Monday, June 3, 2013

Summer's Here. Me First.



School’s out. The best part of being out for summer for me when I was a kid was the fact I had so much extra time to spin stories and dream big. And use all my mother’s clean sheets to make tent forts in the living room. The stories I spun when I was a kid were definitely of a romantic bent, but with lots of action. Meaning, Bo Duke almost always showed up in my stories in the summer, and I spent a lot of time in an old blue Impala (junked), pretending to drive it (it could fly and we went everywhere).

When I wasn’t flying cars, I played in the smokehouse and also the shed where Dad stored wood but would usually be empty by this time of year and I could use it as a playhouse. It wasn’t quite as posh as a treehouse would have been, but it was a Girls Only Club, so it worked. I’d picnic on bologna sandwiches (with mustard, never ketchup), write in my red Big Chief notebooks, and read my new and highly prized book-of-the-month club book that my mother special ordered for me. Although I imagine I spent more time drawing horses on my Big Chief paper rather than writing stories—that was just how I rolled then.

Anyway, that was summer. When you are the only kid in the middle of nowhere, there’s a lot of time for fantasy and world-building. I never worried about research, if it was remotely possible to fly from Missouri to California in about two minutes, or despaired that the only item I had to pose as a sword was a knobby stick. It was never a problem.

While writing definitely takes discipline, showing up every day, willing to believe that the blank page will transform into words if you put your fingers on the keyboard long enough, there is something to be said that a day in which nothing more is required of you than to lay in the grass, eat sandwiches, and make sense of the clouds above. When the only person you needed to impress with your entertainment is yourself. You first.

It’s so easy to get wrapped into the traps of trends, popularity, selling lists, and whathaveyou, that you’re so worried about impressing everyone else that your opinion doesn’t matter. Trusting yourself is just one of those big life challenges we keep relearning, but didn’t seem to be as big a challenge when we were 10 and on summer vacation.  

We’re all writing something—and summer is here. Let’s write like we know we need to impress ourselves first. July and the conference will soon be here, and I know many of us like to have things ready before we go mingle with our tribe. (Or as I call it: working.) June is your month that’s your summer vacation and to create. Or JuJuSuCh as I completely made up, just now, because I can do that.

Jump in June Summer Challenge. Write as much as you can, as fast as you can, while in sheet forts and eating sandwiches (of your choice) as you figure out how to make an impossible plot point work. After all, it’s summer. Nothing is impossible.

What are your summer goals for reading/writing? Anyone want to be a part of JuJuSuCh and crank out 100 pages? Summer memories are also welcome.

40 comments:

Maureen said...

Hmmm...my summers were about early evening games of hide and seek with everyone on the street. Which easily numbered 3-4 dozen kids. Just past dark. When it was getting a little chilly and the sidewalk finally felt good on bare feet instead of burning... Riding bikes, marbles, jacks... total Norman Rockwell. Little town neighborhood stuff. A creek at the top of the street, with willows and trees, rocks...playing Robin Hood...

Good times!

Now, this summer. Wow. Write again. I want to write again. Been editing and publishing and cover planning and... Writing. I'm starting a three month online class on organizing my writing time to take full advantage. So yeah, I'll shoot for a new story...

I have the one with aliens introducing themselves and wanting to trade. For cats. (They've been watching cat videos and domesticated animals are rare in the universe...) We just have to figure out what we want that they are allowed to use for trade and figure out how to keep our monopoly on cats...

Cat smugglers...space pirates... I need to do some plotting!

Marnee Bailey said...

Oh, I'm in. I want to finish this first draft by end of June. I'm at 33K. I could probably write 20K and get a first draft done. But we'll see. That's the goal for the month. 20K. Or more. As much as I can.

:)

I don't have much else going on this month either. Chasing a couple of boys around. Trying to beat back the complaints of "I'm bored" (the 6.5 year old).

MsHellion said...

Mo, they don't want to eat cats, do they? They just want them as pets...I mean if they've seen Facebook, they probably think cats are gods.

Didn't have the burning feet problem--lots of grass where I was. *LOL* And I could run on gravel when I was a kid. Not anymore. *LOL*

MsHellion said...

When Marn is in, she's ALL in! You go!

I said that a lot as a kid in the middle of nowhere. That prompted both parents to have me wash dishes. Evil. *LOL*

Haleigh said...

I love this. I'm totally in. I'm trying to re-write the end of this and finish up revisions, and this is exactly the kick in the pants I need.

I was a kid in the middle of nowhere too, though if I snuck through the woods and waded through the creek, I'd pop out in the back of another small street with a couple houses, where my best friend lived. We spent all summer at that creek, climbing trees, trying to catch tadpoles. I distinctly remember decorating my first living room (made out of a huge cardboard box high up in a tree). I made furniture out of milk crates and even sewed curtains for the "windows." This was long before I discovered the joy of putting stories down on paper, but they were there in my head. Long, involved stories with adventure and romance. And almost always a bad guy trying to control things who had to be thwarted (and was often thrown in the creek as he met his miserly end :)

MsHellion said...

