When I think about the summer that is just about upon us I immediately think about the fact that I should have more time to write and to read. There are plenty of books I am looking forward to getting into. I remember the summer when I turned thirteen. I tried to read everything Ray Bradbury wrote that summer and I actually had the time to do it! This summer I won't be reading anyone's collected works, but I already have a healthy stack of books on the night table waiting. I just started reading The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, a book I had never had the time to get to before. That lead to reading about the author, Muriel Spark, and Edinburgh back in the thirties and then watching the movie. One thing leads to another, and hooray!, there is time in summer to follow the trail.
I am also looking forward to some travel. There are always new writing ideas, characters, settings, and bits of trivia out there waiting to be discovered and then used somewhere in a story. Our family will be back vacationing in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina for two weeks in late July. In reading up on the area, I recently ran across a blurb in a real estate newsletter from down there that mentioned a 13 foot alligator that had to be rounded up because he was hanging out in a local park and "worrying" the children. The last straw came when he interrupted a soccer game and ate the ball. After a two-day effort he was corralled and put down. This is what they found inside of him: a soccer ball, two baseballs, a tennis ball, a beer can, 36 fishing lures, 1/2 pound of lead sinkers, 45 pounds of rocks, and a 7 foot alligator! My son swears four of the fishing lures are prized Rapalas he lost down there in the Spring.
Another nice thing about summer is having time to reconnect with our kids. Both are in college and it is very informative to hear what is on their minds and what they find interesting these days. I've been treated to lots of things on the web, particularly on youtube, that I would have never stumbled upon on my own. I've been promised a trip to the movies for Father's Day by my daughter and we'll get to run a 5K together later this month. Just finding out what movies she thought were viable possibilities for us (Dark Shadows, The Dictator, and The Avengers) and why helps keep me informed about young adults that I write about and for. Even better for story material are the neighborhood social dramas that have reignited now that the girls are back in town from college. I can't comment on those here, but they are alive and well and hold much potential for writing.
I love the time and opportunity that summer affords us for all of these wonderful things. It really makes life and writing so much better. Have a great summer!