When summer reaches its long hot end and fall is peeking around the corner, I always get a blast of fresh air: as if someone had opened a door to let in a cool breeze. I used to be able to pinpoint that feeling: I’d spent the summer trying to keep my child entertained through camps and activities that took her away from the television screen. School was about to begin, and because I had a child who always loved teachers and classrooms (i.e., return to friends), buying sneakers and stuffing a backpack with supplies felt new and invigorating. It reminded me how excited I was growing up when school was about to start.
My child is college age and stuffs her own school bag these days, and I left school in the dust 40 years ago. But I still get the feeling; and I cherish it enough to call fall my favorite season.
I usually get to autumn and realize I’m not facing a wall of appointments and scheduled events. Summer’s stretch of fitting in visits around family events and vacations is over. And whatever freelance extra assignment I took on over the summer always seems to have a deadline of just after Labor Day. At the beginning of fall, it’s pre-holiday-rush with only the barely celebrated holidays of Columbus and Veteran’s Days to screw up the schedule. And I don’t feel that sudden urge that spring brings to hurry-up-and-plan while the weather holds.
Fall’s freshness also has to do with the end of summer’s dying season. Brown and yellow, sand and dust, bugs and humidity fade into the background while rust, gold and orange emerge, drawing our eyes upward to the crisp blue of autumn skies and the stark white clouds that accent the tree tops. If I was a painter, fall would be my subject.
Fall also brings back the desire to move: longer walks in the woods with the dog, a new exercise program, the time to think about new directions.
So I’m making a promise to myself. I’m throwing off the sluggishness of summer and along with it, the feeling mom and I have had with recent book promotions and writing that we are moving in molasses. We’re waiting on progress on book three; we’re experiencing the harsh reality that a second book is harder to market than a first; we’re trying to find a publisher for our short story collection; we’re finding it hard to move forward with new writing when we need to spend so much time trying to promote.
It’s time to feel the new possibilities that fall always brings. I’m going to stuff my backpack with new places to contact for book events. I’m going to sharpen some new pencils (boot up the computer) and sit down each morning to write something new. And I’m going to head off to “school” by looking for new ways to learn how to be successful as an author.
Genilee Swope Parente