Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Groundhog Day History and the Writer Take Two

Kim Watters on Groundhog Day-Take Two.

Isn't Punxsutawney Phil cute?

Because of our wonderful Valentine's story, my blog was postponed for a month. Being the type of writer who hates to delete things, I'm revising it and reposting. Gee, the story of a writer's life.

Well, it's been a month now, has Spring sprung yet? I don't believe Phil saw his shadow so what's with the weather? We had snow in North Phoenix over the weekend!

For those of you who don't know, the following is a bit of history of how the day began.

(Adapted from "Groundhog Day: 1886 to 1992" by Bill Anderson) Credit given to The Official Punxsutawney Groundhog Club

European Roots

Groundhog Day, February 2nd, is a popular tradition in the United States. It is also a legend that traverses centuries, its origins clouded in the mists of time with ethnic cultures and animals awakening on specific dates. Myths such as this tie our present to the distant past when nature did, indeed, influence our lives. It is the day that the Groundhog comes out of his hole after a long winter sleep to look for his shadow.

If he sees it, he regards it as an omen of six more weeks of bad weather and returns to his hole.

If the day is cloudy and, hence, shadowless, he takes it as a sign of spring and stays above ground.

The groundhog tradition stems from similar beliefs associated with Candlemas Day and the days of early Christians in Europe, and for centuries the custom was to have the clergy bless candles and distribute them to the people. Even then, it marked a milestone in the winter and the weather that day was important.

As a writer I can relate to poor Phil.

We hibernate as we write our manuscripts, venturing out only when we have to to eat or do laundry or other tasks that keep the household running. We slave away in our dark, little caves, churning out page after page of wonderful prose destined to meet with editorial and reader approval.

And then comes the revision letter.

If it's an easy one, (no shadow), we can emerge from our caves and enjoy life a bit more as the winter season has passed.

If it's a complicated one, (shadow), we scurry back into our caves for a few more weeks of a writing frenzy until we can emerge again and enjoy the spring.

As for this writer, I just emerged from my cave for a bit, waiting for my editor's reply.

5 comments:

  1. Groundhog Day always makes remember my favorite movie by that name! One time my then middle school-aged daughter and I sat through it twice one Saturday night when the "boys" in the family were gone.:-) FUN!!

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  2. Hi Kim:

    The writer as a groundhog.

    I love it!

    BTW: Do you give career day talks at your kid’s school? : )

    Vince

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  3. I love that movie, too. Now that you mention it, I'll have to rent it again and watch with the kids. Thanks for stopping by Vince. :) right back at you. They don't have career days per se at my kids' elementary school, but I do go in and talk about being a writer and do some exercises with the kids.

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  4. My son's birthday if Feb 3. I worried about him being born on 2/2.
    And of course, I'm in that cave now working.

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  5. I would have preferred that over my son's birthday Leann. I have an April Fool's boy. Sigh. :)

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