In some parts of Canada, the winter just seems to be dragging on. It is a never ending story to look outside and find yet another layer of fluffy white stuff staring back at the person with the morning coffee cup in the hand. Will it ever end? Of course, it will. The more important question, though: How does one stay inspired and happy to work under the power of the mesmerizing white blanket that pulls one toward the intuitively natural state of hibernation?

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I posed this question to a few people for suggestions and consulted some experts online. There are a few obvious answers. Exercise seems to be a popular suggestion. It may help, but it is tough to put on a pair of running shoes knowing that they will soon accumulate slushy, hardened liquid outside. Some people swear that extra vitamins help. Surely, they do. Unfortunately, the psychological effect of the extra snow does not entirely go away by the pills. Good diet? It is always a good choice, but it has no power to beat the picturesque view of the white powder on the ground that drag one’s spirit all the way to Tartarus.

I believe that there isn’t a universal answer to the problem of Old Man who does not want to leave behind his beloved white landscape. The solution has to come from the spirit within. My personal solution is to look at some photos I have taken for the purpose of finishing my novel, The Curse. The joy of remembering the moments I described, based on the photos I took downtown, my main characters walking on the city streets after the shooting, makes me jump in joy. Ironically, the photos portray a winter wonderland. Yet, somehow, it does not matter. I can reread the story of Skinner Tyler and Snake walking on York Street, through the Westminster Bridge and ending up in front of the cat clinic and feel more alive than ever. A picture can become a thousand words! Actually, it became more than a thousand in my case!

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All I have to say is that there isn’t a universal way of staying inspired and happy. There are just ways of doing so. For a writer, it comes from writing or looking at inspirational photos about scenes she has already described. For others, it may be something different. The point is for each person to find that inspiration and source of happiness. What is yours?

M. J. Mandoki

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