Wasting autumn sunshine


I cannot endure to waste anything as precious as autumn sunshine by staying in the house. So I spend almost all the daylight hours in the open air.

When Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote those words, it is believed he was living in Lenox, Massachusetts, where he wrote The House of the Seven Gables. So I’m guessing he spent a lot of time inside, writing, in addition to being out in the open air.

I immediately thought of his words when I was driving home from Starbucks this morning, passing the red and gold woods infused with autumn sunshine. The sun hit the trees just right and not only did the trees blaze, but the sky around them glowed, too. All I had with me was my iPhone so I rushed home to get my camera… I wanted to be outside, but—more importantly—I had a blog in mind.

When I found the camera, tucked on a shelf in my study, the battery was dead. A year ago this would never have happened. A year ago I was taking more photos, putting more photos in my blog, spending more time on social networking in general. I looked back at my autumn post from last year, “Amidst Swirling Words & Leaves,” and not only does it have three photos (taken with a real camera) but it also has a full poem (Longfellow) and I made a special trip to nearby Bowdoin College to take the photos.

Times change. I’m outside a lot less (sorry Nathaniel), the camera battery is not charged, the garden is ill-kempt, the house is unclean, meals have been reduced to the speediest possible, and my blog has taken the backseat. I’m still writing, but I’m focused more on fiction.

I’m writing every day, and I’m loving it. So let the camera battery remain uncharged (I can always use my iPhone if I have to…which is what I did for the photo accompanying this post), let the Twitter account collect dust most days, let the blog take the hit with fewer postings, because my mind is swirling with words…and stories.

What are you up to this fall? Are you enjoying the weather outside? Taking photos? Or are you (like me) happily (inside) at your writing station?




  1. Julie Luek says:

    Lovely post. I’m so glad you are finding satisfaction in your fiction. Just yesterday I was thinking I’d spent far too much time online and at my desk. The fall and it’s gorgeous weather and colors is going to slip away all too quickly. Our winters come too quickly and last too long to spend too much time indoors right now. I think I should take pen to paper out on my deck today!

    • Julia Munroe Martin says:

      Like you, I know the dark winters will come much too quickly — and we’re enjoying a remarkably warm and long fall (the windows are open wide and it’s October! We haven’t even had a freeze!). I heard CO is getting SNOW… can it be? Hope you had a great outside writing session today, Julie!

  2. Lisa says:

    Sounds like heaven to me, Julia. Sadly I seem to waste my time indoors not writing, so I should get my butt outside more often. (Although I did that yesterday and was really happy with my blog post).

    • Julia Munroe Martin says:

      I’ll have to check out your blog post! It is, in reality, necessary to balance these things, isn’t it? I’m assuming Hawthorne did…and I do (when I remember to!). Here’s to wonderful writing days for all!

  3. Lovely post, Julia. And I LOVE the Hawthorne quote. I think it was written for me. As we inch ever-so-slowly into fall in the desert, I cannot wait to spend more time outside. I’m tired of hiding in the house from 100-degree temperatures.

    The words are the most important thing. Not the blog (as much as we love it). Keep up the good work!

    • Julia Munroe Martin says:

      Glad you liked the quote, Melissa, and I agree that it fits you to a “T.” You have almost a reverse situation to us: spending more time out of doors in the winter than the summer. And I can well relate to hiding from the 100+ temps. Yikes, that was HOT. And yes, the words are the most important, thank you for your encouragement!

  4. Glad you are enjoying writing, Julia, no matter where you are doing it. This time of year, I emerge from inside (I love my air conditioning!) and take some time to savor the beauty of autumn.

    I’m posting once a week only on my blog and am cutting down on social media as well. You gotta get things done sometime, right?

    • Julia Munroe Martin says:

      Thank you, Karen! As for social media, I agree… it’s necessary to cut back sometimes to make sure other things get done! Enjoy and savor the beauty of autumn!

  5. Shary says:

    I’m with you! I don’t want to miss the beautiful fall weather. It’s cooled off enough that I can be outside whenever I want to, whether I’m digging & weeding, writing, or just enjoying the green. I’ve stopped blogging altogether and I never quite got the hang of twitter, but I do enjoy following my friends, so I’m glad you find the time to post sometimes. Writing fiction is even better, though, and I can’t wait to read your next piece. (And I need to follow your example and work on my stories every day.)

    Happy Writing!

