It is almost the dead month. No, not October when kids get to trick or treat. August, when most publishing houses close down for a month. Anything sent in during that month is bound to get lost in a huge heap of poorly sorted material. For me, this is good.
I begin teaching at the very end of August each year. The dead month allows me to get ahead on my writing and prepare it for submission in September, while also prepping for my classes. It’s a busy time for me and not much else can get done. Except that I live in the real world where all kinds of things need to be done, so time gets compressed and I wind up writing either late at night or mid-day when the heat is too much to work outside. Today is a noon writing session.
Why? Is it too hot? No. We had a death in the family, my father in law, and now we have to attend a funeral. You can argue all day, but, in the end, you still have to go to the funeral. My wife’s sister is here and tomorrow we bury James Carpenter in Moss Landing. To me, he was a good guy who remembered me long after Alzheimer’s had claimed the memories of his daughters. I doubt very much if I’ll write tomorrow, maybe at night.
We also started a remodeling summer task, the infamous back yard project. This will probably eat up most of my mornings and mid-days for the next month. It requires demolition, excavation, rewiring the house panel, and a truly astonishing amount of detail work. Frankly, I have plenty of reasons just to stop writing for a while.
I won’t, though. There are always reasons not to write. They pop up every day. They raise their sneaky heads up and try to put you back into a lazy frame of mind. Unfortunately for the reasons, the act of writing is much too satisfying to give up, even for a short time.
I make a single exception to this. When my wife and I spend a lot of money to go on a vacation, I indulge myself in the experience and write only what I can’t contain for two weeks. My blog about the passing of Harlan was written while I was in Hawaii. Sometimes grief comes pouring out and can’t be stoppered. What finally allowed me to rest was casting a lei in the ocean off Kohala for him and saying a Shinto prayer. I’m not Shinto by any measure and Harlan certainly wasn’t, but sometimes the circumstances dictate what needs to be done and this time, they told me to honor his memory in a very particular way.
So, dead month is nearly upon us and I’m cranking out stories as fast as I can type. I have a goal of seven new stories and to finish the first draft of my novel, Alice, by the beginning of school. For now, though, you can read the story “The Muse” at https://academyoftheheartandmind.wordpress.com/2018/07/04/the-muse/
and one of my poems, “Last Chance”, at Fiction Week Literary Review when it is published for Fall 2018. I will be posting a new short story on my web page by August 1st.