Summer, How I’ve Grown to Love Thee

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“It’s gonna be a hot one,” he said as he stepped onto the boat.

I’m not a summer person. What I mean by that is I don’t like the heat (usually).

But I grew to love summer when my kids were young and they played outside all day long, soaking up the summer warmth and fun. I loved it even more when they were school age and teens, when summer meant long vacations, sleeping in (for them), leisurely trips to the beach, long summer car vacations. In short, I loved summer with my kids.

My kids no longer have summer vacations (not long ones anyway, they both work full time)—although they’ve both been to Maine for a taste of summer—and I’m rethinking how I feel about summer, in general… Last winter was the winter from hell. It was colder and snowier than any winter we’ve had in a long time, and now I suddenly find myself a fan of summer. I can’t even seem to mind the heat. And I don’t want it to end.

Yesterday we—and by “we” I of course mean MEH (My Engineer Husband) and I—went to take sunrise photos on the dock at Littlejohn Island (that’s one of the photos I took at the top of the post). As we stood and watched the sun rise, a fisherman walked down to the dock and stood with his gear, waiting. “Mornin’,” he said as he walked by. Across the water, we could hear a boat approach from Chebeague Island. As MEH and I watched, the commercial fishing boat pulled up to the dock and the fisherman got on board.

He looked up at us as he stepped onto the boat and said, “It’s gonna be a hot one.” He smiled and waved as the boat pulled away. He was right.

This summer I’ve found lots to do. I haven’t blogged (here on my blog) for almost two months—the longest break I’ve taken ever from posting a blog. I’ve been doing other things during my summer break…

Writing. I’ve revised one novel (cut over 15,000 words and wrote a new first chapter), and now I’m querying. I’m also 20,000 words into a new novel; it opens with four kids graduating from high school and starting summer vacation. It’s sweeping me away.

Reading. I’ve read a lot of books this summer. I really loved middle grade When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead. And Miss Emily by Nuala O’Connor—which I just wrote this review about for Great New Books.

Editing. At the beginning of this summer Therese Walsh asked if I’d be an assistant editor for Writer Unboxed. I was honored. I’ve been working for Writer Unboxed, coordinating guest posts, for about a year and a half. I’ve also been blogging there for about three years (how is that possible?). I had two posts there this summer, one about why I’m rethinking my spying ways, and last week, I posted one about my writing rules (and why I have only one).

Watching. MEH and I just finished binge watching Alias, which I loved. I also watched HawthoRNe (not about the famous writer, which is why I started watching in the first place), which I didn’t love. VEEP, which we loved and laughed through, and I strongly recommend. We watched movies. Spy in the theater, which we loved and laughed through, and also strongly recommend. We went to see Paper Towns which I wasn’t crazy about (I read the book, too, also not so crazy about it). And last night we watched The Rewrite on DVD and it was (yes) about writing and was a good movie although not deep in the least.

Gardening. But not enough. The weeds and woods are taking over the garden. And the deer ate most of the beans and a good deal of the Swiss Chard, and about half the potato crop was eaten by some kind of grubs. It’s the way life is as a backyard farmer in Maine. But we still have lots of tomatoes and kale. And we have a lovely volunteer pumpkin (the plant reseeded itself from last year). And we’ve been going to the Portland Farmers’ Market every Saturday where we’ve bought the best blueberries we’ve ever eaten. Summer makes eating local so easy and good.

And that’s what I’ve been doing on my summer vacation, how about you?

Cheers,

Julia

Comments

  1. Barb Riley says:

    Hi Julia! Your resident winter-loving girl, reporting in… I, too, have softened to summer. I still hate the miserable heat and humidity, but aside from these past few weeks of that type of weather, it’s been beautiful in Chicago (IMO). I injured my back right before Mother’s Day, so a good portion of my summer has been spent in pain and in physical therapy, so I’ve appreciated the warmth of my deck in the backyard to just sit (or lie) on my swing and read. We’ve also taken several college road trips with my daughter as she narrows down her final choices.

    Sounds like you’ve been super productive (I’m not surprised!) with your writing this summer. That’s great to hear! And congratulations on becoming an assistant editor for WU!

