Why I Love The Cold

When you live in a state like Wisconsin, there’s a presumption that you’re some sort of norseman. That your blood runs thick, you spend six months of the year wearing the furs of creatures you’ve trapped, and that every night passes in front of a roaring fire with a tankard of dark beer in your hand.

And I’m here to say that’s true. Every word of it.

At least in my dreams. And possibly if you traveled a few hundred years into the past.

Even with the more manageable comforts of today, though, I find myself looking forward to Winter. There’s a delightful edge to the morning when you get out of the covers and your body starts an immediate freakout when the cool air hits you. Step outside, especially without much covering, and you’ll wake up in a hurry as the bone-deep survival instincts jump to life.

Wisconsin, though, isn’t Hoth. It’s not Antarctica, and it’s not even Canada. Most Winter days can be conquered by an adequate jacket and a pair of decent driving gloves. Maybe a scarf, if you’re a scarf person.

With that ease in mind, taking a walk to the coffee shop, or jotting down a chapter while looking onto a snow crystal wonderland turns from a frosted, bitter nightmare to the sort of enchanted moments so often popping up in holiday rom-coms. It’s a pleasant shift from the sweaty, sun-soaked summers that have me tangling with resident wasps over the right to enjoy my own yard.

Cold, too, is a feature in most of the books that I write. Not that all of them take place on ice planets, but most do feature space, and those hulking blocks of metal that fly around in it. Spaceships are, generally, cold objects. Made of inorganic alloys designed to keep out radiation and keep in air, these craft are the opposite of bicycles or convertibles meant to coast by sea-swept beaches on perfect days. Having a fondness for chillier weather might make it easier to write characters comfortable in those same confines.

Most stories, too, need a cold element. A thing that makes the protagonists uncomfortable, that forces interaction and reaction. Whether that’s the, uh, weather or something scarier, it’s hard to get a compelling narrative if everyone’s feeling happy and content all the time.

So I say bring on the snow, bring on the mornings where your breath curls into misty life, and where your first look outside catches a sneaky ray of sunshine darting into a world of gray. It’s beautiful, and it’s worth looking forward to every year.

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