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.
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.
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)
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.
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.