Greetings, good morning, hello, and redundant salutations! I hereby wish a happy Valentine’s Day to those who have cause to celebrate it. It’s Thursday morning and time for another of my weekly blog posts. We’re almost two-thirds of the way through winter—a term that has only limited meaning here in south Florida—and the approach of springtime is becoming at least a plausible hypothesis.
It’s been a productive week, all things considered, at least for me; I can’t speak for anyone else. On Tuesday morning, I finished the first draft of my latest short story and found I had some time and energy left. I pulled out the half-finished draft of In the Shade, thinking that I would write on it a bit, but then it occurred to me that it and the story I’d just completed were very much in the same sub-genre. I didn’t want to work on them so close together, lest I bore my readers and—even worse—myself. Yet another story I considered writing also was in a vaguely similar vein, though a bit more divergent. Not to be discouraged, I activated my trusty memo app and read through my jotted-down story ideas. There I found one that would make for a nice change of pace. I immediately began writing it, and by yesterday had already produced six pages.
When writing first paragraph of this post, regarding the time of year and today’s holiday, it occurred to me to wonder just why we have a “romantic” celebration during what is, in much of the northern hemisphere, a bitter time of year. Of course, it’s a recently-invented holiday, not one that’s been celebrated back into antiquity in one form or another, as so many of the major holidays have been. Perhaps that’s enough of an explanation. There’s a long, barren stretch of time between New Years and the next big holiday cycle at Easter/Passover, after all (I’m not going to count Saint Patrick’s Day). And, of course, holidays have great commercial value, with seasonal cards and items always dominating the displays of even pharmacies, let alone malls and department stores.
Still, that doesn’t seem quite adequate to explain the day, and especially not the specific type of holiday that it is. The middle of February seems to me an odd time to celebrate romance. I suppose one might say that, in ancestral times, perhaps this was a month in which people tended even more so than usual to huddle together at night for warmth, with a consequent increase in expressions of (ahem) physical affection. But if there is a historical surge in birth rates in roughly the month of November, such as one might expect if that scenario is right, then I haven’t heard of it.
Perhaps I simply don’t know enough about the history of Valentine’s Day even to hazard a guess. Isn’t it officially called “Saint Valentine’s Day”? Was Saint Valentine even a real, formally canonized person, or is he one of those fictional saints one encounters from time to time, like Saint Kitt and Saint Gandalf?
In the era of Google and Wikipedia, I could readily find the answers to these questions if I so chose, and the fact that I haven’t seems to show that I’m not troubled enough to seek them out. Perhaps at some point I will be. For now, though, since my resources of time, memory, and energy are finite, I must be choosy about where I spend them.
The fact that I’m halfway through February (as are all of you, at least at the time of this writing) means that I’m halfway through the minimum duration of my post-draft hiatus on Unanimity. I’ve had little trouble resisting its call so far, mainly because I’ve been writing new stuff. In fact, I may wait until after I’ve finished and edited and published both of my current short stories before getting back to Unanimity…but, then again, I doubt it. For commercial/marketing reasons, I think at most I’ll complete the editing and publishing of one of those two stories, then allow a bit of a lag between it and the publication of the next, so there isn’t too big a gap between the release times of any two new works. Whether or not this matters is difficult for me to tell, but at least it keeps me occupied.
Hmm…this week’s post feels slightly disjointed and unfocused, doesn’t it? That’s okay, though; they can’t all be gems of clarity and unity. Sometimes a blog post is just a chance to get out random thoughts and to share a few minor tidbits of news with people who might be interested. I’m unable to be objective about whether or not a particular form of post is better or worse than others, and opinions and judgments will probably vary from person to person, anyway. You’re welcome to share your thoughts with me. In the meantime, stay warm and, if you’re one of those contemptibly lucky people who have good reason to celebrate Valentine’s Day, enjoy it.