Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Dreaming the Past

Terry, here, musing about the end of summer.

We are careening toward the end of summer, when my actual summer begins. Here in the Bay Area we often have cool days all summer and then in the fall we have hot days. (Although last week we had a string of days in the 90s), so my husband and I generally stay put all summer and travel when the weather elsewhere is acceptable.

Summer is always an odd time for me. I hate hot weather, and I remember in school always feeling at loose ends in the summer. My family couldn’t afford summer camps, so my sister and I were I were left to our own devices. These days kids are much more programmed during the summer. Oddly, my own son refused to go to summer camps, preferring to “fool around” all summer. At the time, it frustrated me, but now I see his wisdom.

One thing I notice now is how early kids start back to school. When I was a kid it was well after the first of September when we started back. Whatever the reason for this, I feel bad for the kids who have to go back to school when summer is at its peak. For me, the memory of those last couple of weeks of August in Texas is about being drowsy with heat. I’d lie around and read most of the time.

We didn’t go to the pool much, but we lived near a beach on the gulf coast. My parents must have had some early idea of how bad the sun was for your skin, because we’d head for the beach about four o’clock in the afternoon, when everyone else was headed home. To my sister and me it seemed like torture waiting for my mother to pack the picnic and my father to spend “just a little more time” on whatever project he was up to. But there was some method to their madness.

There was still plenty of time to jump around in the water and eat our picnic. After that the magic began. We’d watch the sun set and sometimes watch the moon rise, with its silvery sheen on the water. Then we would head for the jetty to watch the shrimp boats go out. It was family time of a sort, but more important it was a time to dream and think.

There’s nothing like that dreamtime in summer now. Because we don’t travel much in summer, I write a lot in those months. The exception was last week when my sister and her grandson were here. We discovered the delight of a beach nearby. I got to watch my grand-nephew “fool around,” making a sand castle and then lying next to it in a drowsy state that I remember so well. During that week, with an eight-year-old boy to entertain, I got exactly no writing done. A vacation for me.

We travel in the fall, when the weather heats up here. In September we’re heading for two weeks in the Bahamas—just in time for hurricane season!

We’ll be back a week, and then headed off for a week in southern Utah to visit Zion and Bryce National Parks before the Trump administration shuts them down (oops, sorry, politics slipped in).  I keep promising myself that I will take a break from writing on these trips, but I know from experience that I’ll sneak in an hour every morning before everyone gets up. There are always so many writing projects I want to accomplish that taking two weeks off seems like a travesty.

This summer I’ve been feverishly working on my domestic suspense /thriller/ whatever novel. I’m in the third round of deep edits, and will be ready to send it to….I don’t know who. Can’t decide between an editor or beta readers or…whatever.  I definitely want to sharpen it again (and again?) before I wrap it in velvet, tie it with a satin bow, and send it to my agent (the Shark) who will no doubt send me back to the drawing board. And I wrote a short story that turned out to be more fun than I thought it would.

Maybe because of all the years of starting school in the fall, more than any other time of year the end of summer and beginning of fall always fills me with excitement having to do with beginnings—even more than the transition between December and the beginning of a new year. So, happy end of summer everyone! On to new adventures.

Terry Shames


Dietrich Kalteis said...

I enjoyed your post, Terry. And I'm sure looking forward to some of those hot fall days in your neck of the woods.

Terry said...

Should be perfect in October.

Brenda Chapman said...

I love your post - your summers as a kid sound a lot like mine, but quite a bit further north!

Susan C Shea said...

Lovely nostalgia post. I agree about August school starts - my grandson went off to his sophomore year of high school today and I'm grumbling on his behalf!

Terry said...

Susan, funny I didn't start out to make it a nostalgic post...it just came out that way, probably triggered by watching that darling boy be excited, energetic, bored, happy, funny, languid...and that was just an hour's worth!

Paul D. Marks said...

I also think it's weird, or at least hard to get used to, when kids go back to school so early. And I would feel cheated if I was them, but I guess they don't know what they're missing.

Have fun on your trips.