    I love your photo for this post. It’s very soothing to view. I’ve missed you here, but am glad you took a break. It’s good for the soul to live life away from the blog for a while. :)

    • Hi there Barb!!! So sorry to hear about your back but glad you’re having a good summer. The heat and humidity are my least favorite part, I’m with you. Narrowing college choices…you must be counting the days. I am missing my daughter living way across the country so hope yours will be closer by at least for a while. And I’ve missed you as well! We really need to catch up soon. xox

  2. Cherry says:

    I have been enjoying feeling well this summer. I had weeks of feeling unwell which is all. to boring to explain . But when you are unwell it seems to consume your life . Now I am enjoying life but I do have to go to hospital for a routine test in a couple weeks . Dreading it cos I think they will find something else wrong with me.
    Having lots of family visits and neighbours visits. …oh the joy .
    Cherryx

    • I’m so sorry you’ve been unwell, Cherry. I know what you mean that it can consume your life. I am sending best thoughts your way for an all clear from your next hospital visit. And the visits can be the double edged sword, I know. Take care. Thinking of you. xo

  3. Micky Wolf says:

    A lovely ‘tale of summer’, Julia.. :)

    I agree. Not (usually) a hot weather person myself, especially when the humidity soars right along with the temps. But after last winter, am savoring each snow and ice free moment.

    We’ve been stripping wallpaper and painting most of the rooms in our house for the past couple of months. What a job, although the finished results are delightful. Our bedroom is now becoming the coastal-light blue-shell patterns-and-white trim-oasis I have been dreaming of having for a long time. :)

    Garden is beginning to fade. Not a lot of tomatoes this year but several kinds of peppers that are awesome–in quantity and size. Will soon begin the process of removing spent vines and assorted other plants.

    Have managed to continue posting weekly to my blog (missed one week) and do some work on my novel in the midst of all the DIY.

    But for now…fall and winter can hang back for awhile, eh? :)

    • Thank you, glad you enjoyed it! I’ve experienced wallpaper stripping, so I understand! Your bedroom sounds amazing and serene. Nice! Your peppers sound amazing, very challenging to grow them here, although I think we found a variety that performs well. Garden clean up… not my favorite. So, yes, fall and winter can wait!

  4. Leah says:

    I can so relate to your post. One of the things I love about working from home is I can enjoy summer vacation with Sophie the way I did as a kid. There’s just something so nice about the slower pace that lends itself to more time to read and enjoy the outdoors. I’ll be sad when she goes back to school in three weeks. But of course, fall is always nice too!

    • Working at home is so good that way. The end of the summer always was bittersweet, for sure, but fall is special in other ways. Although for the kids… mine used to say the first day of school is the best…until you realize you have to go back the second day and the day after that… enjoy those last three weeks!

  5. What a lovely post to read. :) It sounds like you’ve been doing pretty much what I’ve been doing — taking the summer “off” from blogging and just… living. I’m so glad!! “volunteer pumpkin” made me chuckle. It’s so nice to hear from you again, Julia!

    • Thank you, Annie! Yes, just living…and writing…and reading. It’s been very nice. Congratulations on your latest poem publication — read the good news on FB! That’s awesome!

  6. Susan Larson says:

    Hi Julia:

    It’s been a while since we’ve communicated — since 2011 when I last wrote on my personal blog LitLinx. I began writing news full-time, then was laid off, and now am piecing together a living by freelance writing, subbing at the library and managing social media for businesses. Anyway, today I looked at LitLinx, read one of your comments and fondly remembered our Internet friendship. It’s nice to be back in touch.

    • Of course I remember you, Susan!! So nice to hear from you, and I’m so glad you got back in touch. But I’m so sorry you were laid off — we’ve gone through that so I understand. It really is good to be back in touch!

  7. Chris says:

    All I have to say about this summer is I’m ready for fall. I hope that doesn’t sound whiny, as it’s supposed to sound rage-infused. *shakes fist at sky*

  8. Looks like you’ve had a lovely and productive summer, Julia.

    I am looking forward to trying some of those delicious Maine blueberries. I hope they are still in season when I get there! :)

    • I’m pretty sure you’ll be able to find a blueberry when you’re here (but I can’t promise!)…yes, I’ve had a busy summer. And we’ve been very lucky with the weather, a trend that is likely to continue for your visit!! Can’t wait!

  9. Nina says:

    You have been so busy! I think it’s so cool that you are intricately involved with Writer Unboxed. It was one of the first blogs I read (maybe 5 years ago?) and I remember how much the posts helped me back then. Since I don’t write fiction anymore I tend to visit less, but I miss it and this post reminded me of that. It’s an amazing community over there.

    Great work on so much writing and reading this summer!

    • Thank you! I love WU, and it was one of the first writer blogs I ever visited as well (I even remember the very first post I commented on!). If I’m getting a lot done, it’s through lack of a lot of distractions. I am consistently inspired by your productivity and reading level while being a busy mom of 4. Truly inspirational.