Sunday, June 20, 2021

Summer Memories: An Ocean of Inspiration

My memories are always a treasure of inspiration for my writing, and summer memories are some of the best. In fact, two of my novels are based on summer memories. My most recent, When I Hit the Road, tells the story of Samantha's summer road trip with her Gram who's dream is to sing karaoke. And my summer camp story, Just Like Me, tells Julia's story of self-discovery when she heads off to sleepaway camp with her two "Chinese Sisters" (girls adopted from the same Hunan orphanage she was). Though neither of these stories are actual true stories about things that happened to me, my personal summer experiences gave me the spark that created the ideas for both of them.

Not sure why summer memories are so special. Maybe it's "carefree" feeling of being out of school for the summer. Or, maybe it's the warm weather and long days that provide the perfect opportunity for fun. Though these are both just the right ingredients for making good memories, I think for me, the most important thing about summer memories is the extended time we get to spend with family and friends. When I think back to my childhood summer memories, they are filled with the people I love and the special times we shared.

So, as a tribute to all of those memories and the friends and family who made them special, here are a few of my favorites:  staying up late with my sister and watching "Johnny Carson," spending time at my grandparents' cottage, roller skating on the driveway with neighbors, fishing and swimming up north with my cousins, going to sleepaway camp with school friends, and trying to stand up on the inner tube at the lake with my brother and sister. In looking at my list, I realize that many of these things seem quite ordinary, but that just shows that summertime with friends and family makes for extraordinary memories no matter what activities you find yourself doing. And those extraordinary memories inspire, not just my work as an author, but also the person I have become.

Enjoy your chance to make extraordinary memories this summer!

Nancy J. Cavanaugh   


  1. It's been so much fun to hear about all the "ordinary" things we enjoyed as kids to while away summer days. Thanks for sharing your list Nancy.

  2. I agree--I LOVE these summertime lists. It brings it all back...