Springtime Feels

Spring BlossomsThere have been countless poems written about the spring. My favorite is the last line of “Juegas todos los días” by Pablo Neruda.

Quiero hacer contigo

lo que la primavera hace con los cerezos.

I want to do with you what the spring does with the cherry trees. Still wonderful in English, but allow me and my linguist self to rant about the beauty of gendered languages. Los cerezos in the masculine means cherry trees, while las cerezas in the feminine means cherries. Los manzanos are apple trees, whereas las manzanas are apples. And so on and so forth. How efficient, concise, beautiful! I’ve been tutoring Spanish lately, and my student is currently studying adverbial clauses and the use of the subjunctive. This morning, I woke up dreaming about the subjunctive tense. Hans knows all about my passion for the subjunctive — it might be the greatest loss of the English language. Like WTF English, you came from German (which has subjunctive) and were influenced by the Romance Languages (which have subjunctive) and then you got lazy? Unacceptable.

Oh, this is for Hans. Last time, I couldn’t explain to you how the placement of adjectives can get you into trouble. I found an example. If you’re asking your girlfriend’s father for her hand in marriage, and you say, “Me gustaría casarme con tu hija bellísima” with bellísima (beautiful) coming after hija (daughter), then you’re saying, “I would like to marry your beautiful daughter”. If you say, “Me gustaría casarme con tu bellísima hija” with bellísima coming before hija, you’re saying, “I would like to marry your one beautiful daughter”. This is not a problem if your girlfriend is an only child. This becomes a problem if your girlfriend has sisters, because then you’re implying that she’s the only beautiful one…

Okay, that was a really long tangent. What I really wanted to say is that, while humankind (yes Neruda speaks for humanity) adores the spring, I’ve never fancied it. It’s always been my least favorite season, to the disbelief of others. I used to explain myself, saying that spring in Ann Arbor is all melting snow, potholes, and cold rain. Although I still believe in my explanation, I must admit that it’s not a complete one. The real reason that spring bothers me is because it overstimulates me. I smell the air and I’m immediately restless. On good days, I want to skip my classes and visit the farmer’s market. On bad days, I want to jump off a roof or hitchhike to Alaska. It requires so much goddamn effort to maintain my sanity in the spring. When I was younger, I’d have to leave town at least once a week. I didn’t have to go anywhere fancy. Sometimes, I’d spend a day in Ikea. Sometimes, I’d drive down US-23 and take a random exit. I’d end up walking around in farmland, where everyone who passed by would wave and smile.

The real reason I don’t like spring is because, at times, it’s like I’m feeling every single emotion I’ve ever experienced in my life, all at once. Emotions that don’t even have names. Emotions that I haven’t felt in years. Emotions that I only knew secondhand, through the writing of others.

Writing. That’s what it comes back to, always. As much as I complain about the burden of spring, this season has always been a productive time for me. I wrote the better part of my second novel last spring. The spring before that, I wrote a short story and bad poetry. The spring of 2011, I started this blog. As a writer, you must take advantage of your emotions. Every time you feel something new or particularly strong, you must record it, bookmark it, to be used the next time you write. When you experience an especially emotional time, you must channel your feelings into your art. The ability to use your work as an outlet is both a responsibility and a gift.

Rebecca Paints

Being productive in the studio.

This spring, I’m committing to do more of writing and novel-editing and less of wasting gas on the highway. Anyone else have springtime resolutions?

Au revoir,

R

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