The Season of Creativity

This winter has been exceptionally cold in many parts of the States, so cold in fact that the words polar vortex will, from now on, describe arctic like winters. Miserable for the people, these icy days offered gorgeous winter photos opportunities.

Instead of frigid temperatures many Europeans countries have survived rainfalls that turned into legendary floods.

Ask anyone from the United Kingdom and from my native France. They were ready to build a new Noah’s Ark.

After such winters, the expectation for spring is high and almost palpable.

I feel it through the posts that land in my inbox.

Clean as a freshly plowed piece of land, hopeful as a calf standing up, promising as the first daffodils, these blog posts carry the signs of change and hope.

In the end, spring is all about the awakening of nature.

More subtle here in California, spring is sometimes so fugitive than most people will tell you that we have one rainy and one dry seasons.

The geography of a new country is rarely considered to be a destabilizing factor in the life of an immigrant.

And yet the decoding of the American landscape, its vastness and brutal weather patterns in comparison to France, have been for me as challenging and fascinating as the discovery of a new culture and the acquisition of a new language.

This year winter came early in the Sierra, accompanied by unusual November snowstorms that we misinterpreted for an upcoming rainy season.

L1000847

In fact, this winter has been very dry, and drought has a mean paw.

Premature life.

photo-84

Premature death.

photo-132

Although Yosemite has received very little precipitation, Glacier Road and Tioga Pass, the two roads that give access to the most interesting parts of the park, are still closed. So while the energy of spring bounces off blogs, I tame my impatience until my next hike in the high country.

SAM_0278

Spring, associated with un-cluttering, cleaning, and cleansing, is also a time of evaluation for artists and writers.

Mixed reviews accompany the assessment of my personal winter writing.

I am a winter child, born late in the year, and I do my best work during the short, dark days of winter. When winter has only been a word on the calendar I feel cheated.

The publication of my middle grade novel is delayed, mostly because of jobs’ obligations that stole more time and energy that I had anticipated, but also because I never felt quite anchored to the season.

Now that I reflect on the impact of seasons on human creativity, I am less surprised that it took me time to choose a title for this novel. In the end it is not coincidental that I decided on A Year in Château Roche.

Despite the absence of winter and an elusive spring in California, summer will come. This year, for the first time ever, all of my children will be studying and working away from home during the months of July and August.

This realization fills me with unexpected hope.

Could the long, sunny days of summer replace the short, dark days of a missed winter?

Now, tell me…

Did you take advantage of snow days to work on specific projects or has this unusual winter had a toll on your creativity?

Do seasons impact your creative work and your life in general?

Comments

  1. Coincidental or not, your topic on the seasons has been on my mind. This is the first (metaphorical) winter (in So. Cal it’s just days) that my writing has gone into semi-hibernation.
    Usually, winter is my writing time. It could be because I have been back and forth from Colorado to Calif. three times this winter, from snow to no snow, that this has occurred. Best thing to do is ride it out and look forward to spring.
    Love your photos!

    • Good to read you, Mona. Hope that you and I will have a productive spring writing season. As for the photos, California, despite the lack of precipations, is still a photogenic state, so I don’t have to do much!

  2. I don’t know if I could adapt to the weather in California. I lived for several years in Seattle, where the seasons slowly blend into each other. I missed the sharp distinction of four separate seasons. That said, this winter in New England has been cold. I don’t mind snow, but I am looking forward to warm days. I always tend to write more in the winter, and do more wood working and home improvement work in the warmer months, This year will be a challenge for me as I hope to be able to sustain the pace of writing along with the other stuff. I fear for my readers that that means blog posts about home repair 🙂 I hope you are able to make the transition as I enjoy reading your work.

    • Thank you, Dan for your visit. When I lived in Massachusetts, although we went through two hard winters, I loved the distinct seasons very much and missed them when we returned to California. As for your posts about home repair, bring them on: I will pass them to my husband if they get too technical. I hope to keep up with my blog and other writing over the summer too.

  3. Hi Evelyne,

    Yes, I am ten times more productive with writing and writing projects in winter. It’s actually my best time for creativity to flow. That’s why I started my very first blog ten days ago. Haha!

