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Summer Vacation is Done but my Book is Not

Cartoon by Marcia Liss

Published in ChicagoNow, September 15, 2015

My writing journal (AKA Bridget Jones’s Diary for Seniors) for the last two weeks of August reflects a fried brain (mine) waiting for September to impose some order to life. Over the summer, I had discovered that writing a book is a process that ebbs and flows like the waves on the beach. Speaking of the beach, the hot summer weather had finally arrived. I felt compelled to put in some beach time before it was too late. Thus, at the end of summer vacation, I used all of my extra time to dive into my writing with a manic energy.

Week 10 – August 17-21: Writing time = 20+ hours

I did it! I actually spent over 6 hours Monday plowing through the Advocating rewrites. I also posted my weekly blog about writing this book. Not sure too many folks are reading these but it feels like an assignment I have to finish before I get into serious fall business. Kind of like, “How I spent my summer vacation.” But “That is not all,” said this Cat in the Hat. I sent a short piece to Huffington Post about the annoying scammer who called us all weekend. I also went to the beach with my daughter and grandkids where I overheard a father explaining transgender issues to his ten-year-old. It was a great conversation to hear. He asked if the child knew what the word gender meant. Yes. So, some boys feel like they were meant to be girls and visa versa. He asked if that made sense. The child said it did and ran off to splash in the lake. So simple and so accepted. Amazing.

After finishing up the edits, I finally began to work on the frosting of my book cake. The section of my random musings on life is really delicious for me. And I always save my frosting for the end. I knew some of these personal opinion pieces would not make the final cut, but for now, I was having a great time rewriting them. This is the part of my voice I enjoy. I love writing whatever I am thinking about, whenever the mood strikes me Pretty sure a lot of this won’t make the cut for the book, but who cares?

I also finished rereading Nora Ephron’s wonderful collections of essays I Feel Bad About my Neck: And Other Thoughts About Being a Woman. I have always adored her writing and her perspective on life. Perhaps I was hoping to absorb a tiny bit of her vast talent? I laughed until I cried, and then I cried. The book was published in 2006, the same year she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. On June 26, 2012 Ephron died at age 71. Knowing this as I read her last chapter about death, written when she had no idea it would come calling so soon, was difficult.

Week 11 – August 24-28: Writing time = 20+ hours

Another manic Monday. The local grandkids started school, I had made no playdates or doctor’s appointments for myself. I had a free day. So, I wrote…two blog posts. And I went through all of the email and tidied my desk. Now, I could get down to business. I was actually having fun, finally working on the still-to-be-titled section of short essays about whatever was on my mind when I wrote them. Stream of consciousness. Of course, there were still way too many of these but I loved all of them. In the end, this would be my Sophie’s Choice. Which ones would I let go?

In the midst of this burst of energy, I hit a roadblock. On Saturday night walking home in the dark, I fell and could barely get up. Tore off the skin on the tips of two toes that slid through the toeless Bernie Mev extremely comfortable shoes I was wearing, spraining both toes. I limped into the walk-in clinic and learned all about buddy-taping my toes and keeping my open wounds covered with an antibiotic. Now I was sore and limping, but I had to see a different doctor about my tennis elbow on my right arm (which turned out to be golfer’s elbow, an even bigger joke because at least I played tennis a few times back in the day). And he pronounced my sore left shoulder to be a strained rotator cuff. Feeling extremely feeble and old at that point, I didn’t bother to show him my puffy and cutup toes. He prescribed Occupational Therapy. That’s a new one for me. Have had enough Physical Therapy to know these were just new initials that meant the same thing. Lots of appointments and home exercises. The doctor did think my golfer’s elbow could have been caused by my unique two-fingered approach to keyboarding combined with trying to write a book. Want to bet the OT will want me to buy some special and costly keyboard and mouse?

Limping along, literally and physically, as the calendar flipped to September I was ready to return to some serious writing.



by Laurie Levy
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