May may tie March as my least favorite month. When I was children’s librarian, it was a month of frantic work as we got ready to launch our summer reading program in June. We would visit schools to advertise the program and build excitement, and those visits, while usually fun, were also exhausting.
Now that I have kids in school, I realize how frustrating May is. Everyone associated with school is ready for a break — teachers, administrators, support staff, parents, and students. Speaking as a parent, I am pining for relaxed mornings, relaxed schedules, and no reason to pack lunches.
May makes a great setting for something crazy and unexpected to happen in a story about school. All that frustration has great comic potential.
Something else I remember about May when I was a kid — at a certain point, maybe a week before school lets out, everyone relaxes, at least a little, For the kids, the end is in sight. Teachers know they have done all the instructing they can and now it is just a waiting game to fulfill required number of days. I remember my mom easing up on bedtime and the long evenings that didn’t encourage sleep at all.
Graduation ceremonies from high school or college symbolize the feeling of endings becoming beginnings and vice versa. A ceremony is a great way to launch a story or wrap it up. It’s also a poignant time for parents and teachers, too, if they are about to retire.
With Mother’s Day, a holiday that was created by a distant relative of mine, I can explore female relationships within a family. One approach could be to structure the story over successive Mother’s Days, showing how the celebration reflects the relationships.
Memorial Day at the end of the month can be a setting for stories dealing with death, grief, or just remembering and celebrating loved ones who have died. The holiday has some of the same quality as graduation — death as an ending or beginning, depending on how you write about it.
Spring is full swing during May where I live, so if I want to write about the glories of new growth and new life, May has great possibilities as a backdrop.
Despite my personal dislike of the month, the writer in me can see it merits.