Winter Muse

I’ve always been fascinated by winter. I’m not sure why.  Maybe because I was born during the month of January.  It could be because my parents were from northern Minnesota or that their ancestors all hailed from northern Europe.  From my Wisconsin childhood, I recall snowbound winters and a few temperatures of 30 below, not wind chill. Whatever the reason for my fascination, even though I most enjoy the crisp, colorful months of autumn, I feel most at home in winter.

This year I should be ecstatic.  Winter has walloped the land with blast after blast of vicious storms.  The wicked weather has caused schools and highways to close. On ice-coated highways cars crash, and trucks jackknife.  Downed power lines send tens of thousands into the black, cold night of an earlier time.  Not good, but I never said that I liked winter, simply that it fascinates me.

I grew up hearing stories about the deep snows and blizzards of Minnesota.  My grandparents and great-grandparents were farmers. In their youth on the northern plains, they had no central heat. Indoor plumbing consisted of a kitchen sink with running water. As a child, my mother attended a one-room schoolhouse where they warmed wet mittens and cold lunches on the wood burning stove. Imagine the smells created by that steamy mixture.

Maybe its because of these true stories that many of my own fictional tales are mainly set during the winter months.  To me, the season signifies a time of change, and of conflict.  In historical works especially, life is a continual struggle. While the primary trouble in my stories is always between people, winter provides a great background.  It adds conflict to an already conflicted tale.

Weather of any kind helps to set a mood in stories.  It adds to the realism.  It can be the gentle touch of a spring rain, the glaring heat of July’s sun, or the whipping winds of winter.  Generally, winter works best for me.

Writers, think of your own stories.  Do you have a recurring season that inspires your work?  Please share. 

5 thoughts on “Winter Muse

  1. Dear Deb,

    Living in Wisconsin is a blessing for writing. We joke about the six months of winter, but the truth is we have four glorious seasons and if I get in a rut seasonally speaking, they change and I change with each turn.

    I think the clear change of seasons also keeps time in mind. Every change is a season older, perhaps wiser, a gentle reminder that ties to our elders are more fragile and those bonds require tender care and attention even as the pace of life quickens.

    I love summer for writing, which is counter-intuitive because of all the activities our family does away from home. I think it has to do with raising and tending my gardens. My flowers and herbs bring me joy and seem to spark creativity as well as a sense of wellness and peace.

    Happy Writing and Thanks for this thoughtful post.

    Leigh Morgan

    • Thank you for your comments, Leigh. I agree about Wisconsin, with the changing seasons. Pennsylvania isn’t much different now although I think WI is more extreme in winter. Deeper snow, maybe.

      Summer for writing…it sounds like the nurturer in you is coming out. Gardens, family, books. 🙂 I’d love to get back into gardening. Digging in the dirt is so satisfying. Perhaps when I retire. Thanks again for stopping by!

  2. Wonderful blog piece, Deb. I assume you didn’t have schools open yesterday? 🙂

    Photos were pretty spectacular also.

    What’s my favorite season? Fall, I think as it tends to be gorgeous in WI. Winter has its moments but right now, I’m not quite sure what they are.

    • Schools were closed both Tuesday and Wednesday this week. So many snow days means we’ll be open well into June. Wise calls though. It’s treacherous out there! It does make for beautiful pictures though.

      I love the fall also, but always seem to write about winter. The dark side of me coming out, I guess.

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