    • Julia Munroe Martin says:

      I can well imagine the beauty in your garden right now, Shary! And I’m also glad you enjoy my sporadic blogs and are looking forward to my next piece — thank you for being so supportive. xox

  6. Erika Marks says:

    Oh my dear–we are kindred spirits, indeed. I feel the same way right now–so deep into writing and feeling so out of touch with social media and everyone’s news. It is such a tough time of year–I think we crave the coming of the quieter, cozier months but we are wanting to soak up the last of the outdoor days while we can. So, so happy to hear you are intrenched in your novel. That quote is a grand one–autumn sunshine is a special kind of glory. Hugs!

    • Julia Munroe Martin says:

      Yes, I agree, it’s a tough time of year. Fall’s always been a hard transitional time for me anyway, and this year… well, it’s up and down, let’s say. Writing is the best continuity I have — my characters are predictable and controllable and do just what I tell them to 🙂 So yes, I’m happily entrenched. Here’s to cozy writing months for all!

  7. Cynthia Robertson says:

    Oh how you make me miss the NE this time of year! The front porches with pumpkins and dried cornstalks. The trees all ablaze.
    I’m so in the same place, Julia, writing fiction, rather than blogs or tweeting. I know I’ll get to a place where I am ready to blog and tweet more again, but for now the fiction has to take the driver’s seat – how about you? Will you get back to a blogging schedule at some point?

    • Julia Munroe Martin says:

      Yes, the trees are all ablaze (I think this is the weekend for “full ablazement,” if I’m to believe the Maine foliage reports I’ve been getting in email). I actually love blogging and hope to blog as I go (hopefully once a week) but right now it’s just a busy time and everything is fading away except the fiction. Happy writing!

  8. Leah says:

    Beautiful post and photo! As you know, fall is my favorite season. We’ve already begun decorating and the weather is a bit cooler. I’m bummed we don’t get as many beautiful trees and leaves as you do, but I’ll take the falling crunchy leaves on the ground as I walk. Happy Fall!

    • Julia Munroe Martin says:

      Glad you enjoyed the photo and post, Leah. Happy Fall — and wish I could ship you a little piece of our autumn since you love it so much. When you visit New England, make sure it’s for “leaf peeping”!

  9. Barb Riley says:

    I love to hear that you’re still writing every day and loving it. Even though you’re comparing the same season of weather from one year to another, you’re obviously in a new season of the writer’s life. I think it’s hard to blog and write fiction at the same time—at least, during the times when you are so immersed in your story, you’re uninterested in anything else (including housework and nice weather).

    For me, whenever fall arrives I experience a pavlovian response and must. write. fiction. I think it’s leftover from participating in NaNoWriMo.

    • Julia Munroe Martin says:

      Barb, that’s so true: “A new season of the writer’s life.” I love that! I also love that you have a pavlovian response to fall and that you must write fiction — what a wonderful thing!

  10. Love post — great photograph! You asked,” What are you up to this fall? Are you enjoying the weather outside? Taking photos? Or are you (like me) happily (inside) at your writing station?”

    Doing BOTH. As a dyed-in-the-wool Libra, I’m all about balance.

    As an aside…

    …I signed up in your mailing list section and was hoping to have receive an email notification each time you post. That hasn’t happened and I see it’s been a couple of your posts ago. Do you have a place where I can sign up to receive an email notification each time you publish a fresh post?

    • Julia Munroe Martin says:

      So glad you like the post and photo, Laurie! And glad to hear your life is all about balance. I work at that! I’m looking into the mailing list thing, a problem left over from my migration from blogger to wordpress. Will keep you posted!

  11. Oh, how I love this! Yes, let the battery stay uncharged and the Twitter collecting dust! Who cares when you’re out in the real world enjoying life and all the words and stories it inspires?

    I spent the last week in NY and at two different conferences, meeting so many people and rarely having time to be at my computer; what little social media I did was done via iPhone, which made it easier to quickly check in and out. Today, now that I’m back at my desk, I realize I miss being OUT THERE. Everything’s so much more alive out there, so much more in the now. I need to make an effort to be in touch with it more often.

    • Julia Munroe Martin says:

      Glad you enjoyed it, Natalia! Yes, it’s been an out-in-the-world month for me. That and writing, woohoo! Your time in NY sounds amazing (I loved your blog post)! I know what you mean about wanting to be “out there,” we’re so isolated as writers so much of the time. And I too need to make an effort to be in touch with the IRL world.