February is the worst.
Sorry. Did I already start a post that way? I think I may have. Yeah. Well.
I was thinking the other day that really, as a storyteller, this ought to be my favorite time of year. The cold has driven us all inside. There’s nothing left to do but huddle around the fire and tell stories. In ancient days that’s how they survived the winter. Mugs of ale, crackling fire, animal skins, and a minstrel or bard to keep everyone from killing each other. Not much has changed. I should be in my glory.
Just one problem. I really, really hate being cold. It freezes my brain as well as my toes.
You know those minstrels did all their song-writing in the summer, walking by streams and eating fruit from orchards, and then saved them up for the winter months. I’m pretty sure they had the right idea.
BUT!! We have tools available to us that bards of old did not. When we can’t go outside and find flowers and waterfalls to inspire us we can open our magic boxes and let the internet take us away.
- Look! Someone is doing something creative and different! Red Rocket Farm is telling stories with illustrations one frame a day. You can follow it over time at the blog or on their Facebook page. They just finished up a story, and you can read the whole thing at once now, but here’s hoping a new one starts soon, and we’ll get a little something new to look forward to every day.
- I’m obsessed with titling these days (mostly because I’m terrible at it). I’ve been struggling for months to come up with a title for my fourth book, and then this morning my husband suggested the perfect one on the first try. I simultaneously love him and want to strangle him. But I comfort myself with Steinbeck: “I have never been a title man. I don’t give a dam [sic] what it is called.” (This in a discussion of what to call East of Eden, which is a perfect title. Read the article. It’s fascinating.)
- This. This is NOT a good title.
- Speaking of titles, this is the best name for an instagram account ever. It’s a pretty cool concept, too.
- When we’re too cold to make up our own stories, there are always books. I keep hearing wonderful things about Station 11. Waiting on my library copy with a great degree of impatience.
- And I know I’m not the only one who’s got “re-read To Kill a Mockingbird” on their to-do list right now. I CAN NOT wait for Harper Lee’s new book. Have you seen the cover? When you’re this good, you can keep it as simple as you like.
- This about says it all. And I’m proud to say, I’ve heard it from my daughter about a million times now, too. My work here is done.
- For some serious inspiration to create, read the transcript of Bob Dylan’s acceptance speech at the Grammy’s. So many emotions. The thrill of hearing him say his songs all came flowing out of the immense amount of music he had imbibed over the years. (I knew my “need” to read wasn’t just an excuse.) A little guilt over how many times I’ve criticized his voice. (But really…) And some laughs, too:
Critics have made a career out of accusing me of having a career of confounding expectations. Really? Because that’s all I do. That’s how I think about it. Confounding expectations.
“What do you do for a living, man?”
“Oh, I confound expectations.”
- And a final laugh for your day. I never get tired of these.
Have a great week, everyone, and heads high. March will be here soon.