April’s celebrations

As I said in this post, April is my birthday month. April often is also Easter month, so there are two big celebrations right there.

At various times over the years, other celebrations have added layers to the party atmosphere of April for me. And, frankly, sometimes keeping up with all the parties and commemorations made me very busy.

I don’t know what they’re calling it now, but years ago there was a National Secretary’s Day. Although I worked as an actual secretary only a couple of times, support staff of all kinds were included in the festivities. There might be gifts and a treat day sponsored by the immediate department, and/or lunch out besides. An executive might take support staff directly under his direction to lunch as well. Once we were given a combined breakfast and a seminar on time management — well meaning but very pragmatic (although the bagels and pastries were tasty).

Secretary’s Day was so close to my birthday that the celebrations often overlapped.  I had to plan carefully not to bring in my birthday treats the same day that Secretary Day treat spreads were being offered in nearby departments. (For 20 years I worked for companies where the tradition was the birthday person brought in treats for everyone else.) Because of that proximity, however, Secretary’s Day kind of got grafted onto my birthday celebration, expanding it into a longer period of high spirits and out-of-the-ordinary activities. When I became a greeting card writer, it hit me between the eyes the following April that there would be no more gifts, no more lunches, no more attention on Secretary’s Day. I might have to write a card now and then for the day of honor, but I wouldn’t be partaking of that attention myself. It was disconcerting and stripped a thin layer of gloss off my usual birthday “season.”

April is also National Poetry Month. Being a poet, this mattered to me, although I tended to have more private celebrations. Every year I chose a certain poetry volume I wanted as my NPM “book” to purchase. I tried to kick up my poetry writing a notch, which often meant simply producing one acceptable poem, given my growing lackluster production.

Once I became editor of Poet’s Market, I frequently was called upon to do presentations on poetry publishing at bookstores and the library. I was very pleased to do my part to promote poetry during National Poetry Month; however, the first year I was over-enthusiastic and did several presentations over a couple of weeks, trying to work in Easter and my birthday and the height of the Poet’s Market production cycle all at the same time. Still, it was unusual not to have at least one poetry-related gig during April, whether it was speaking to 20 people as part of the NPM program at the main branch of the public library, or discussing poetry with the three people who were kind enough to show up at Barnes & Noble one night. (It became less a presentation than an everyone-gather-around-and-let’s-talk session.)

Now I’m not a secretary OR a support person OR the editor of Poet’s Market. This year, Easter wasn’t even in April. There’s still my birthday ahead, though. And the older I get, the more I celebrate the little things, the simple joys, and the fact that I have treasured people in my life to mark occasions with. And believe me, I don’t wait until the month of April to celebrate the latter. I try to do that every day.

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