Saturday, April 7, 2012

April is the Cruelest Month

T.S. Eliot’s The Wasteland begins, “April is the cruelest month… mixing memory and desire.”

When I lived in Chicago, where I was born and grew up, I found this to be an accurate assessment of the beginnings of spring. Spring in Chicago is an iffy proposition. Flowers are starting to bloom, but the wind is still often icy and more than once we had a blizzard in April. Not just snow, but inches of the white stuff that sometimes stayed on the ground until May.

Spring was a tease. Spring led you on and then turned its back on you, just when you figured that the icy death of winter was finally over. Let me interject here that you haven’t really experienced winter until you’ve done a Chicago winter, where when I would walk along the lake to my classes at Northwestern, I’d have to wrap a scarf over my mouth so my lips wouldn’t freeze. When I got to the next building, sometimes there’d be tiny icicles where my breath had been. My junior year at NU it was so cold for so long that our sorority house where I lived developed a mouse problem. No small wonder; one escaped its little sticky trap one day and scurried out the door—where it promptly froze to death in the snow before it had moved out of sight.

That’s cold.

Now, here in Houston where people joke that we have four seasons: Summer; still summer; Christmas; almost summer— I find that my memories of Chicago spring are often still metaphors in my writing.

Winter that lasts until almost Memorial Day with spring pushing lightly, mostly impotently to take hold? I see that image in every romance gone sad or bad that I write. Ethan in the DREAMING ANASTASIA series, is I think on some level yearning for a spring of the soul. He’s found it in Anne, but will they end up together? Will they get their Happily Ever After? Or will that blizzard of the heart stop them in their tracks? (You get to find out what happens in ANASTASIA FOREVER, by the way, so just hang on until August 1st!) Hint: I love a good happily ever after!

So yes, Spring influences my writing. I love working with that bittersweet longing for summer.

How about you? How do you feel about Spring?

4 comments:

  1. So glad spring is here early. One year I had a garage sale with my sister-in-law. May 1st, we were getting a few light snowflakes in the early morning. That was not a good spring.

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  2. I've always been more of a summer person...your Houston "seasons" sound fantastic!

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  3. I love spring. But what drives me crazy about it is when you get a warm day followed by cold days. Spring can be such a tease!

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  4. Frozen nose hairs are pretty awful, too. April just zapped us in Iowa with two freezing nights after weeks of warm days. Can't trust this month!

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