The August theme “Hot” makes me think about how much I love summer. I have always loved summer. When I was 11, summer meant I could spend all day reading. I cherished my time with books. And the freedom to read one from beginning to end in one sitting. That was heaven. Summer also meant time to ride horses and to act out plays with my sister, sometimes we even performed on roller skates. As a Mom, hot summer days mean watching my two daughters (8 and 12) have time to use their imaginations—to read books, write poetry, create buildings out of recycled materials, bake cupcakes and run on the beach. The long days allow for more adventures and sometimes let us to grow in ways we can’t when we are busy with school, schedules and deadlines.
Summer was a really important element in my novel, Jane in Bloom. Summer is the season of Jane’s healing after losing her sister. Summer gives Jane the time to grieve and to bloom. Sometimes, as middle grade authors, we need the setting of summer to allow our characters the freedom to explore and embark on their adventures. Or to reinvent themselves.
Summer is magical. The word conjures images of dappled woods and lazy streams, meadows alive with butterflies and daffodils, horses grazing and of course white-tipped waves gracing sandy beaches. On this hot summer day, I challenge all of you to a writing exercise. Think of your favorite summer image. It can be a memory or a dream, reality or fantasy. Smell the orange blossoms. Taste the cherry Popsicle. Breathe in the salty air from the seashore. Touch the soft mane of your horse. Hear the sounds of laughter from the kids playing in the swimming pool. Feel the freedom. Now write about it. Maybe it will be the beginning of your next novel. Or maybe it will be part of your journal. Maybe it will just be fun. Because isn’t that what summer means most of all? Summer means fun. Have some fun today.