As the calendar tells the story, today we bid farewell to Summer and greet the Fall. Growing up, Summer was always my favorite season, but I guess that was probably because I disliked school. Now, as an adult and a parent, I find Summer to be the most stressful time in my life. The days are long and the kids play late, go to bed late, so I go to bed even later, and I run on thinner fumes than I do the rest of the year. In addition, the industry I work in finds its most hectic months during Summer, so work gets crazy.
Coming off the heels of Summer 2012, I am more exhausted than I’ve been my whole life. I’m also older than I’ve been my whole life, and the flurry of activity I’ve recently been through has tapped my aging vessel to its hilt. I feel that I’ve lived a dozen summers in just this last one. And there’s been much internal change during these recent months. Though I’ve had less time to write than ever, I am internally hemorrhaging muse more profusely than I have in the past, which is causing a mounting pressure in my mind and spirit, and this pressure is building with each day I lack the capacity to release written words. I feel like one of those people who experiences some sort of trauma and develops bleeding on the brain, and the surgeon is frantically applying a scalpel to release the swelling. I guess that’s what writing and blogging has been doing for me, which might make each of you my surgeons, prolonging my life with small incisions to release the pressure. And there are other releasers – other surgical incisions.
To list a few:
– Music. I’ve always adored music (who doesn’t?), but its role in my life has become more crucial lately. I’ve performed music a great deal in the past, but I refuse to call myself a musician because musicians are often a painfully insecure and miserable lot. (But that describes me well these days, so perhaps I ought to call myself one.) Something I started doing at Summer’s beginning was to stop listening to the radio. When commuting, I listen to only my iPod or Pandora; absent from my ears are ads or the stress causing blabber of talk radio. Is the media banter about the upcoming election driving you crazy? I’m blissfully unaware. I’ve not heard a single presidential ad yet.
– Water. Around May, I started drinking it by the gallons. Aside from coffee, it’s the only thing I drink. I always drink it through a straw, and it seems to calm my nerves a little each time I sip. It’s also one of the more likely reasons for the 30+ pounds of weight I’ve dropped this summer.
– Reading. I’ve re-emphasized my intake of literature in recent months. Downloading books electronically has helped a lot, because I have very little time to read. Having the ability to read on multiple devices, including my phone if I find I’m stuck waiting somewhere and have some time to cram reading in – it makes a big difference. I recently started reading Stephen King’s “The Stand” for the first time. (I’m a loser for waiting so long, I know.) That book was my late father’s favorite; he spoke of it for months after reading, and it now makes me think a lot of him. I’m also reminded that King is probably the most talented writer of our time. Unbelievable, that guy.
– Jesus. This summer – or this past year, really, I’ve experienced a truer encounter with Jesus, even as I’ve grown more frustrated and exasperated with church traditions. I love Him more than I did, and I understand more now His love for all humanity. Dirty or clean. Religious or not. Strong or weak. Right or left. He not only loves us, I think that guy actually likes us. Go figure.
I want to bring attention to one special “surgeon”, who managed to perform a crucial incision at the perfect time. This week at work was a killer. Pressure is high as we close out a financial quarter that has been largely disappointing. But on Friday, I experienced the sort of joy displayed by the famous father in “A Christmas Story”. Arriving in the mail – a major award!
A couple weeks ago, I was fortunate to win a prize, awarded by the lovely Boomie over at BoomieBol.wordpress.com. It’s unlikely any of you reading are not already familiar with Boomie, because she’s everywhere on WordPress, but if you don’t already know her, do stop by her blog. She has a habit of transforming herself into a cool breeze and blowing across your face on stifling hot days. In my case, the cool breeze was a new Kindle! I was astounded when it arrived, and I am incredibly grateful. As mentioned, I’ve taken to doing all my reading electronically, and this awesome new device will allow me to do so in a more elegant, less clunky way.
When I arrived home on Friday, I walked up to my seven-year-old and said, “Son, writing is the most important subject in school. If you can write, you can do anything! You may even grow up and write a blog some day, and then you may win a contest and win a Kindle!”
Viewing the newly published novel “The Seneca Scourge” by the talented Carrie Rubin on my major award.