Goodbye, Summer

Sun is setting on summer. 

The kids are already back in school. I’ve made the appointment for my dog’s fall annual exam. I’m thinking about Christmas gifts and how to prepare for the mounds of snow the Farmer’s Almanac is predicting. 

Will I miss it?

Hahahahahahaha. No.

This summer, in short, has been a disaster. But so has 2022. Everything is breaking in my house. This summer, that meant losing, at different intervals, the attic fan, the dryer, the sliding glass door…Oh, that sliding glass door! That one was horrendous–the rollers busted and the door fell off right in the midst of the well-over-hundred-degrees July. I mean, the whole month was over a hundred. The heat just poured in incessantly while we scrambled to get the door fixed. We couldn’t get cool. But that’s really been par for the course for ’22. I’ve had two weird infections that could have been covid. I had to jump through unending hoops to prove my identity to the IRS. In February, I fell through the attic. 

It’s been one thing after another. And another. And another. 

That’s the awful truth of this summer–it’s been one of broken family heirloom vases (I’m still trying to figure out how to repair it), and foxtails embedded in the dog’s foot. It’s been limping everywhere because I can’t get rid of this insane plantar fasciitis. (I’ve tried stretching and splints and frozen socks–frozen socks!–and right now dry cupping the bottoms of my feet.)

This summer has been rotten. And exhausting.  Just like the rest of ’22. And it has stolen hundreds–hundreds–of my writing hours.

The good thing is, though, we got the new rollers on that sliding glass back door. And as soon as summer–and ’22–is gone for good, I’m locking the door behind them. 🙂

WRITING WHEN YOUR HEAD’S NOT IN IT

Holy moly, it’s been a long time since I blogged. More than a month! This, in all honesty, is the reason why:

Gus

I had to take Gus in for his neuter. I know, I know: it’s something the vast majority of pet owners do. It’s surgery, but it’s routine. Only, Gus’s wasn’t so much. He had a testicle that didn’t descend, so I really had no idea how it would go. On occasion, if the missing testicle is in the abdomen, it can require some exploratory surgery. (!)

Of course, Little Miss Type A spent more than a month Googling random testicle facts and watching cryptorchid neuters on YouTube. Long story short, the vet did an incredible job, the testicle was easily located, and we wound up with only one incision. Gus has completely recovered, healed beautifully, and is fully back to his zoomie-running, escape artist, silly, rambunctious puppy routine.

Whew.

Once it was all over, I began to feel like I’d finally gotten my brain back.

It really is amazing how worry can hijack your own thoughts–in a way that you don’t even fully realize at the time. It’s not the only emotion that taints a writing session, either. Frustration can. Disappointment. Even uncertainty. I’m a big, BIG believer that tapping into joy is key for good writing. Now, looking back on the last few weeks, I can definitely see how worry was impacting my ability to tap into the joy and fun of writing. And how that was impacting the work.

It’s not the easiest thing to tackle, though, is it? Far easier to carve a few minutes out of the day to get some writing done. You can’t exactly just stop being worried, turn it off so you can work.

All I can say for now is that it’s definitely something I want to pay more attention to, keep track of. Kind of an early 2020 resolution…

FOLK ART – RUSTIC DEER

I see fantastic–truly, fantastic–pieces of folk art all the time, courtesy of classrooms that have recently read THE JUNCTION OF SUNSHINE AND LUCKY.

I wanted to share a little piece of my own folk art. Well, mine and my brother’s, anyway. A deer made out of fallen limbs from the backyard:

…Just in time for the real deer to come trotting down our street! (We see them every fall.)

It didn’t require the use of a welding torch, but I like to think Auggie and Gus would like this little yard sculpture.

WRITING AIN’T GARDENING

IMG_0450This week, we tackled the garden at the Schindler house. It’s always such a joy to get outside, especially after a long, cold winter. As much as I love my work, it’s also a joy to get away from the computer for a little while, get my fingers in the dirt.

 

 

I think the other thing about gardening that has a definite appeal to a writer is that it kind of just takes off on its own. Once you get it in the ground, it does most of the work for you. All you have to do is make sure it gets plenty of water and the bunnies don’t have access (hence the elaborate plastic walls around ours this year–since taking that pic, I’ve also added pinwheels to keep birds out).

It’s so much fun to go out in the morning and check on the growth. Watching what sprouts first, what takes off. The green shoots can be such a welcome sight.

Never, in all my years of writing, has a book behaved that way. I’ve never opened a file to find that the thing wrote a new chapter for me while I wasn’t looking–the same way the tomato plants sprout little yellow flowers while I’m off doing something else.

Writing is so time–and effort–intensive. If you aren’t putting fingers to keyboard, it just ain’t gettin’ done.

But one fantastic thing about writing is that it doesn’t die. No matter how long you’ve neglected to water it. No matter how long it’s been shunted into the back of your desk.

Go on. Open that ancient file.

Write a few lines. Write a few more.

It’s spring, after all.

See what grows.

BOUNTY

I’ve gotten into gardening the last couple of years. That, and cooking a more and eating far less meat. Every single time I’m out in the garden, I hear Ruth Gordon’s voice from HAROLD AND MAUDE (best movie of all time, by the way). Anyway, I hear that line she says somewhere in the middle (she and Harold are discussing, what flower they would most like to come back as): “I like to watch things grow. They grow and bloom and fade and die and come back as something else. Life!”

Each morning, I bring an armload of fresh tomatoes inside:

DSC00702

I see some fresh spaghetti sauce in my future…