Dealing with the February Blues…

I was just reading Lynn Davidson’s blog POLILLA WRITES – (remember Lynn? She wrote that wonderful review of SINKING DEEPER) and she was talking about a rough patch of life that she was going through and how she figured out how to deal with it – and how this winter wasn’t helping all that much.

February is ALWAYS hard. It is the longest and shortest month of the year. This winter is no exception. The flu that is going around is a bad one. There have been a LOT of people off work at my office.

My age doesn’t help either. You hit the stretch of the road and there are a lot more caution signs – DRIVE SLOWLY, BAD ROAD AHEAD – and you begin to receive a few too many phone calls from home. You begin to read the obituaries with a little bit more interest.

This will happen to everybody.

It is part of life. Do not let it get you down.You will adapt to it.

For myself – I have been working on trying to nail down the last few thousand words of a manuscript a whole lot longer than I usually do. Lost a whole morning yesterday to snow shoveling – lost an entire day last weekend to that horrid snowfall. It’s okay – I still remember White Juan – and remembering that hard time when 100 cm of snow fell down in one night and we were out of power for about nine whole days I can tell myself “Hey – at least this winter hasn’t been as bad as that.”

(so far)

That is one of the secret techniques I use to get past the rough points in life.

I try and hold onto the memories of the really rough moments and use them to measure and compare with any trouble I am facing now.

For example – when I was younger I spent a few weeks shoveling fish at the IMO fish plant in Yarmouth. My sister had helped me get the job and I did my best at it. Mostly, I shoveled fish. Every morning I would carry an old battered spade out to the loading dock. I would stand there and watch as a dump truck full of fresh-caught herring was backed up. I watched as they tipped up and dumped the entire load of dead fish onto the concrete. Then I would dive right in and shovel until I saw daylight. I would heave great shovelfuls of fish into these plastic tubs that would then be hauled to the processing line.

It was hard funky work. I was young – maybe eighteen – and this was my first REAL job – and it really reeked. Every day, after I would finish work I would get home and have to strip off at the back door – the fish stink on my clothes was THAT bad.

So – nowadays when ever I hit a rough patch at work – when ever I feel myself dreading the bus ride into the office – I just tell myself “Hey, I could always be shoveling dead fish.”

That helps.

So – that is my advice to anyone who is facing a hard time. Don’t be a Pollyanna about it. Don’t Orphan Annie it out and tell yourself that the sun’ll come out – tomorrow. Rather than that I recommend unearthing the single lousiest crapfest of a memory you can find and say – “Hey – it isn’t half as bad as that – and I lived through it, didn’t I?”

Other than that – exercise helps. Nothing like a little bit of fitness to help put a grin on your kisser.

And folks – don’t take it so hard. February is ALWAYS a rough old month. Heck, my get up and go has got up and went. After writing this blog entry I might have to lie down and just breath slowly. Or maybe I’ll get me some breakfast and a coffee.

Nothing says happy like a good breakfast!

Maybe I’ll even have me some dead fish – or else some fish cakes.

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

PS: you might also want to read that review over at POLILLA WRITES

OR if you are REALLY a glutton for punishment you might want to read my interview.


10 responses to “Dealing with the February Blues…

  1. Steve, I needed that post this morning. And this isn’t the first time I’ve posted this kind of comment on your blog.
    And you made me smile.
    Right. Now off to dredge up the crappiest memory I can think of.


  2. Great post. I’d add that if you happen to be going through the biggest crap fest ever you can sit there thinking, it’s never going to be worse than this… and then, when you don’t sink it feels pretty damn good.




  3. Great picker-upper and you are so right. I will always remember that saying…”I could always be shovelling dead fish.”


  4. I’ve done this many times. In my case, I could be dumping that swill after the tub has been sitting all fishing season. Gosh, that was the worst smell ever. It contained only blood, a bit of guts and whatever else falls off a fish when being plucked for bait. Not something I’d want to smell again.

    This is how I get through winter: always thinking it’s going to get colder, nastier, then all of a sudden, spring is on the doorstep.

    It can always be worse. And thinking like this has improved my attitude regardless of what I’m doing.

    By the way, two shakes of a lamb’s tail and February will be history. Then we’re into what I call the ice month (January cold; February snow; March ice; April rain). 🙂


  5. I’m one of those weirdos that loves February. Because it’s so dismal outside, I don’t have to go out and do all sorts of things, so I can stay home, plant my ass in a chair and write. When all is said and done, I should get over 50K words down on my new novel this month.

    Might be good to shovel some fish just so I can get some cardio in! 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s