Summer break is upon us. My grades have been uploaded, I attended my week-long continuing education teacher training, and my own kids are basically playing games all day at school. We are ready.
Last night when we were out to dinner, Behr asked what everyone’s Summer Resolutions are. We’re planners, even if the plan is to make the most out of doing absolutely nothing.
Hubs is always annoyed when the kids and I discuss our summer goals because while we are dragging floats and lemonade out to the pool, he’s glued to his laptop. If he’s lucky he gets to travel to another city, wear a suit, and talk to other lawyers about good lawyering.
I was expecting Behr to tell me he wanted more pool time or to purchase some obscure Lego mini-figure. Instead, he said, “I want to work on my art.” And as much as I would love to say that he’s planning on drawing landscapes or possibly a comic book, but no… it’ll be fifteen drawings of characters from the Five Nights at Freddy’s franchise. To be fair, he drew an awesome photo that I posted on my Instagram account of a bear of his own creation that he claimed, “had drip”.
W. has other plans. He wants to create a stop-motion animated film this summer – preparation before he heads off to Film Camp. For once he showed interest in something creative that was not solely Dr. Who, Simpsons, or sci-fi related, and I pounced on it. I ran over to our DVDs like a jackrabbit and started throwing recommended discs at him. He walked out of the room with 15 movies under her shoulder with instructions on which ones to start with, which order to watch the rest, and a list of movies he should stream immediately. Obviously, he returned the next day to tell me, “It was just all too much.”
I, too, shared with the group that I had summer resolutions. And some changes to the regular summer plans. I’m excited because this time last year, I was making resolutions that included sending out query letters to agents and small presses. I can remove that from the list. Last summer I was only reading noirs. (Okay, I might keep that going this summer). Last summer, I was running three miles. Sadly, that is not recurring.
For my first resolution – I resolved NOT to make a reading list. Twist, right? Every summer I make a long list of titles for my To Be Read pile. And as rewarding as that can be – I love lists – what ends up happening is I don’t always make it through the list. And despite the fact that I read a big chunk of it, I will look at the two that remain and wonder what might have been. The plan now is to read whatever I’m in the mood for. No themes, no single author focus, and no research for upcoming writing. I’m currently rereading Dark Places by Gillian Flynn and after that, I have no idea.
Resolution two, making it through Love Island season 5. Many of my friends strongly recommended it, but none of them said this season alone was 54 episodes long. A 24-episode season is long, but 54 is unexpected. Even after three different Saturday and Sunday binge sessions, I have only reached the halfway point. Should I give it up? Oh course not. I”m invested now. They just left Casa Amore and heartbreak ensued! I can’t stop now. Shout out to everyone who pushed me to watch it.
Writing is another resolution, which seems silly to put on a list. I might as well resolve to eating and showering. I am so excited that I have a new novel to write. I whipped out my planner and counted out the number of days I have that I can put toward my manuscript in progress. I would love to make some grand declaration that my new manuscript will be ready by the end of summer break, but no. The outline is done. The timeline is done. Part one’s cards have been removed from the board so I can work on Part two. I have time set aside every day for writing. That’s enough.
Part of the writing is also pulling together materials for a workshop I am giving this fall on writing memoirs and literary nonfiction. I’m calling it, “Oh, The Drama,” and it will focus on not only the mechanics but also the pitfalls of writing about real things. I met with a representative from my local library and we arranged for me to be part of their fall series. I love my libraries. I use the plural because ours has several branches that I visit, as well as my campus library, and all the library cards from my past.
And finally, I’m back on yoga and meditation. I have both Crohn’s and Anxiety. And if you crossed the supplementary treatments together in a Venn Diagram, the overlap would say Yoga and Meditation. They are the two things that anyone who struggles with those ailments repeatedly says helps them. And after hearing this over and over I have finally decided that ignoring this is dumb. Also, for crying out loud, yoga is fun. The only thing that’s been an adjustment is the meditation element.
Meditation is simple. It’s sitting quiet and still for an undetermined amount of time. And because of that, it’s the worst. You want me to sit down and not spiral out with my thoughts? Get the f*%k out of here. To be truthful, I have been an on-and-off meditator for years now. I’ve done no app. I’ve done Headspace. I’ve done Calm. I had one app that was just a timer and a bong sound. I’ve done guided meditations but I find the smooth-voiced narrator to be condescending (I’m aware that I am projecting that). I’ve done soundscapes with names like Midnight Rain and Mountain Spa Hot Tub. They all work. I’m the thing that doesn’t work. I’ll do like one or two days straight and then won’t log on for a month. So I decided to invest my time by starting with 5 minutes and then 10 minutes. And after I finally hit a seven-day streak, I invested my money. I found the hippiest, dippiest yoga website and purchased an official meditation cushion. I sat on it and thought, “Wow. This is how those TikTok mindful babes do it.” Yeah. I am actually looking forward to meditation time tomorrow. My friend L is reading this and calling me a nerd. Don’t care, L.
I have other smaller goals like grilling out more, using my juicer, and maybe trying out a sourdough starter. And I make these resolutions the same way people make them on New Year’s, with the hope to see a change in ourselves. I don’t want to change as much as I want a change-up. And summer is the best place for it in between pool sessions.
If you are making summer resolutions that include reading more, I recommend you try Mothers of the Missing Mermaid! Grab your copy here!
Read Books, Wear Boots.