Buried under ketchup-smeared faces and the haze of multiple applications of sunscreen is the suppressed sorrow of July’s end.
August, once a time of overheated laziness, is still a time for yes, but the yesses now feel pushed by impending schedules and starts. There is a preemptive nostalgic ache for idle moments, although they’ve not come to pass.
We’re all getting ready to crouch at the starting line.
There’s one part of me that loathes the thought of school starting, mostly because my kids are much happier over the summer. Summer lets us be our best selves, and, barring that, our authentic selves. But I also loathe the knowledge that sometime soon, the BURST will happen.
The BURST is the explosion of emails and messages from all the fall places we’re only now starting to populate our calendars with. “Can you believe the beginning of the year/season/migration is just around the corner? Haha. Yeah, us either. And here are hundreds of small tasks we ask you to do IMMEDIATELY BECAUSE YOU’RE LATE ALREADY FOR THEM. Enjoy the rest of your summer!”
Maybe the BURST would be better if it had a Happy Meal tie-in. “Stop by McDonald’s for your never-ending list of things to do and places to be that will make the scientifically-encouraged family mealtime an impossibility until November. It comes with a free small hot fudge sundae.”
July was full. The little fawn who was born and spent a few idyllic weeks in our backyard has, to mix my metaphors, flown the coop. We had Fourth of July only, what? 18938473498 days ago. A lovely day with the usual eating of grilled meats and ungrilled ice cream. This month my daughter learned to swim. All the kids attended several camps. My husband and I actually got out of the house a couple of times just the two of us. We all went to baseball games, both my kids’ and MLB. We went to the movies. We ate macarons. I drove all over creation. The tooth fairy visited frequently.
I actually got to have a few coffees/lunches with some spectacular women who make me feel better about life on this planet. That was easily the best part of my July and something I will continue to prioritize.
I want August to be full, too. A month (or most of it) of SUMMER, not of anticipation. That’s the part of me that wants August to be 31 days of being in the moment.
Then there’s the other part of me, the one that wants to go back to being able to write and work more than in hurried dashes between everything else. The one that loves to hear what the kids did at school. and witness small daily growths. The one that gets to miss them a little. The one who gets to write uninterrupted…have I mentioned that?
But September, my friends, will bring….
CONSTRUCTION. We’re doing some work on the house, which, according to Murphy’s Law will begin the very day the kids go back to school and will drive me completely insane by, oh, two hours into a three-to-five-month project.
I somehow managed to work 90 hours this month, which is not too bad, considering.
I spent a chunk of the month doing research on fascism for my book, and it’s been as much of a barrel of laughs as you can imagine. The battles, when boiled down, are all the same battle and the battlefields are few but far-reaching public spaces.
Have I mentioned I’m writing a dark comedy? July was heavy on the dark. Fortunately, in August I get to work on comic relief characters that I feel I need to get so very right – I’m looking forward to making these people amazing and, at least in one case, quite horrible.
Then September – I write those missing scenes. After some necessary shuffling of scenes and chapters, October sees the next round of rewrites, focusing on character and dialog.
I haven’t a lot of time to do ass-in-chair, don’t-bother-me-unless-you’re-bleeding writing, so summer is good for research, but I miss the thrill of submitting.
Here are some things I enjoyed stumbling upon on the Internet in July:
May your forms be easy to fill out, your AC working perfectly, and your back-to-school shopping a one-stop deal.