I almost mentioned my creek adventures. *LOL* I've caught a lot of tadpoles (and fireflies) in my day. But was never close enough to be near a friend. *LOL*

I love the treehouse with the living room and the curtains!! I remember when we got a stove or refrigerator box--BLISS! A box of markers and cardboard? Heaven.

My stories always had my heroine marrying the man of her dreams at the end and having about ten kids. So little change.

Terri Osburn said...

We had a creek too! When I was really little, there was our house, then a sharp drop on the other side of the gravel road. That led to the creek and up a hill on the other side was the railroad tracks. Very active railroad tracks.

I learned to sleep through noise at an early age. But I did love playing down at the creek.

Count me in! Though I have to write about 300 pages. Thankfully, the flood gates opened last night around 11:30. By 12:30 I'd turned on the bedside lamp 4 times (maybe 5) to jot down notes. I can feel it now. The chemistry between the characters. The road bumps. Bringing in more secondary characters and rounding out their stories.

Sigh. Thank the writing gods and my ever-patient muse. We're all on the same page again. (Sorry, couldn't resist.)

JuJuSuCh will be awesome!

MsHellion said...

I was about to send out a search committee, but figured you had good reason to have disappeared.

Our place was QUIET. You heard frogs and that was about the extent of it. *LOL* Not even road traffic because we were basically the only ones who lived on our road...and everybody who did live on that road was home by 6 pm.

Just saying, learning to sleep in town was an EXPERIENCE. "My God, there's a siren!"

I'm glad you and your characters and the Muse are all on the same page now. I know how coordinating parties can be a pain in the ass.

I just like trying to say JuJuSuCh...

Terri Osburn said...

I'm pronouncing it as joo joo such. :)

MsHellion said...

My version is "Joo Joo Sue Choo"--but I do know you're busier than a one legged man trying to start a motorcycle (I don't know where that came from; Missouri has horrible homilies)--so you might want to shorten corners wherever you can. You save a syllable and write an extra ten pages. Win win.

Janga said...

Summer for me meant the summer reading club at the local library and afternoons at the community swimming pool and backyard dodge ball and softball games that ended when we could no longer see the ball. My BFF and I were talking not long ago about how idyllic those times were and how different from our grands' super organized summers. About the only thing that is the same is the library's summer reading club. It's still going strong.

I had already planned a writing-rich June. Please count me in for JuJuSuCh. My goal is 50K.

MsHellion said...

Janga, I do not get the super organized structure of current childhood. There's little time for unsupervised play or creativity. Or living with boredom because someone has always arranged something for you to do.

I prefer my childhood--and I assure you, I never thought I'd say that. I would have LOVED a summer camp with kids when I was younger. Then again, maybe that's why they're all organized now. All these parents who wish they'd had a camp to go to now make it happen--and maybe the kids dig it. Wears me out thinking about it. I need the summer vacations I took for granted when I was 10. *LOL*

50K! You go!

Which reminds me...totally didn't announce a goal. Finish the book--so 10-20K tops, I'm sure.

Terri Osburn said...

The only thing structured about our summers was that we knew we'd be playing softball for the first month or so. After that, we were on our own. And there were not video games, 1000 channels, cell phones, iPods. We had to use our imaginations. And our legs. (LOTS of kick the can games.)

Remember Freeze Tag? Do kids even play those kinds of games anymore? And a swing set like they have today? Dude, ours wasn't even stuck in the ground. We'd swing really high and the entire frame would lean forward and back with us. LOL! It's a wonder any of us kids of the 80s survived.

For the record, Kiddo's summer has no structure. She's looking forward to sleeping in then I'm sure sitting on Twitter and Tumblr all day. Now that I think about it, I should find something for her to do.

Maureen said...

We had so much to do! We had to map the neighborhood, and corral those wild horses and...and...and... I mean, I do remember claiming I was bored, but really...so much to do!

Finally did do a stint at summer camp. Not the best experience for me. Managed to piss off the natural born leader of my cabin and find myself ostracized most of the week...

Glad to be home!

Janga said...

We went to camp, but it was two weeks every summer. The grands have baseball camp, football camp, soccer camp, golf camp, art camp, math camp, Scout camp, church camp. That's just the ones I can remember. Some of these are day camps, but still... How much time can they have to read and dream amid all that structured activity?

Terri Osburn said...

That's a lot of camping! I only ever did band camp. :)

MsHellion said...

Terri, did love freeze tag...and hide & seek...and group games, which admittedly are tougher to do when you're the only one in your group. But I played in a particular tree and pretended it was my horse. Pretending was probably my favorite game.

MsHellion said...

Mo, you alienated yourself from the Sheeple right off the bat? Gee, I can't imagine it. :) Probably the best thing you could have ever done for yourself, if you think about it.

MsHellion said...

I'm with Terri, J,--that's way too much camp. Don't get me wrong, as a parent, I see the value of making sure the little heathens are as much away from the house as possible. Why should they get all the benefits of summer vacation and the adults get none? Still, as much as I don't care for kid noise, I'm a bigger patriot of unstructured time to read and dream and create.

