The Last Day of Summer

Today was the last day of summer break.

We celebrated by taking a long walk and playing Pokémon Go. Halfway through our walk I took Toby to the ice cream shop. We trucked back down the long walk and got home. I made veggie nori, basically vegetarian sushi rolls. We forgot the avocados but they were still delicious.

Later in the day we went to the Meet & Greet. I got to meet Toby’s teacher, and made sure to express to her that I’m taking an active part in Toby’s education, and that she could contact me any time to help Toby with his school work.

My son is finally old enough that time is beginning to matter. Summer was too short; it was only two days long, Mom! He’s nervous about going to school this year, which he’s never been before. I imagine that he’ll recover before long.

Getting the kid interested in stuff is the hard part. He’s fascinated by video games, but to the exclusion of pretty much anything else. We’re trying to engage him in Real Life, but you know, what the hell is Real Life anyway?

We all struggle through school. Summer quarter is over but fall classes will start soon, and I know as soon as I start up classes I’ll be pushing through a lot of stuff all over again. Problems will pop up and run tandem with dates when work is due. I won’t know what will happen, yet, I’m just pretty sure that it will.

At this point I’m glad that everything is starting up. We attempted to do ALL THE THINGS this summer and I’m pretty tired by this point. Everything was fun, I don’t regret a moment, but there’s only so long one can run like that without faltering.

It was rather like watching my husband, my friend and her husband getting ready for Pain in the Grass. They decided not to go at the beginning, because that would simply be too long at the concert. They took Powerade, because they didn’t want to get dehydrated. They wore sunblock. Sensible, everyday things that your average twenty-something wouldn’t even consider doing for a concert. When they got home, they joked about the people who were obviously wasted. One girl passed out well before the headlining band showed up. Can you imagine?

I wish I could go back to mindlessly throwing myself at every project and burning my candle at sixteen ends. I wish I could steal my energy from my youth, when I was so more apt to waste it. But the truth is I couldn’t even handle the concert crowd… I opted to stay at my friend’s house and watch her kids and mine, instead.

Yep, the end of this summer vacation not only heralds school, but also a changing of lifestyle. It’s not the worst thing in the world, just more of a natural progression.

That’s right. I’ve gotten old and boring.

As my dad would say, “It beats the hell out of the alternative.”

The Matador

I am finished with summer quarter! I took a World Literature class, and got more out of it than I expected to. I read Tolstoy and Kafka, Borges and Shakespeare, Li Bo and more. I’m a literary nerd now, or at least my business partner seems to think so.

The truth is that I don’t like online classes. When I’m in class, I have a motivation to do ALL THE THINGS. When I’m in an online class, I don’t hear the other students and I don’t get their perspectives, which helps me develop my own method of thinking about the material. I do the reading a teacher asks me to do. I didn’t do all the reading on my online class, and I should have.

That said, I was doing the bare minimum but I kept getting high marks and ‘Excellent work’ from my teacher. She even thought I interpreted poetry well! I got into the class more and more. I didn’t just get high marks – I got retention and recall out of it.

That’s the upside of this summer. And there were a few. I have spent time with Toby, finally without summer school, and he’s a blast. I’ve seen him grow a lot this summer. We’ve worked on school habits he needs to improve, like his handwriting, and I’ve seen a lot of improvement in a short amount of time. He’s grown a lot in other ways as well but that development is it’s own post.

I have learned the hard way that taking a class, taking care of an active nine-year-old, running the household and trying to write a novel on top of all of it… not to mention having an active social life… requires more spoons than I have.

Summer = spoon debt.

I hit this wall the first quarter I started school, too, not because of the season but because I lived my life differently. I still lived on the time demands of a worker rather than a student, and I had no idea how many spoons would be invested in school.

Apparently, it is my lot in life to try to do too much, in any given situation. My friends would point and laugh, they’ve been telling me this for years. However, this time around it had an impact on my health and that wasn’t cool. I have to slow down, or face the consequences of having a brick wall slow me down instead.

I’m afraid that if I slow down, I won’t get it all done. That said, when I was going twice as fast, I was *still* afraid of not getting it done. I believe at this point that I’m just not going to get it all done, because that is one way that life is different than stories… but then I’m afraid I’ll lose my fire for getting things done if I decide to relax instead of being motivated.

I haven’t quite figured out how I’m coming to terms with that one. Certainly I will muddle it out here.

Change is inevitable, I suppose, it’s just whether it knocks you down or whether you grab it by the horns. I’ve always been more of a grab it by the horns girl, myself.

 

Like Kudzu but More Prolific

At this point, it should be noted that writing has completely taken over my life. As this summer appeared, I had one goal – to work on my novel, Typhon Inc. I had all the best intentions, but while I wasn’t looking, an opportunity arose to write a short story for a gaming company that publishes my favorite game systems. I hurriedly dashed off a submission. I had written a short story for the lovely folks at Oriental Excess, a sequel to “The Gaijin and the Butterfly.” I titled it, “The Butterfly Stings.” I sent it off to them months ago but I haven’t heard a word since. There have been some rumors that they aren’t going to do a second round of books. It’s a shame, but no reason to waste a perfectly good story. I put “The Butterfly Stings” for sale on Amazon instead.

Meanwhile I have a short story coming due for Hot Mess 2 through Barely Salvageable Press, and I’m hard at work editing my story for the deadline. It’s a follow up to the Sanguinarian story that appears in the first Hot Mess compendium.

So, wait, didn’t I say that I should be working on Typhon Inc.?

You’re right, and I have. However, working on a novel isn’t like working on a short story. A short story can be churned out in a manner of days. Revisioning and editing aside, the sitting down and churning out a small story doesn’t demand the same amount of time. If short stories are sprints, then a novel is a marathon.

I’ve approached the book from a couple of angles, and to spare you the boring play-by-play, I have had to try completely new (to me) techniques to develop the novel. The good news is that there isn’t much lost by trying different styles on a novel. The bad news is that it is a time consuming process and it can’t be shortcut. I’m simply in for the long haul, to try to figure out what I’m doing from here.

I’ve never done a sequel before, and Bento Box was intended as a standalone, so the learning curve was steeper than I anticipated. There’s lots of the world to uncover, and I’m trying to keep the same fun tone that the first one sported, while giving the world more depth this time.

That, blended with taking care of my son for the summer and taking a class through my college so I can graduate on time has generated a large amount of time consumption. There’s no rest for the wicked here.