February’s always been a weird month for me.
It’s the dead of winter up here in the northeast, with very up and down temperatures and strange weather altogether. During adolescence and up into my early twenties, I used go into an almost-legendary annual February depression. Thinking back on it, I think it was mostly Seasonal Affective problems and hormone issues which collided during the shortest month of the year.
Of course, sometimes depression results in really creative endeavors and ideas–back when I was in college, I kind of ascribed to that weird notion that writers were generally depressive, that creatives were generally depressive–and though I’m fighting off a sore throat/headache/very tired/PMS combo I’ve had for a few days, I am trying my best to feel creative after a few weeks where all I’ve wanted to do is read and sleep. #Hibernation
|Screenshot of the very first blog post I ever wrote|
So, for starters: this blog was born during a February–nine years ago now. How’s that for creative? In the spirit of creativity, I’ve kept the topics I talk about on this thing loose, a chronicle of whatever the heck I’m interested in at the moment.
|Can’t wait til this downloads to my Kindle!|
Valentine’s Day just passed and there was some Internet hoopla about the romance genre. I haven’t been as diligent with continuing my romance outline in the past couple of weeks. I was exceedingly uninspired in that direction.
I’ve been reading romance since I was a pre-teen, right? Historicals have been historically more my jam, but I’ve followed some authors I like–and new-to-me authors–into contemporary romances, too. I have become a devoted listener to the Smart Bitches podcast, where the authors, books, and topics they discuss resonate with me. My series idea takes place in the vibrant and exciting world of Broadway theater, in contemporary New York City.
But I’m the least romantic person on earth. Seriously. I like romantic fiction–romance novels and romantic comedies–but actual real life romance kind of grosses me out. All the stuff that works for me in romantic fiction are things I would find highly suspicious in real life. So, in the last week and a half or so, that niggling doubting voice that every writer knows so well was like, “Why are you trying to write a romance novel?”
“Because I want to. Go away.”
“But what is it you actually like about romance? And anyway, aren’t you super sleepy? Go hibernate.” (This may be worthy of an entirely different post since my own ideas of why I like romantic fiction, why I gravitate towards it, and what I think of its tropes and characters have evolved over the decades.)
I’m feeling inspired again in that direction…because of the Olympics.
So, there’s this Canadian ice dancing couple–Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir–who have been ice dancing partners since they were children. They’re known for their great skating and passionate programs. They have a program set to the music of Moulin Rouge! and it’s fantastic. They’ve known each other forever and have a tendency to act kind of couple-y, though they say they’re platonic friends.
(I know the acting in love is part of the routine. Still, I ship ’em)
I’m not the only one on the romance readers and writers parts of Twitter who watched them and went “Oh yeah I remember them from four years ago…what do you mean they’re not in a relationship?!” But anyway, this has caused me to fall down a YouTube rabbit hole of Virtue and Moir and reignited my itch to get back to my romance novel outline.
|Ubasute no tsuki by Yoshitoshi|
I’ve also revived a short story I started last year and let lapse–it’s one of my darker disturbing short stories. I had a ton of fun writing the creepy “Haunted Lake.” When my friend Emily mentioned on Twitter that she wanted to write something revolving around older women, witches, and folk tales, I remember thinking of the (probably apocryphal) legends of Japanese grandmas being taken to the forest during times of hardship–so that their families wouldn’t have to feed them. I started a story in that vein late last year and I turned back to it earlier this month ’cause it just fit my mood better.
I like that it fits the hibernating February mood I’ve been in. Plus, watching that Irish Potato Famine episode of Victoria two weeks ago has given me yet another potential idea for a creepy, somewhat dark short story.