Summer – Read, Relax, Travel, Write

Summer’s Coming

Arizona summer monsoon morning

It’s still happening. Memorial Day. Then the middle of June. Then the first day of summer. And I want to  travel. Relax. Do lots of stream of consciousness writing. A bit weird considering I’ve been retired from official careers of teaching and life coaching for  two decades. I don’t have to wait for summer vacation to relax or take a trip. I can have the lazy attitude of summer whenever I want, especially living in Tucson Arizona. But old habits linger. Only in June, July and August does my desk get cleared of more organized writing and home projects. I’ll still be editing and writing, but with a bit of a different attitude. Here are some of my ideas. They may work for you too.

Summer Reading

Read “fluff” books as my fellow teachers and I did each summer when classroom goodbyes and hugs were given, with a mix of smiles, relief, and some good-bye tears. School reports were completed, supplies packed away, keys handed in. My colleagues and I met for a long lunch (because we could with no time restrictions), and exchanged books and book titles for summer reading.

Thinking of Miller Place

My favorite summer read is still my first book Thinking of Miller Place: A Memoir of Summer Comfort. It’s been ten years since the book first came out and five years since I visited Miller Place, my childhood haven on Long Island in New York. Posts from former residents show they miss it as much as I do.

Summer Viewing

Favorite films wait to be viewed again. This will free my mind from over-concern for clients and colleagues. I want to watch films of pretty and exotic places and idealized times. Think Little Women, Enchanted April, Queen of the Desert, and still my all-time favorite Gone with the Wind. New and recommended films inspire me to go to an actual movie theater. The White Crow (yes, I loved it), Rocketman, Bohemian Rhapsody (yes, again), Amazing Grace (just to see Aretha again)

Summer Travel

Travel catalogues start to accumulate on our dining room table. My most recent lure has been to become active with my community’s travel group. My list of want-to-go-to places just tripled. One of our members has been to all seven continents. Another organizes barge travel groups. There is strong appeal about travel to new places, and revisiting old favorites. Summer is when local trips become a reality and plans get made for the year ahead.

Summer Writing

Snippets for writing

I want to play with words. My Snippets pad is overflowing. Snippets is where I jot down funny phrases, bits of overheard conversation, and visual memories that I hope to turn into words, and to essays and stories that will translate back into visual journeys for readers. Phrases from our travel group’s viewing of Rick Steve’s  “The Value of Travel” are calling to be explored and expanded. “Thoughtful travel.” “Travel wallops my ethnocentricity.” “Embrace other heroes.”

Summer travel will find us on the East Coast to see family and friends; some familiar spots; some new. Will it be the same? What will be different? How am I different? Grist for the writing mill.

Where are you off to this summer?

Tucson writer Ethel Lee-Miller writes about people, the power of words, and the writing life. She is the author of Thinking of Miller Place, and Seedlings, Stories of Relationships. She also enjoys sharing stories at Odyssey Storytelling, Tucson Tellers of Tales, and just about anywhere there’s a mic. 


  1. Hank Miller

    Good ideas.
    Looking forward to enjoying summer with you

    • Ethel Lee-Miller

      Writing, relaxing, traveling. We can do it all!

  2. Eileen Erickson

    Taking a road trip from Tucson to the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York should reap many stories for me! We’ll definitely be sharing tales!

    • Ethel Lee-Miller

      You- cross country on land. Me- in the air.
      Thanks for stopping by here at ELM.

  3. Such a wonderful newsletter, Ethel, full of great suggestions for spending our long summer days and possibly nights. It’s good to have a friend like you to look after our interests. Wishing you all the relaxing times during this summer, and please make sure you let us know.

    • Ethel Lee-Miller

      Thank you, Nooshie. Summer still has the magic of childhood attached to it for me, so I share ideas and welcome hearing about the summer ideas and memories from other people.
      Thank you for your professional and personal friendship.

  4. I love the idea of summer almost as much as summer itself, and for me it’s all about June, when summer possibilities seem endless! We are traveling to South Dakota this week, the state where I was born, where we will meet up with the Zvonek cousins for a wedding.

    • Ethel Lee-Miller

      A family wedding- you know there will be “seedlings” of stories at that event.
      Thanks for sharing your summer thoughts.

  5. Denise Jones

    I love your sense of adventure Ethel. You painted a picture of an alluring summer.
    Will connect with you soon.

    • Ethel Lee-Miller

      I still love summer even though our Tucson summers are a bit warmer than NJ. Thanks for “stopping by.”
      Looking forward to hearing “what’s new!”

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