(Photo taken by Not Lost Lauren… Thank you for letting me use it!)
Last week I had a writer’s event in Chicago. We’ve just had our first snow of the year, and the temperature plummeted. It feels like we’ve missed fall and have done a nose-dive into winter. I hate winter, with the exception of this part of the year. As I stepped out of my event, and out onto the street, I noticed it was snowing softly- flurries really. In the yellow lamplight, the flakes seemed to dance around the buildings. Their soft, white flakes seemed such a contrast to the steel and cement of the city.
It was cold when I stepped out onto the street, like single-digit temperature cold. I was practically alone as I walked back to the parking garage where my car was. I hate the cold, actually I detest the cold, yet, I was transfixed by the setting I was walking. I imagined the characters from my novels kissing under the lamplight, with the snowflakes falling around them, pulled close for warmth. There is something about this time of year that just hits me as romantic. Early November, it’s not quite the holidays yet, but excitement is building. The weather has turned colder and everyone heads indoors to snuggle up and get warm.
I have set a few books around this time of year, it’s just a romantic time of year. Plus as a writer, if the characters meet now, they get to grow their relationship through the holidays, which can be a lot of fun. The holidays are a minefield at the best of times. But before awkward family dinners, and the agony of trying to find the perfect gift for the person you are getting to know, you get this time of year.
I think I like this time of year best because my own, real-life romance took place. I met my husband in the fall in Chicago at college. We were both students at an art school. Over that first fall semester that turned into winter, we met and fell in love. Years later we rented a tiny apartment up on the Northside of Chicago, near Wrigleyville. This was before kids, dogs, and a mortgage. I remember we’d walk to a local restaurant on Friday nights, under the same yellow lamplight with snow falling around us. It was easier to walk than try to move the car in that neighborhood. I have had so many romantic moments in my own life on under the yellow glow of the streetlamps during this time of year.
Chicago is a romantic city but at this time of year, there is just something about it that kicks it up a notch. The noise of the El off in the distance, and the hum of traffic, there’s just something about the city at this time of year that I find incredibly romantic.