••• The International Writers Magazine - 22 Years on-line - Dogs in Summer
Things I didn’t do this Summer
People said, 'You should take some time off – you’ve been working so hard. Reward yourself, do those jobs you’ve been putting off whilst you were writing…'
First rule when you have finished a novel – don’t listen to advice. Second rule, don’t act on it.
Photo: Mr Trouble with cricket ball in early fall colours
So I finished Mission Longshot and all the edits by mid-July – seemed like a good time to step away from the computer and cut the hedge, get some walks in and lose some weight. Perhaps start thinking about what I might write next. I think it’s rained solid the whole summer here – the walks proved to be solitary soggy ones – the occasional visits to cafés a fairly miserable social distanced one and I have only seen two movies this year. Unlike many who seem oblivious to the risks I have not been back to the pub and besides the pubs around here are rubbish. And gosh darn it, the hedge needs cutting again. And then there's the bay window to waterproof ....
||Sometime ago I offered to look after a friend’s dog when they went to Spain during August but they caught Covid and the dog Mr Trouble only just arrived. He’s around 8 years old and loves chasing the ball. But I hadn’t realised how tired he gets after it. He expects to be driven to the park. It’s no use trying to walk there unless I end up carrying him back. I’m getting some good arm action throwing the cricket ball. He can outrun a greyhound.
He enjoys having holidays with me. He first came when a puppy and discovered the sea! Today we went to the beach and he excelled himself. Then we went for a falafel burger in Cafe P afterwards and he ate my burger when I went to fetch him water! There's gratitude for you. Grrrrr.
Photo: Mr Trouble posing on the stairs
Mr T is hyper critical - if I cough or sneeze he runs off and hides in total panic. I think everyone in his household getting Covid has scarred him for life. Mr T goes to bed at around 8.30 and does not appreciate being woken to have a late night pee before I go to bed. And he snores. But he is adorable.
My one pleasure in life (sad fact) is going to my favorite coffee shop to write and develop story ideas. Covid robbed us all of simple pleasures these past two years and so few coffee shops are still in business around here it hardly seems fair to spend a few hours in one. I haven’t been working on developing story ideas at all. My one attempt hit a brick wall pretty quick. I was really enthusiastic about it at first but can’t see an ending and experience tells me that it’s best not to start until you can see where it’s going. I really need a sunbeam, some stimulating conversation. *Cafe P says I can come back with or without a sunbeam and write, so here's hoping. Of course I really want to be in France with the sound of crashing waves but PCR tests, crammed aircraft filled with maskless anti-vaxers is a thrill too far.
||I can’t let the hedge grow much higher as already it’s a struggle to trim it. I find myself dreaming of sunny secret gardens and high walls covered in vines. Autumn is already here and it’s only September 1st. It's no good, I’m going to have to face facts, I will have to start thinking again, force myself to write till I have a complete idea. Winter flu is coming and a new mutant strain of Covid from South Africa. So at some point we're all going to be hiding indoors again. Our local hospital is full to overflowing with Covid unvaccinated right now.
Maybe it’s time to take a look at my stockpile and start eating all that stuff that expired a year ago. Bet your cupboard is full of stuff you’re never going to eat too. Better check before the cans explode.
Pray an Indian Summer arrives to rescue the year. *My sister just called from Canada. No rain at all this summer and the fires are still burning. I guess I should learn to enjoy the rain more.
Meanwhile take a look at Mission Longshot - climate change, deep space - ask yourself how far would you go to save just one life?
© Sam Hawksmoor Sept 1st 2021
author of Mission Longshot & and other stories
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