Lacking Inspiration in February

Inspiration Just Ahead, Sign, Road signI have been feeling uninspired about writing my blog lately. Usually, I have words pouring out of me, demanding to get put down on the page or the screen.

Writer’s block has rarely presented a problem, either for this blog or for the novels always in progress. Yet, here I sit, feeling a lack of inspiration, a dearth of words, a paucity of ideas, about which to write.

February is the Difficult Month

Why now? Well, many of us find February a difficult month. The glitz and get-togethers of the holiday season have passed on by. Winter weather often stops us from going outside. The snow piles up, then melts, then drifts again in a dispiriting cycle. We had another foot of snow yesterday.

Normally, I’m up and out of the house, doing different things and gaining inspiration from what I see or experience. I work on my garden or the church’s memorial garden and go for walks at the Assabet Valley Wildlife Center. I lead tours in Boston,

My husband and I take in a show at an art museum, drive to restaurants that we like, do some shopping, or go to an event of some kind. Once upon a time, we went to the movies but have pretty much stopped that, too. Theaters offer so little to attract us even on an inclement Sunday afternoon when social distancing is not a problem.

Wandering for Inspiration

Ice drawing, Assabet Valley Wildlife Center, snow

Someone got inspired by snow and ice

Sometimes, if the weather is nice, we’ll go to Boston so I can take pictures of the places I want to write about. I’ve been known to just go in and wander around the city, getting inspiration from the places I see.

We had been making strides in this direction at the end of the year, but Omicron caused us to stop and stay close to home. I wander less when there’s snow or rain on top of ice, which makes the footing very treacherous. Also, I experience less wanderlust when the temperature is 5° with a wind-chill factor that dips below zero.

On My “Things to Do” List

Having said that, there are places I want to go and I have a list of things I want to do. Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts has just opened their new galleries displaying a vastly expanded collection of Netherlandish Art.

Museum of Fine Arts Boston, MFA, Netherlandish Art, Van Otterloo Collection, Weatherbie Collection, Boston

Courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston

The gifts of the Van Otterloo and Weatherbie Collections, have given the MFA high-quality examples in every category of Dutch painting. Having seen much of the Van Otterloo collection when it was on exhibit at Salem’s Peabody-Essex Museum, I know this is going to be good.

Also, the MFA has restructured their ancient Egyptian galleries. Given the size and weight of some pieces, that must have been a real project. I want to see how it turned out.

Art: Hidden in Plain Sight

Not all of Boston’s noteworthy art resides in the confines of a museum, however, I have a list of eight amazing works of art, both sacred and secular, that are hiding in plain sight around the city. I just have to get to them so I can see for myself, take some pictures, and form my own opinions.

Boston Panorama Mural, State Street

Mural with a panorama of 19th-century Boston

Plus, there are more. I know there are more. Would the weather please improve? Please? I like to visit the places and things I write about to ensure that I get the right information and have first-hand impressions. On the few occasions I have broken this rule, I vowed not to do it again. But Omicron and the winter are testing my resolve.

I have, at times, been tempted to break another rule: “No Politics.” So much is going on right now that the network news media ignore or gives lip service to that I want to write about it.  But no. With today’s divided country and volatile social media, I would regret it later on.

Looking for Inspiration

So, here I sit, uninspired by my life, depressed by the winter, shut-in by the weather, and looking for a spark. The snow drifts down and puts me to sleep. I haven’t written about astronomical stuff or a TV watchlist for a while but even those ideas don’t start the usual flow of words. What to do?

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About Aline Kaplan

Aline Kaplan is a published author, a blogger, and a tour guide in Boston. She formerly had a career as a high-tech marketing and communications director. Aline writes and edits The Next Phase Blog, a social commentary blog that appears multiple times a week at She has published over 1,000 posts on a variety of subjects, from Boston history to science fiction movies, astronomical events to art museums. Under the name Aline Boucher Kaplan, she has had two science fiction novels (Khyren and World Spirits) published by Baen Books. Her short stories have appeared in anthologies published in the United States, Ireland, and Australia. Aline’s articles have also appeared on the Atlas Obscura website. She has been an active member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America since 1988 and is a long-term member of the Spacecrafts science/fantasy writers’ group. As a tour guide, Aline leads architectural and historical walking tours of the city for Boston By Foot, ghost tours for Haunted Boston and historical bus tours of the city. She lectures on Boston history and has appeared in the Boston Globe, as well as on TV for Chronicle, an award-winning television program that broadcasts stories of New England. As a lecturer, Aline has spoken at Brandeis and Tufts universities for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. She has also addressed as service organizations and local meetings. She is a graduate of Northeastern University in Boston and lives in Hudson, MA.

1 thought on “Lacking Inspiration in February

  1. Hang in there. Spring will be here soon. Even before then, you might find these of interest if you don’t already know them. My husband and I have found places of interest in the most unlikely places, driving around neighborhoods of Boston that we are unfamiliar with, down streets that lead to you never know what, getting to places around Boston. I can let you know where we have been if you want a list and you email me. I am a BBF guide from 2019

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