This summer I planned to finish a manuscript, but a vacation to L.A (to see family) and later a trip to northwest Spain and Portugal (I don’t expect sympathy) disrupted the writing and since my return to Virginia, I’ve experienced a persistent numb resistance to putting pen to paper, fingers to keys. I wonder can it be summer’s slow siren, distracting me from the habit and pleasure of writing? Does summer trigger something in me that makes me want to get nothing done? Back home in the heat and haze of long days, after my chores at the retreat, I want to read, not write, watch a thunderstorm from the porch, piddle around. I hoped others felt the same. I asked the poet Sharron Singleton, “Are you still writing in the summer?”
“Am I still writing in the summer? Of course, I am. It doesn’t seem to me that writing has much to do with the season. In fact, for me, summer is as fertile a time for writing as it is for the blooming, green earth. Just out of curiosity, I checked the list of all my poems and see that many of them were inspired by summer observations and experiences, such as working in my garden, cicadas, praying mantises, the heat, storms, mowing the lawn, etc. Also, in the intense Virginia summer, I can only work outside in the early morning so afternoons in an air-conditioned room, watching hummingbirds drinking deeply from sugar-water, are a perfect time to write. My husband and I are taking a three-day train trip to Seattle shortly and I’m already looking forward to finding a poem somewhere in the sweep of the great plains as we travel westward. As Henry James said, “Summer afternoon, summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”
Summer afternoon, summer afternoon, yes
–Trudy HaleShare this post with your friends.