Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Another Summer Over, and What Have You Done?
Whoosh! That was quick. I swear that summer (and life in general) goes by more rapidly with every passing year. Even my children seemed to feel like this season of rest and rejuvenation was too brief. The way I remember it, when I was a kid, summer was endless, to the point that you were actually starting to get bored and anxious to go back to school.

Although I chose a cartoon that suggests I don't like school, I actually do. And the beginning of a school year is like a clean slate and fresh start every year. Each year, I get to take what I did in the previous year (and all the years before that), pull out the good stuff to reuse and reshape the rest of it into something that will work better. It's like having a re-do button once a year.

And I really do love teaching, even though it wears me out and frustrates the heck out of me sometimes. Kids are way better people than adults sometimes. There's something just this side of magical about being there when they make a leap and grow, and that's an experience I often have eight or ten times a day.

Plus, it's work that matters. Capital M Matters, in that deep, cosmic sense. I make a difference. I've been a teacher for twenty years now, so that's something like two or three thousand people (at a minimum) whose lives I've been a part of. Enough of them keep in touch, that I know I've had some positive effects.
So, I'm happy to be back in the classroom. But I still mourn the open space of summer. It amounted to something like seven weeks this year, and, while that helps, it's not enough to smooth all my edges and build my stamina back up. So, I'm looking back at what I said I wanted from summer.

1. Writing, lots and lots of writing. Finish the sequel and submit it. Revise the opening to Cold Spring and resubmit it. Finish writing the novella for the superhero novella and submit it. Write a few more short stories. Resubmit (revising if necessary) everything that has come back rejected. Decide which of my projects will get my hard focus next: the second book in the Cold Spring trilogy? the third book in the menopausal superheroes? the middle grades novel?
Well, I did a lot of these things. Sequel? check! R&R for Cold Spring? Check! Novella? Check! a few more short stories…well, no. I've begun one but not finished it, though I did revise three others. Resubmit? Check! Though some rejections have cycled back around again and it's time to resubmit yet again. Decisions? Well, sorta. I've begun work on the Cold Spring book, but it's slow going. I'm not going to do any big work towards the three-quel for my menopausal heroes until the second book has made it through to editing. Apparently, that middle grades novel is still sitting in the drawer waiting for its moment in the sun. So all in all, I'd say I did pretty well on this front.

2. Reading, lots and lots of reading. I struggle to find time to read during the school year, and I love to swim in the sea of books all summer long.
I still want more reading time. But that's the way of it when you love books. According to my
Goodreads stats
, I read fifteen books this summer. I also beta read two books. I'm nine books ahead on my challenge to read fifty-two books this year (one per week). Of course, I didn't really put a dent in my TBR list, because I picked up just as many new books as I read! Still, all in all, I feel good about the amount I read this summer.
3. Summer outings: swimming, beaching, farmer's markets, berry-picking, hiking, visiting grandparents, GEN CON!
This was probably the part I felt most disappointed in. Making all that writing progress kept me at my computer a lot. Coupled with some really really hot weather and high humidity all summer, I didn't hike, berry pick, farmer's market, beach or anything else outside much. I did help teach the little one to ride her bike (which wasn't on my list, but was on hers), so there's an extra. Me and the youngest spawn also got some nice time with grandparents and I did get my trip to Gen Con (which was awesome). I wrote some articles for GeekDad about various things there, too. Next summer, I vow to get out more though. We'll just have to go early, before it gets too hot!
4. Sleeping and resting: let those days start a little later and actually wake up feeling rested. Take naps. Watch a little TV.
I slept till eight or nine o'clock nearly every day. That may not sound late. But I have a kid under ten years old. And during the school year, I get up between five-thirty and six. So, it was a slice of heaven for me. I didn't take naps, but I did get to watch all of Orphan Black with my teenager, and some of Agents of Shield, so, for me, that's a lot of TV.

5. Household catch-up: All that stuff that piled up all year and is now a fire hazard in the garage. Yep, time to bring out the backhoe and deal with that stuff.
 So, I can claim only minimal progress on this front. Truth be told, as much as I hate living with the disorder, I also hate the work of handling the disorder. It makes me hate my previous self who thought it was okay to let things pile up. So, there's a path begun through the garage, but it's still one onerous task. (sigh) It might be easier to just to move.

I can drive myself crazy sometimes, focusing only on what is still on the to-do list, instead of knowing how much is on the "done list" (like one of my online friends advises). So, this post was a good one for me. It was a good summer. Next summer will be even better!


  1. My feeling is that anyone who accomplishes all of their goals for a certain length of time didn't have enough goals. Goal-setting is like weightlifting -- you don't add muscle until you fail on the last repetition.

  2. You got a lot of reading done! Well done! I am also disappointed in my summer outings. The most I did was go to the library, get groceries, and go to a firework show on the 4th. That's it. I didn't even go to the beach. :\

    I hope you enjoy this school year!

    1. Sadly, we did not make it to the beach either. The littlest Bryant is a little miffed about that.