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  • This was leap year. That means an extra (last) day in February.

    I didn't feel like I got one. I'm not even sure that I got the original month, let alone the bonus day.

    Because it didn't leap -- it flew right by. My pages here on this journal remained empty throughout the month, because I had so much "other" writing to do that I did not feel I could set aside time to journal. And very little of it was the kind of writing I most love to do -- fiction writing -- which is a shame.

    "You can only dip in the word well so often," is a truism, I think, regarding writing, and I've been doing a lot of it lately -- only it's been non-fiction, mostly the administrative and business kind. The kind only a few people ever read for functional reasons. Journal writing is non-fiction, too, but it serves a personal "function" that is a little different. I should have remembered that and returned to the water well anyway, even if meant looking for a new spring...because that's what journaling does -- it sets aside time, stepping out of the world of calendars and clocks, to take stock and reconnect to the wellspring.

    In a Joycean blur, the month raced by heading quite literally into Spring. There were some high points -- even a fun road trip one weekend and the wonderful release of my latest poetry book -- but I won't bother recollecting all that here. It was one of those months where you're so busy, you don't remember any of the highs or lows very well anyway. It becomes a fuzzy, electricity-crackling blur.

    I think there was one relatively mundane moment, though, when the month came to a close and it all became hyperreal. On the 29th. The bonus day of the year. I was leaving a meeting, and literally leaping up the stairs when I passed a colleague who's last name actually is -- no lie -- "Leap."

    "Happy Leap Year!" I said, waving to her as I bounded up and past her.

    "Thanks!" she replied, all smiles like it was her birthday. "But It's not a year, it's only a day."

    This anecdote isn't terribly interesting in and of itself, but for some reason, I was surprised by her humility. Sure she was smiling and I could tell that others had been wishing her well for "her day," but perhaps because it was the end of a terribly busy month, I really wanted this day to be even more special than "only a day" -- I wanted it to be stupendous, if not downright supernatural!

    A lot of that is just my own weirdness. I needed that month to end with a bang. But I think one of the reasons we get so excited by that extra day on a leap year is not simply that it is a "free extra day" but that it almost seems like that calendar day is a supernatural harbinger of a "bonus life" -- like something you might get as a reward in a video game -- if only for a day -- and the proof of this is right there on the calendar, enumerated in a measurable way.

    And -- surprise! -- that gives me a new fiction story idea. I won't write it down here, but save it for an actual short story I write elsewhere. I realize this entry was a little scattershot, but I'm glad I wrote it, because it led me to discover something new. One of my mantras as a writer is "there is no such thing as wasted words," and taking just a moment to sit down and write this was a pleasant reminder of that. But more importantly, March has begun and though most of my friends are eager to enjoy the weather, I'm eager to get back to my writing....
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