth. Side bonus: the wise demon-exorcist will vacuum all the corners of the house so the beans don’t get dusty. The wily Hokkaido pioneer will use peanuts in the shell to Continue reading →
Is it in his protective stance? Is it in his quick thinking? Or is it in that adorable curly hair? How do you know when it’s love? (Via Wikimedia)
One of the fun things about blogging is hearing different points of views. When I did my pieceon Groundhog Day, I got to see that in action, and I could “see” from those points of view for a little bit. A nice little vacation from my own brain!
I had to agree with Kay that Andie MacDowell is not my favorite actress, and that her character, Rita, was a bit dishraggy. Ie: limp and wet, without much agency. I think Jilly pointed this out, too. It’d be a better story (maybe) if Rita had more power and characterization – but it also might be a different story. The point of Groundhog Day is that many of us live the same days over and over again, without much satisfaction. How can we break that cycle? Rita was part of the cycle, not part of the solution. And I think that’s the way this story has to go. Change must come from within, at least in this story.
Warm Bodies (copyright 2013 Summit Entertainment LLC)
How was your Valentine’s Day? Are you still in a haze of happy, suffering a love hangover, or glad it’s over for another year?
Michaeline was in the spotlight here yesterday, and she celebrated with a smorgasbord of love letters and an exhortation to share the love in a broader sense. I like that idea, and since the Ladies have been all about love at the movies lately, I’m going to share my passion for the brilliant 2013 zombie rom-com Warm Bodies.
Stay with me, please, even if zombies aren’t your cup of tea. I’m choosing this movie as my Valentine’s weekend recommendation because the entire story is about the importance of love. It’s a zombie Romeo and Juliet – a darkly humorous romance in which a cute guy (loosely speaking) falls for a cute girl from a community (species?) that’s at war with his – but it successfully gives the legendary story the happy ending I long for every time I see the play, or ballet, or musical. The hero and heroine find true love together, reconcile their warring communities, and act as a catalyst for a lasting change that saves the world. That’s one mighty hit of happy. Continue reading →
If it were a straight line, it wouldn’t be beautiful, and it wouldn’t be a heart. There’s a certain satisfaction in working through the loops, and arriving back where we started. (Via Wikimedia Commons)
Groundhog Dayis one of my favorite movies, and I’m trying to establish it as a personal February tradition. Obnoxiously cocky weatherman Phil Connors gets stuck in a time loop that repeats Feb. 2 over and over — perhaps for thousands of years, alternative time. He eventually becomes a good person, wins the love of his producer, Rita, and breaks out of the holding pattern.
This year, I wanted to think about the role love plays in this movie.
My first, standard thought was, “This movie is about Phil’s journey to learning to love, and be lovable.” Sounds good, right? But then, inspired by Elizabeth’s post, I decided to meditate in some hot water. The question came to me, “What did Phil do to make himself lovable?”
“Maybe it’s all about self-esteem?” The thought floated through my head like a bubble on the surface of the bath. “Bingo! Of course it is!” Just like Whitney Houston sings, learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all, right?
Note to self: deep thoughts that can be condensed into pop lyrics are a little suspicious. Continue reading →
Here’s looking at you, kid. (Mary Pickford, 1916, Via Wikimedia Commons)
Movie season is here, and one of my goals for February is to watch a film each weekend. I thought I’d use the hive mind at Eight Ladies Writing to help brainstorm a list of good movies.
Here’s what I’m looking for:
1) Something educational. What did it teach you about the craft of writing?
2) Romance is a bonus.
3) Spaceships or ghosts are another bonus.
4) Set in 1899 in New York City and includes a masquerade ball is a triple bonus with ice cream (-:.
Have you seen anything good lately that fulfills any of the above?