As a writer and mother of two small boys, summer seems a long and exhausting “vacation,” with far too much activity and too little writing actually getting done. In fact, this post wouldn’t even exist if my youngest wasn’t napping and my oldest wasn’t out with friends. (What I wouldn’t give for a little more alone time with my laptop!) But summer is full of interruption, even without kids at home. The sky raps at my window, peering in with enormous blue eyes, the sun calls me out by name, and the whole of nature flouncing about in her best summer dress is just too much to shut behind doors!
A Writer’s Definition of Summer (n):
1. The season of sloth for a writer who is dying to plunge her hands into the soil, take long walks, and travel the wide, green earth.
2. The astronomical period between the June solstice and the September equinox, or, the long period during which a writer mom must abandon her once quiet home office to tend to the constant demands of loud, half crazed little people who have been released into her full time care.
3. A period of maturing powers.
No, I didn’t make that last one up– it came, in fact, from The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary’s definition of summer. Though it’s painful how little writing I am able to get done during the summer, a writer in today’s hurried society must learn patience. If autumn is the period of reaping and gathering, summer is the time for tending, weeding, watering. It is a time for growing. For a writer, that means taking stock of her surroundings, examining life even as she lives it, and building herself up until her ideas have matured, and she has the energy, at last, to harvest them.
This summer, I stood over the city of Chicago atop the Willis Tower, romped through various cemeteries, libraries and museums, took a thousand photographs, sat with friends, laughed with family, rode trains, cars and ferries across the U.S., ate Mackinac Island fudge, attempted Indian cooking, wrestled with my soul over some painful issues, painted, laughed, and made a huge mess while remodeling part of our house. And although I’ve been doing little writing, I did manage a fair amount of reading, including Sue Monk Kidd’s The Dance of the Dissident Daughter, which I am currently absorbed in. Empowered by Kidd’s words on feminine acceptance, and the life experiences I have had this summer, I can feel myself maturing as both a woman and a writer.
And speaking of reading, Pastiche Literary Magazine has taken time out for The Back of Beyond, Issue II of Far Off Places, my favorite Scottish literary magazine, and Laura Barnes has given it a lovely review. After reading the review, why not take a dip in this issue’s eclectic mix of poetry and prose yourself, and travel a bit this summer through the minds of authors and artists the world over? Among them, sent from my own vast home in the Wyoming desert, is my little poem called Hallelu. It’s a small, albeit sad, celebration of life, aging, and the rich wealth of stories we we carry within us. Stories that grow more powerful with maturity during that endless summer rest.