February is the longest month of the year, even though it’s
also the shortest month in the year.
Maybe that’s why they stuck it into the middle of the winter, far enough
away from Christmas that the Christmas glow has faded, but not near enough to
the spring season holidays – spring break, Easter, Passover, etc. – that I can look forward to them. It’s a
difficult month in terms of budgets, weather, health and timing.
There are only two major events that come to mind for
February – St. Valentine’s Day and Mardi Gras.
Valentine’s Day is my least favorite holiday/event. During junior high school and high school,
one school club or another would sell carnations as a fund raiser. You bought a carnation to be delivered to
another student of your choice. I have
too many memories of being carnation less year after year after year to take
much joy in the holiday. Those memories
still sting, although you’d think after 40 years they’d start to lose their
power. Mardi Gras, alas, I have never
This year, I suspect that there are many people out in
Texas who agree with me about this being the longest shortest month in the
year. I have watched the news and
listened to stories from my friends that live there with immense pity and
horror. One friend out there told me
that they were all laughing at the governor’s “boil water” order. As she said, “How can we boil water when none
of us have any power to heat it with?”
But in the midst of my curmudgeonly grumping over February
and my empathy for the people in the frozen tundra of Texas, my writer brain
kicks in, and I start wondering what would happen if someone had to encounter,
deal with and investigate a murder in the middle of such extreme weather. And so in the back of my mind, a plot is
spinning, and suddenly February isn’t such a long month after all.
What kind of situations provide grist for your story mill?