Well, it’s that time of the year again. Outside my office window as I write this, it’s not even dinnertime but it’s already getting dark. The temperature is plunging, the skies are gunship gray, there’s fluffy snow floating down, and through leaf-bare trees Christmas lights wink in the distance. But I’d like to set the holidays aside for a moment and focus on the winter season itself. Because, let’s face it, for many of us it’s going to be around a lot longer than the holiday lights and carols.
By now I’m sure you’ve encountered the concept of hygge—the Danish word that roughly translates to coziness—featured in a plethora of books and articles over the past few years. I recently saw yet another article about hygge as it pertains to a long Michigan winter, and it got me thinking about how the concept applies to my writing life here.
Unsure who to trust for a default definition, I went to the Danish Tourism Board to find that Hygge: “means so much more than merely cosy [sic].”
“Hygge goes far in illuminating the Danish soul. In essence, hygge means creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people. The warm glow of candlelight is hygge. Cosying up with a loved one for a movie – that’s hygge, too. And there’s nothing more hygge than sitting around with friends and family, discussing the big and small things in life. Perhaps hygge explains why the Danes are some of the happiest people in the world.”
Indeed there is a bit more than coziness there. I see the terms: good, warm, atmosphere, and glow—all apt additions. They reference loved ones, and togetherness, and discussion. Those are fitting, too.
But, for me, there’s an aspect that I think this informal definition alludes to but doesn’t mention, which is a sense of well-being. And when I think about coziness as it pertains to well-being, I think of finding a sense of inner peace. Even if only temporarily.
Which made me realize that writing plays a role in my own definition of hygge. Please make yourself cozy, and I’ll explain.
Cozy now? Do you have your favorite hot beverage, in your favorite mug? Are you wearing one of your coziest sweaters? Oh, and socks! Can’t forget those. Really nice, warm ones. Maybe a throw over your legs and feet? Good.
Because for some of you, what I’m about to say next might not inspire the warm, fuzzies. [Read more…]