Suggested Blog Question: Do you write during the summer? If not, what do you do? Do you make any goals?
I've always wondered if because I've spent 20 years in school not including kindergarten, if my schedule—work hard from September to June, play June, July, and August—is still the schedule I keep now. Though I always say I don’t write in the summer, I do. I cannot not write, but there are few projects, few plans. If I write, it’s because something came it, it’s not because I’m sitting down in the morning saying, “Today, I’m going to write.”
During the year, I work with other poets on the side, helping them with their poems/ manuscripts or creating writing prompts for them, except during the summer months. I try to cut away any deadlines I have. I try to cut away anything that makes me have to be accountable for someone or something else. My email piles up. I reconnect with others in the fall. For me, the summer is really a time to fill up again, with family, with sky & sun (if there is sky & sun, right now our weather is saying November again).
My poetry group plans to meet, but we rarely meet. We say twice a month and we see each other once or never. We have good intentions, but good intentions can’t compete with sunshine. We’re from the Northwest, we’ve been deprived of light all winter, we want to soak up our vitamin D, we want to blend into the grass.
When we see sun, we’re confused with the glowing orb in the sky—what is it? We worship its power to dry us off, to clean off some of the green patina we’ve gathered over the winter.
What do I do in the summer—
Mostly, I’m at the beach. Mostly, I’m in the garden or the park or in the forest. Mostly, I’m walking my dog, feeding the goats, swimming or lifeguarding. I’m lugging bikes, scooters, skateboards, and rollerblades to basketball courts. I’m playing tennis and trying to retrieve tennis balls from my non-helpful golden retriever. Mostly, I’m reading books—poetry, non-fiction, memoir. Mostly, I’m interrupted from my book. Mostly, I’m playing a game, throwing a water balloon, spraying someone with the hose.
Saturday mornings, you can find me buying triple-berry jam and veggies at the Farmer’s Market along with giant chocolate chip cookies and kettle corn. You can find me sitting on the picnic table to watch the guitar player and sampling homemade fudge.
During good weather, you can find me in a tent and I pack Ding-Dongs—the only time in the year I buy Ding-Dongs, though I’m the only one in my family that likes them. Most evenings you can find me having dinner on our deck, making s'mores in over our firepit, or just sitting watching the ferry, kids, eagles, sunsets, satellites, stars, meteor showers, clouds, neighbors, trees. I do a lot of watching in the summer.
This year, to hike and kayak more than I did last year. This year, to find some new places to explore, to have a couple new adventures, to let go of anything that doesn’t have to sand or soil. To build my shed (my writing shed).
Goals? Not to have any goals.
Around late-August, I begin to ache for autumn. I clean up the garden, but keep out the patio furniture. I pick blackberries and am usually stained in blackberry. I start to think about autumn, Halloween, and notice the leaves changing slightly. We attend Seattle’s Bumbershoot festival, I roam the literary fair and the visual arts, we become part of a drum circle, I pull my family from the fountains, I always pull them from the fountains, wet and happy. We get a henna tattoo, eat fat burritos and gyros, we listen to bands we’ve never heard of, throw money into the cases of musicians, then straighten out our lives, our clothing for school to begin again. We take down the pool, put away the beach shoes. We give a final sweep to all the sand that has entered and stayed in our doorway and then my writing life begins again.