    We still have a couple feet of snow here in New England and it’s quite chilly. Been a long, long stretch of yucky weather.

    Hoping for some nice warm days soon! 😀

    ~Cathy~

    • Winter seems to be a favorite for writers. There is something unique between the darker days, the coziness of a home and also the warm tea or coffee, that trigger the desire to stay in and write. I send you some California warmth to melt your New England snow.

  4. Autumn and winter are my favourite times – I see these as dreaming times, when we incubate ideas ready for the spring growing season. I’ve definitely felt the absence of a real winter in the UK – we’ve escaped the flooding in the north and winter has been very nondescript. So far, spring has been much more interesting – in bloom already, but not quite there yet.

  5. I like your comparison between autumn/winter and dreaming times and also how you weave the seasons and nature in general through your blog. Thank you for stopping by.

  6. Bonjour Evelyne !
    Chez nous en France l’hiver a été exceptionnellement doux et clément, ce qui me va bien, et pourtant…ce n’est peut-être pas très bon signe, hélas !On risque de voir proliférer des maladies et parasites au jardin, pucerons et autres petites bestioles, contre lesquelles je vais essayer de protéger mes salades en douceur et proprement; advienne que pourra ! Oui, je préfère les beaux jours, longs, tièdes, lumineux; c’est surtout de la lumière dont j’ai besoin. C’est pour ça que j’ai tapissé la cuisine en jaune tournesol !!!Pour avoir du soleil toute l’année ! Mais si l’hiver a été doux, il a plu beaucoup, et ça c’est bien, malgré les inondations ( dont les conséquences sont dues souvent à l’inconséquence des hommes qui bâtissent sans réfléchir ! )

    • Merci pour cette visite, lectrice de campagne. J’ai toujours été proche de la nature et j’adore les changements de saison. J’aime la Californie mais les différences sont parfois inexistantes, et cette année nous n’avons pas eu d’hiver du tout. Oui, il a beaucoup plu en France et pas fait assez froid. Dixit ma famille en Normandie. Bonne idée de tapisser de jaune sa cuisine. Bon printemps et merci encore pour m’avoir lue en anglais.

  7. Uncle Spike says:

    No snow days here at all, ever… but seasons really do dictate my work all year round.

  8. Thanks so much for linking to my ‘daffodil’ post Evelyne! I love your post here, you put everything that I feel about life as an immigrant, living in California, and the way the different climate/weather impacts us as we live and learn to acclimatise ourselves to everything so eloquently.
    I’m guessing you live closer to Yosemite than I did? Yosemite is one of the most beautiful places on earth I’ve ever been too, its majestic and raw beauty is awe-inspiring, to say the least!
    I do find that the winter months give rise to more creativity, here at least, but it was so hot in the day where we lived in California that we were shut away in air conditioned buildings so I found that I took that time to work on my projects too. The climate plays a huge part I think, as you say, for writers and artists.

    • Thank you, Sherri for stopping by. Yes, I live close to Yosemite, which explains the photos I post regularly when I hike the park. The summer heat that pushes us inside can indeed offers possibility for creative projects. That’s my hope for this year in order to catch up with the writing goals I missed during this absent winter.

  9. Yes, I am very tired of winter… and I’m not even all that far north. Wishing you sunshine,
    teagan

  10. I understand that for most of us winter has been brutal and far too long. I send you sunshine because today is another sunny day here in California. I just heard that drops of rain could make their way to my home. We’ll see… Thank you for visiting me, Teagan.

  11. Always a toll on me…always. I, also, was born in winter, but winter drags on me and my daily life.

    ✿♥ღ Linda
    http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com

  12. This is interesting, I never really took notice as to my most productive time. It just flows until I am blocked and then I wait. The last time this happened I started taking photos, and waiting. I don’t feel like I am waiting any more, it seemed to have come back!

    • Thank you, jazzytower. We are all different and your approach is great. I like the change of seasons for the sense of renewal and these changes are more subtle in California where we get so much sunshine and so little rain. This year was especially dry and mild. But next time I will follow your advice! Actually now, like you, I am back to a more productive state of mind.

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