I’m a four-seasons kind of person. Having lived most of my life in New England before moving to Pittsburgh at the Eastern end of the Rust Belt, I’ve lived in a climate of four very distinct seasons: damp, gray-and-green springs; hot, incandescent summers; falls marked by shimmering red and gold leaves; and snowy winters meant for fireplaces and hot chocolate. The one time I lived for an extended period of time in another climate (a semester abroad in England in my junior year of college), the seasons presented themselves differently and it threw me off. I am not usually a fan of outdoor snowy activity, but I still love snow. I love the sight of it from behind a window, I love its soft stillness. I arrived in England in January and discovered, rather quickly, that I missed snow.
We all have our seasonal associations, based on the seasons where we grew up and where we live. But I’m often surprised by how little things become associated in my mind with certain seasons. For example, an album I listened to heavily one spring might come back to mind the following spring, and I’ll find myself wanting to listen to it again. And the next thing I know, it’s become a ‘spring’ album. Or maybe there’s a mix CD I made for a road trip, and if I make that journey again, probably at the same time of year, that same CD comes out. I return to stories I’ve written and maybe set aside, unfinished, because I thought about them a great deal on long summer walks or when the brisk autumn winds were starting up, and seeing those things again has reminded me, “Oh yeah! That story I was working on last summer! I should do something about that.”
In certain more obvious ways, the seasons creep into my stories: this one is awash with the brilliant blue skies of summer, so it’s a summer story. That one opens with the protagonist climbing a snowy mountain, and I started writing it one chilly November and into the holidays, and now it’s a winter story. That sort of thing. I have stories for every season, different parts of myself that come out at different times of year.
And now spring is here, which is always a time when my muse becomes antsy and fruitful. I love getting out and writing outside and taking long walks while I chew on various plot points. It’s a time of renewal, and I love it. Flowers are popping up, the days grow milder, and I just can’t wait to jump into something new. I always start so many stories in the spring.
Now, finishing them . . . that’s a whole other story 🙂