And here it is. The last, sweet day of August. In many places, kids have been back in school for a couple of weeks, but there’s something about this day that signifies the definite end of summer. Labor Day approaches, and soon after that, the first hint of coolness in the air. The first leaf to tumble from a tree, the getting dark earlier. The sigh of another season going by.
Back in June, my hopes were high and my bucket list was long. Things to do, places to go, foods to eat, house repairs to tackle, and of course, my plan to write under a shady tree, or at the beach, or any number of places I can’t write during a cold Midwest winter when I’m stuck inside.
I started out well enough, fleshing out an idea for a new story that had been simmering in my head for a while. Even though I have two middle grade novels coming in 2017 and 2018, there’s always the nagging tap on the shoulder for a writer: you must start something new. Get to it! Time’s a wastin’!
But I should know by now that summer’s not my best time to write. Summer, with her long lazy hours of daylight, is just too beguiling.
The very breath of the fleeting season grabs my senses and takes over. Shouts of kids jumping on a backyard trampoline, the trickle of watermelon juice down my chin, the sun on my face, the glorious smell of flowers mixed with burgers sizzling on the grill. My concentration fades like a pink sunset. My focus flits about like a dancing butterfly. I’ve forgotten how to put together a sentence that makes sense or let alone, is creative. The heat has undoubtedly melted my brain. Somewhere around the end of July, I give in, pushing my story notes to the corner of my desk. I’ll get back to it later, I think. But there’s an art fair to browse, or an outdoor concert in the park, and I don’t.
Weirdly though, with the turn of the calendar tomorrow to September 1, something happens. The change to the new month that’s so identified with fall, and suddenly, my brain seems to wake up from its summer snooze. And as the leaves on the tree outside my writing space begin to turn, my half-formed ideas usually start to come together too. Maybe this is a habit from all those years of going back to school? Who knows. Even though summer and all its sweetness is over, there’s nothing like the feeling of getting my butt back in the chair and doing what I love. Creating a world that didn’t exist before I wrote it.
Happy end of August and beginning of September. Apples. Football. Flannels. Time for a new bucket list.
Michele Weber Hurwitz is the author of The Summer I Saved the World in 65 Days and Calli Be Gold (both Wendy Lamb Books) and the upcoming Makers Vs. Fakers (fall 2017, Aladdin Books). Find her at micheleweberhurwitz.com.