I like to align a lot of my writing with the seasons, since I take a lot of inspiration from nature. Spring is usually a challenge for me, as I prefer darker themes and imagery. How do you make sunshine and budding flowers scary? I might be able to take some tips from a hugely successful horror movie that premiered in March. Jordan Peele’s Us featured warm weather, picturesque settings, and children. Peele contrasts these elements with dark tunnels, and a nighttime confrontation between the protagonist’s family and terrifying, murderous versions of themselves. I can also take literary inspiration from some classic short stories. Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper is centered around a sunny room. And of course, Shirely Jackson’s famously unsettling The Lottery, detailing the horrifying tradition of a small New England town each June. What’s your favorite springtime scare?
March is all about watching for spring while it rains, waiting under fresh sheets with a cup of tea and a good book. Every flower bloom, leaf bud, and sunny day is cause for excitement. March Writing Prompts Cold morningsWhisper Shakespeare to mePale sunlightThe meadows bloomPressed flowersThe leaves begin to peekStrolls along the riverPlanting a tea gardenCrisp linenWildflowers return
The middle of February is usually the point in time when I become completely sick of winter. Peaceful winter quiet and poetic bare trees seem to transform overnight into a cold gray deathscape that I desperately want to escape. To get through the last few weeks of winter weather, I’ve found some sunny, spring themed ASMR videos on YouTube to hold me over.
I’ve been sorting through a box of old mementos and photos for a massive scrapbooking project, and along with some old poetry, I’ve also stumbled on some old art projects and other artifacts from my childhood. It’s funny how you can forget about an object until you see it again, and then a whole flood of memories come back. This sketch and painting was a high school art class assignment where we chose a picture from a pile, and sketched it upside down. We then chose one color, and painted the same picture upside down using different shades of that one color. I remember feeling so proud when my art teacher told me I had chosen well when I selected blue.
If you haven’t seen this video of a lawyer struggling to get rid of a kitten zoom filter yet, you must. I laughed until I cried the first time I watched it, particularly when the hapless lawyer suggests he is will to continue with the filter on, stammering, “I’m here live, I’m just not a cat.” I also wanted to share the presiding judge’s kind words, tweeted after the mishap: “These fun moments are a by-product of the legal profession’s dedication to ensuring that the justice system continues to function in these tough times. Everyone involved handled it with dignity, and the filtered lawyer showed incredible grace. True professionalism all around!”
I’m not a fan of most romance novels and movies. I just don’t tend to gravitate towards the average contemporary love story. Add in some gothic elements though, a creaky haunted mansion, elaborate Victorian costumes, or a moody protagonist, and I’m interested. February Writing Prompts The night beckonsBlack silk skirts sweeping the floorEnshroudedDamask curtains pulled shutMurmurs in the darkCrimson rosesTwin flamesA piercing gazeThe brush of a cold handWaltzing in the moonlight
Imbloc is a pagan Celtic holiday that marks the midpoint of winter equinox and spring solstice. Observed from sundown on the first through sundown on the second, it’s considered a time to celebrate the growing warmth of the sun. Ancient pagans would celebrate with festivals featuring large bonfires, special food, and divination. Performing a spring cleaning was also an important tradition. In the US, it feels like we are celebrating a little early. Watching last week’s presidential inauguration, I felt such a warm sense of relief. The pandemic may not be over, and nothing concrete has changed overnight, but I feel as though an era of stress and uncertainty has ended. Since last week, so many harmful policies have been reversed. New plans to fight the pandemic are being put in place. And thanks to Amanda Gorman, poetry is being valued in a way it hasn’t been in a really long time.
I love horror movies and thrillers set in winter. In some of the best, the winter weather can act as a second antagonist, trapping the hero of the movie. In others, it offers up gorgeous cinematography to serve as a poetic back drop for the story to unfold in. Below are some of my favorites, I’d love to hear about yours. Fargo The Cohen brothers set their thriller/black comedy in Minnesota during the late 80s, and use the expanse of long roads and barren, snowy landscapes in between cities and towns to their advantage. I’ve never seen headlights used as a plot device so well. Insomnia Unlike the rest of the movies on this list, much of Insomnia’s atmosphere relies on the perpetual daylight of summer in Alaska. It haunts Al Pacino’s weary detective relents as he hunts an unsettlingly friendly suspected serial killer. The Shining Based on the classic horror novel by Stephen King, the remote Overlook hotel that provides the setting for the film has an interesting duality. It is both a sanctuary …
For me, early January usually provides some welcome quiet after the holidays are over. Granted, they were much quieter in 2020, but it’s still nice to put all of the decor away and settle back into a quiet routine. Evening walks, bedtime yoga, and of course, more writing. Writing Prompts Return your tree to the wildLovely, dark, and deepMidnight blueFresh snowBare branchesSilent and stillPale lights in the nightQuarter moonA wild crownThe scent of weather turning
Every December I read the same article by David Wong from cracked.com, 6 Harsh Truths That Will Make You a Better Person, to get myself motivated for the new year and set goals. He originally wrote it in 2012, and since then it has received over 25 million views, and cracked.com has been reposting every year since. The part that always resonated with me the most is this quote: I’m asking what do you offer? Are you smart? Funny? Interesting? Talented? Ambitious? Creative? OK, now what do you do to demonstrate those attributes to the world? That was my resolution from last year, more demonstrating. More submitting, more improving, more doing. COVID-19 really put a damper on my goals, but I tried to take small steps here and there. One of my baby steps landed right, and two of my poems were published in an anthology earlier this fall. So that’s my resolution this year, to keep taking any little steps forward towards my goals that I can. Do you have any big goals for 2021? Any small …