Wednesday, January 30, 2008

February Impressions

What does a writer write about when she’s not feeling particularly inspired to write about anything at all?

Well… uh, nothing. She doesn’t write much of anything. And then she gets the idea that it’s time to change the name of her monthly column from Every Day Is Mother’s Day to Confessions of a Blonde Writer. After that, she draws yet another blank and she reaches for her calendar to see what is going on in the next month.

For a cold, short month, February is certainly loaded with holidays—Groundhog’s Day, President’s Day, Lincoln’s Birthday, Washington’s Birthday, Valentine’s Day, Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday, Chinese New Years (Happy Year of the Rat!) Leap Years Day, Black History Month… Why should such a short month have more special days than say August? August really doesn’t have any internationally known holidays, does it? Why is pipsqueak little arctic-like February hogging them all? Cough one up!

There seem to be no reasons for these sorts of things—like there are no reasons why poor February winds up with only 28 days most years and 29 this year just for the heck of it. Yeah, yeah, I know. There’s a perfectly legitimate excuse for why we add an extra day to February every four years—something about the earth’s rotation around the sun and the year not being quite 365 days. Sure, but why do we have to have 365 days in a year anyway? Why not 182 and ½? There’s no law saying the year has to be certain length is there?

Thirty days hath September,
April, June and November.
All the rest have thirty-one.
Except for Leap Year—that’s the time
When February’s days turn twenty-nine.

These things race through a blonde writer’s head when she’s under a deadline, and she can’t think of anything in particular to write for her monthly column. Sure, she could revert back to the funny bits about Valentine prezzies that didn’t quite say “romance” and the dangers of gorging on chocolate, but those topics have all been done to death. There’s got to be something original to say about February, right?

What about not concentrating on the shortness of the month or the multitude of the holidays or the silly heart-shaped boxes of candy and dozens of roses? Let’s just look at the month itself: In the northern hemisphere, it’s mid-winter, usually the coldest time of the year. Kids really don’t get a vacation from school for any of these holidays, but they occasionally get snow days off. And if you’re lucky enough to be born on Leap Day… Well, you only celebrate a birthday every four years.

Now that I’m middle-aged that actually sounds pretty good to me. Every four years you have a legitimate excuse to party hard—you might even received four times the average number of gifts, too?

March brings spring, and in its own peculiar way February brings hope. Hope that it’s only a short time left in the harshness of winter before the warmth and promise of spring arrives. Perhaps that’s its biggest contribution to the calendar after all. Short and sweet as those heart-shaped Valentine message candies, February is about hope, hope that all these holidays will sweep us happily and healthily into the rest of the year. (Editor’s note: Chocolate has been declared a health food, by the way. It’s one of the major food groups now… It ranks up there right under ice cream above fruits and veggies. Honest.)

And, now that the Blonde Writer has made it through the first column of her newly renamed blog site, she feels somewhat more inspired. She might get through those book edits in her inbox after all… in a few weeks’ time. The muse, once lulled asleep by stress and constant life change in the last year, takes a bit of rousing to get back on track. But hopefully come the shortest month next year, she’ll have found her writing rhythm once more, and, as they say in the fairy tales, “She lives happily ever after."

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