When you’re a kid, summer seems endless: hanging out at the beach, the lake; if you were a city kid, you rode your stingray or caught the bus to the community swimming pool. Three months of sleeping in, sleeping outside on those hot August nights, just hanging out . Endless.
I regret I didn’t make better use of at least some of that downtime; learn the sax, join the Scouts, volunteer for something.
So now, summer always includes a project, a goal to pursue, something that when I look back I can say, “Oh, yeah. That’s the summer when…”
- I was 19 and lost 35 pounds. You should have seen the faces of Diane and Vivian on the first day back at college.
- I remodeled my house, although my physical labor stopped at writing the check to the contractor.
- I started a small backyard fruit orchard, one of my favorite summer projects because unlike most aspects of life, at the end of day, wine in hand (stained with irrigation pipe glue), I could go out and see immediate results. This summer I’ll harvest plums and nectarines. Next year I should have cherries and apricots, maybe a few apples.
- I learned how to read music, thanks to Music Theory for Dummies.
- I bought a CD-Rom and sat in the shade trying to learn Slovak. I didn’t get too far beyond knowing how to say the names of fruits and vegetables, but I sounded so fluent when I said “vidlička” (fork).
This summer, I’m helping Ian Tripp save the cat in my second novel–and pitching my first to any agent or editor willing to take a look.
What about you? What’s your summer project? Paint an oil seascape? Paint the house? Read all Louis L’Amour westerns?
(I’ve done that, but it took me two summers.)