I’m sitting here listening to Eddie Cochran sing his 1958 hit SUMMERTIME BLUES Paul’s video jukebox (http://www.1959bhsmustangs.com/VideoJukebox.htm#) on my PC and when I hear the lyric “You can’t have the car because you didn’t work a lick” I realize that I haven’t written a lick since May! (I still get the car though, one of the benies of making the payments.) I pledge to give myself a swift kick in the keester and then put that off (are you like me in summer–able to procrastinate about procrastinating. Yeah, I can put off putting things off.)
I have to be fair with myself we all know Maine summers are short (especially up here in THE COUNTY where we have nine months of winter and three months to get ready for it). and I live in a house built in 1900, which means there’s always something needing fixin’. This summer I’ve only had three things on my plate: (1) a farmer porch runs along two walls of my house and over the years the outside has settled, pulling it away from the house (it sure makes a good rain interesting . . . watching the water pour–not drip–through the wainscotting), (2) a section of roof over the bathroom (Inside, thank God–yes, believe it or not indoor plumbing has come to Aroostook County!) needs repailacement. Then there’s (3) replacing the shelter that collapsed last winter. Include the temptation to put the boat in the water and go fishing (which I been successful in doing) and taking those day-long ATV rides through the abundant forests (which based upon the amount of logging I’ve seen aren’t really abundant anymore. By the way mystery writers and fans did you catch the clue in this statement? Yeah, I haven’t succeeded putting off my ATV rides.)
Then there are the usual maintenance chores like cutting the grass (which in early summer is a twice-a-week job, not to mention that the house sits on .85 of an acre) which can take anywhere from 3 to 4 hours, depending on how fussy I get.
We mustn’t forget sitting on the porch performing my self-appointed job as neighborhood watch, watching the aforementioned grass grow, and watching the hummingbirds. It’s no wonder I don’t get much written done.
Did I mention that my publisher seems to like to release my books in the summer. In summer I attend Thursdays on Sweden in Caribou(I blogged about this last year) and appearances at the Caribou and Presque Isle libraries (average attendance two, the librarianand one other. However TOS has been a success. There are no major book sellers north of Bangor and only one smaller store that sells new books (everything else is a used book store–which I enjoy perusing, but it’s tough to sell new books when there could be copies of some of yours on the shelf for a dollar or two.)
I’ve considered putting in a vegetable garden, but have no idea which of the above listed activities I’d be willing to give up. Then there’s the fact that I’ve never in my life gardened and haven’t a single clue how to do it. So, in closing, what do you use to keep from writing in the summer? Maybe in a couple of months I’ll do a blog on why it’s so darned hard for me to write in autumn!
Great conversation starter, Vaughn.
My avoidance devices? Gardening. Swimming. Cooking. More coooking. Making blueberry jam. Making more jam.
I have been trying to make myself write a thousand words a day, and I am editing on of my mom’s old manuscripts.
Did I mention staring at clouds?
Thanks Kate. I too place a 1000 word per day challenge on myself… I better get back to it.
I only write a small, anemic blog and I can’t even keep up with that in the summer. I try to do everything in the summer that I can’t do the rest of the year – most of it outdoor stuff but a lot of home repairs also. Mostly I spend a lot of time trying to figure out where said time went.
I don’t know about anyone else but I find it easier to write a novel than I do a blog!
Excellent list of formidable challenges turning a planned writing summer into a non-writing one.
I don’t have the extra challenges of being in THE COUNTY, but achieve success processing firewood and kindling, trips to farm stands and farmers markets, tending a few raised beds with volunteer tomatoes, trips to the hardware store and the library (to chip away at my reading lis)t, and sitting on my screen porch to clear my head and connect with nature, ready to jot down items to add to my 10-page “rolling writing task list”, with 9 pages on non-writing things like networking, marketing, platform, queries and pitches, publishing avenues and 1 page on manuscript and story ideas.
Perhaps a bit off topic, but your discussion of Aroostook made me think of the blessings of Aroostook, from my limited experience, as I mention in a story on my life in the “hedgerows of the law” I’m trying to get published, in which I discuss the decline of professional civility, courtesy and collegiality over a 50-year career:
“[I’ve observed] the conduct of lawyers toward opposing lawyers and litigation parties, serving on cases with them from Aroostook County south through Maine to Portland, then on to Boston and from there to Rhode Island and on to New York City. The culture starts at a high point in the north, descending gradually as you head south, until it reaches its nadir in the Big Apple, the low points often laced with hardball practices aimed at harming the opponents, arrogance, disdain and nastiness.”
I agree David, there is a general lack of professional civility, courtesy and collegiality in our culture–I blame a lot of it on television shows that attempt to make dysfunctionality and having attitude comedic. Our society has lost a lot over my lifetime (I just hit the big seven-oh). I am glad I won’t be around when my grandsons are my age…
Beautiful house! When you get through fixing it up would you like to work on my house in Edgecomb? I have been writing this summer (sad, I know,) but the house is in dire need to help! So hard to do everything that needs doing … enjoyed your post, but am a bit jealous! I do manage to sit on my porch occasionally (yesterday!) – usually accompanied by either my husband and a beverage, or by pages needing editing. Not a bad life!
I’m with you Lea. I mutter and moan about the publishing industry and about the struggle to write and keep getting published but the truth of the matter is I’ve never had it so good or been any happier.
Great post! I’ve been nursing a bad knee all summer and sitting under the hummingbird feeders with a book while letting the sun bake it and drinking my fruit smoothie (half bought, half grown ingredients) of the day is so much easier than writing.
Sound good John (except for that bad knee part) We have four feeders and every so often it’s like a helicopter battle as they all seem to want the same one. Maybe hummers are like kids–they always want what the other has!