Though I might have enjoyed an art camp. I know I would have enjoyed one with horses--since that's all I dreamed about as a kid. *LOL*

MsHellion said...

Oh, and yes, agree, probably should work something out for the kiddo to have a wee bit more structure (i.e. FUN) available to her.

Maureen said...

Yup, I was awkward. Hard to believe, right?

Terri Osburn said...

I'm sure kiddo will spend plenty of time at her friend's house. She's within walking distance and just got 2 kittens. You can see the draw.

Haleigh said...

(in response to a comment several hours ago) - Hellie, my father lives in Missouri, has one leg, and rides a Harley. He has a handicap tag on his bike that says "old Geezer", and a little cane that folds up that he straps to the back. The whole thing is really quite hilarious, in a only-in-Missouri-can-this-happen sort of way

Haleigh said...

I went to church camps a few times, but like Mo, was ostracized fairly early on :)

I have a couple family members who are on the rich side, and they send their kids to an 8-week camp every summer. It blows my mind.

I've been reading a bit lately about how letting kids be bored is the best thing you can do for their imagination. Though I'm not sure I'm going to need to put in any effort on the imagination front with my kid. He's two, and refused to take a nap the other day, because there were four pirate ships and a space ship on the ceiling that were in an epic battle :)

quantum said...

Fascinated to read about frolics up the creek!

When I was very young I fished for tadpoles in a delkin (small valley with a stream), when not building dens amongst bracken on the hills rising from the back garden.

Later I discovered girls ... when not playing cricket! LOL
Oh and scout camps of course.

Marnee Bailey said...

It sounds like everyone's in for a busy June! I like Joo Joo Sue Choo. I'm going to be saying that now. It's a tongue twister.

Maureen said...

Oh, no. The aliens don't want to eat the cats. They want to make videos and have pets.

MsHellion said...

Hal, and your father is ONE BUSY MAN, am I right? *LOL*

Weirdly I was able to do well in church camp, because I was so great at pretending...and any heretical thoughts I had, I didn't usually offer and want to debate. I just nodded and went on. Well, except I wasn't very good at church camp as a teen, I don't think...by then, my personality had definitely stuck and I was slightly less concerned with being liked by EVERYONE.

LOVE the epic battle on the ceiling...best story ever!

MsHellion said...

Q, I think discovering the opposite sex--or at least the desire for kissing--ruined a lot of backyard innocent frolicking. *LOL* I love the thought of building dens from bracken--sounds like something we would have done, making a "club house" out what was available.

MsHellion said...

Marn, I like the tongue twister quality of it as well...though everyone is welcome to say it however they wish to say it in their own favorite fantasy novel name way...

I never would have been able to have pronounced Hermione if I hadn't watched the movie of Harry Potter.

MsHellion said...

Mo, I do have to say: I am relieved. And so are the cats. Though I'm sure they're glad that people are back to worshiping and giving them their due again.

Maureen said...

;-)

Di R said...

Count me in! I have been trying to get back into my writing. I was doing well, then I got bronchitis that I'm still trying to shake. I had planned to have one of them finished before nationals, but not sure I'll make it now.

Summers is when all the other kids returned to the babysitter's. We spent most of it in the pool.

Di

Terri Osburn said...

Di, does this mean I'll get to see you in Atlanta?? Take it easy and get well soon!

Ashli said...

Good evening, everyone! Maureen has encouraged me to participate in the page challenge. How is this going to work, exactly?

I remember having amazing summers as a kid. They didn't seem amazing then, except for not having to go to school. I grew up in FL so a lot of time was spent at the beach. When my parents were busy with work we would get shipped off to a set of grandparents, one of whom had a small farm in Virginia. I'd have to feed the mean red chickens that attacked with no provocation, herd the goats and make sure the coon hounds got exercised. I much preferred the beach. We used to throw a sack lunch with ONE can of coke into our backpacks and take off until dark. the rest of the day we'd use that can and drink water from the creek. We even had matches and a first aid kit, just in case. I was a Girl Scout. We knew how to make a fire to roast marshmallows and hot dogs and we put the fire out so it wouldn't spread. This has just made me realize how NOT responsible my own kids are....

Maureen said...

Good question...how we gonna work this? Check in, nag each other...

Terri Osburn said...

I love the idea that we'd run this in any sort of organized fashion. LOL! Have we ever done that? Maybe that time Scape took charge.

We could declare Thursdays JuJuSuCh day and all check in then, but it's really up to Hellie. It's her brain child.

MsHellion said...

Sorry I disappeared guys!

Di--I would love to count you in!! Hope you get to feeling better soon. :) And I hope you make it to Nationals to keep Bosun company. And Mo...and the rest of the pirates who are going.

MsHellion said...

Hi Ashli! I'm so thrilled Mo was able to convince you to join us! And like the others, bemused by the thought anyone would think the pirates are in any way organized; however, Terri's offer of Thursday is probably the best, since we don't blog that day OR if I could make myself, we could put up a Saturday blog for this purpose of writing results--give us more of the week to press on.

Ashli said...

Sounds good to me! Now I just need to get started.....See you Saturday!