Summer’s over?!

That was fast! I suppose my kids have been back in school for weeks now, but the weather here feels just as summery as ever (if not moreso now that the persistent rain has stopped). We’ve been lucky to have made it past August with no hurricanes (unlike last summer) and none on the immediate horizon. Knock on wood!

Poplarville, Mississippi

Keeping busy has probably made the time go faster. This June I participated in the Highlights Foundation’s Whole Novel Historical Workshop. Twelve of us were chosen to meet virtually with faculty members once a week throughout April and May, then for a weeklong intensive in June. I rented a small cabin in Mississippi so it would feel like a real retreat. I even got to pet horses!

Faculty read and gave detailed feedback on our entire novels, while other participants read a synopsis and the first chapter or so. Overall, the experience was amazing. Alisa Alering read my novel and really got what I was trying to do, to the extent that I got a little happy-teary when reading her feedback. I was excited to dig into the details with her in a couple of longer one-on-one sessions.

Then small groups of us met to discuss our feedback, our challenges, and our successes. I appreciated the “author-led” workshop model we used; the author guided the discussion with questions to the group rather than sitting in a “cone of silence” as was the norm in numerous college workshops I’ve attended. I hope to stay in touch with my fellow workshopees, as well as to do another workshop like this someday–next time in person.

Then in July, we went to DisneyWorld!

A long-awaited, pandemic-delayed vacation to the most magical place on earth. Well, one of them anyway. I was a little worried that the kids might’ve been too old to really enjoy it, but we all had a great time. Though some of the wilder rides were not for us (insert green faces here), we thoroughly enjoyed the immersive worlds of Galaxy’s Edge and Pandora, as well as my personal favorites the Animal Kingdom’s East African area and the Haunted Mansion. And I would totally stay in Fort Wilderness again; it was a nice retreat from the crowds and overwhelming input of the parks.

The only souvenir I didn’t appreciate once we got home was a breakthrough case of Covid. Ugh. Even though I’m vaxxed and boosted and we wore masks whenever we were indoors. The good news is that I felt like I had a bad cold that cleared up in about a week, and nobody else in my family tested positive. My husband and oldest son felt a little under the weather, but that’s it. Grateful for those vaccines!

Then we rolled into August, and school started and driving lessons for my teenage son and Aikido for my tween son and starting to look at colleges and orientations and volunteer opportunities/requests…and suddenly it’s September. Whew.

But it’s all right. I’ve got this. I’ve totally got this. Happy September!