Remember that movie? Well, I’m back after 10 days’ vacation, and I’m ready for another 10. Why are summers the busiest season in bookdom? It’s enough to make me want to teach just to have summers off.
Time for sleep, little Charlotte…
Babies crying has been my life for going on 5 years now and I still haven’t developed that trick of ignoring the sound. Someone said you get used to it, but I think you either have that ability or you don’t. With the first kid, it never lasted long and she didn’t need to cry long. But everyone knows the second is proof that you should have stopped on the first. No. I love second-borns. I even married one.
Summers are full of vacations and fun and sun and growing stuff–like flowers, and kids, and dreams. And all of that is a bit crazy-making. Every time Sheri and I go on vacation we start to thinking about life and hopes and dreams. And it gets a little busier-feeling. I know a lot of people who do that. Rather than a perfect convergence of idealism and realism, for many of us creatively-types it can be a perfect train wreck, like at a wedding when you’re supposed to be having fun and all you can do is try to avoid the wrong people and find a chance to greet the right people. And not miss the cake in the process. But invariably, you end up at some table near the back shielding your eyes from the visual assault of bearded Aunt Ginny in a never-ending electric slide with Cousin Ira from Tuttsville who thinks Listerine is something you use to get leeches off your best bloodhound. (Paul, your wedding was really so much better than most. Really.)
Sorry. Where was I? I suppose we really just wish summers were longer to fit everything in. Sure, in some places they are longer. But what we really want is unlimited time for everything before we shrivel up and forget everything that used to feel so damned important as though there were so many things worth sacrificing for. And I suppose we could talk about something like there’s plenty of time for the things you really want to do and the prioritizing process is refining both emotionally and mentally. But we don’t want to. We want more Summer.
We’ve all got endless books to read, endless proposals to write, endless friends to see, and endless kids to create endless memories with (once they finally get some sleep). Fact is, we don’t have enough time for everything we want to do and all of this stuff is a "priority," so there’s no solution other than to defer some of the non-vital things until later. And maybe that’s for the best, but it’s scary to think of the creativity getting shoved aside.
Does it matter when you defer the dream to write? Of course it does. The dream will change because you change. Ideally, the more you age, the better the dream becomes, but that’s ideally. Look at Salinger (okay, he wouldn’t have been published today, but still). There’s what you want to do and what you REALLY want to do, and making time for it by prioritizing isn’t always the issue. Sometimes it’s actually impossible to write. Oh, you could get published easy enough (that’s the consolation, isn’t it?), but to actually write what you’ve been waiting so long to write, regardless of publishing or priorities or inconvenient realities? Impossible.
Or maybe it just feels impossible given the current realities. Maybe Summer can be endless if you change the view, look past the boundaries and see the elements for what they are rather than the sum of an irreducible "completeness." Sun, sky, some clouds, water, flowers. The pieces still work individually. Ideal convergence isn’t the point anyway: it’s appreciating what you have that counts. Change the view and you see it, right?
So maybe we can put a happy spin on it. That’s what Summer does to you. Get out there and enjoy it. Prioritize and adjust, but don’t give up. Just never give up. You don’t want to miss the bigger point.