Image Credit: Images created in Book Brush using Pixabay/Pexels photos.
Is January your favourite time of the year? It isn’t mine. If I had to choose, I would be torn between March and September as I love spring and autumn equally.
A Messy Month
The reason for my lack of enthuasism is because January can be a “messy” month. If you want proof, just head over to Hiltingbury Recreation Ground right now. The word “mud” doesn’t seem adequate! Not that Lady minds… January is the month for washing lots of muddy dog towels and playing a great game with Lady of trying to clean her up before she gives me a great big cuddle, muddy paw prints everywhere. Sometimes I win that one…
January, of course, takes its name from Janus, the Roman God of Beginnings, who had two faces. One looked forwards, the other backwards. Yet January has not always been the start of a new year. March 25th used to be the start of the New Year.
That said, I think January does have the unenviable record of having some of the bleakest, wettest, and most miserable weather of the whole year. Yet right at the beginning of the month, it is celebrated. Indeed on New Year’s Eve, it is looked forward to (though not by me as I prefer a decent night’s sleep to watching the clock strike twelve. I figure time can carry on perfectly well without me observing it).
January has its uses though. It is the time to think about the year ahead and work out what you would like to achieve during the course of it. It is the time to plan out the year by month or by quarter. For example, by this coming spring, I would like to have my third flash fiction collection submitted so that is a tangible goal to work towards.
I also think it seems to be the longest month of the year. Who hasn’t wondered how long January will keep going for as we do get towards the end of it? The four and a bit weeks of January can seem to drag and February flies by. Mind you it is probably the bleakness of the weather that encourages this feeling.
On a more positive note, the evenings will start to get lighter. My other half and I tend to notice this when we’re out on our evening walks with Lady. We usually spot the lighter evenings from mid-January onwards, depending on the weather.
I’m sure you’re aware that practically every day of the year has something “attached” to it. Here are some for January.
January 19th to 25th – Hunt for Happiness Week
This seems to be an American idea, though I do wonder if this is timed deliberately given the third Monday in January is supposed to be the most depressing day of the year and is known as Blue Monday. I don’t know if there really is a Blue Monday though given the dark evenings, the bleak weather, and the brightness of Christmas being behind us, I could understand this.
Incidentally in Canada, this same week is also given over to National Non-Smoking Week! I guess the ones trying that probably aren’t feeling overly happy though I wish them well with their endeavours.
But my favourite “day” has to be on January 27th. Why? Because I think this is one many of us will have some sympathy for.
January 27th – Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day!
I am not making this one up. Honest! Having said that this one seems to be a kind of “movable feast” as I found dates relating to it from 25th January right through to the end of the month. Maybe there should be an entire week of appreciating bubble wrap and have done. And yes I have popped bubble wrap in my time!
Mind you, there does seem to have been a bit of a kickback against days having things associated with them. Did you know January has a National Nothing Day?
Signs of Spring
Even I accept January does have a positive side to it. I usually spot the very early signs of spring being on its way towards the end of the month and it is always nice looking out for my snowdrops to emerge. What I kind of dread is when we have a sustained period of mild weather, the birds start nesting, more flowers come up and then a sharp cold spell comes in. January can be the month of the nasty surprise.
In many ways the time of year doesn’t matter here. In some ways the darker evenings help. I have longer at my desk. But an important part of writing, the unseen side of it if you like, is to “feed” your imagination.
Reading widely and across genres is a good idea here but so is getting out and about, funnily enough. So now is the time to plan trips out (Covid permitting) which might help with your writing later on. This is more obviously applicable to non-fiction writers but fiction authors can do this too.
If you’re writing a novel with a setting in a historical dockyard, for example, it might pay you to plan a visit to Portsmouth’s one for background research. And don’t forget virtual tours if you, understandably, don’t fancy getting out and about in January!
Historical Events in January
Naturally there are plenty of these which could inspire articles or stories. See the link.
I was immediately attracted to January 6th 1066 when Harold Godwin was elected to be the next King of England by the Witan. That turned out well… not.
But, as well as writing a factual piece about that, you could write stories about characters who witnessed this event and then went on to witness Hastings later on in the year. What would your fictional characters make of all of this? So don’t forget lists like this can be useful for inspiring writing ideas. (And if you’re stuck indoors during a dark, wet, and cold January, you may as well jot down as many good ideas for stories and articles as you can – it will be productive at least!).
A Great Start to the Year?
I thought so. Why? Because I loved Eve of the Daleks, the Doctor Who special which was shown on 1st January. (I was lucky enough to be given at Christmas a classical music CD, yes I still play those, based on TV themes and music used in adverts etc. Delighted to hear the whole DW theme on here).
I’ve liked Jodie Whittaker’s portrayal of the Doctor (and I liked the Master becoming Missy too. Thought Michelle Gomez was excellent in this). Looking forward to seeing more of the show later on in the year and to see who becomes the new Doctor too. I don’t watch much TV now and watch even less of it live but Doctor Who remains an exception.
I definitely have to make myself look for the highlights in January. Highlights are easier to come by in the spring and autumn when there is beauty to be seen in the natural world. January is not the prettiest month but I guess without the dormant time, there is no growth and natural beauty to enjoy later on.
It is just a pity January seems to go on for ages though!
Read blog posts by Allison Symes published on Chandler’s Ford Today.
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