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 →