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The first fireflies of summer, fluff bugs, and ceramic antelope heads
Summer is the time for floofy thoughts
If you haven’t already, check out Monday’s post—my writing manifesto. It’s in the category of posts I wrote mostly for myself and figured no one else would be much interested, but why not put it out there? Turns out, more people are interested than I thought. Thanks to everyone who’s shared it and read and subscribed. So grateful!
Read to the end for an update about my young adult novel, FAIR GAME, which now has an official release date—June 27! It’s the story of a girls’ basketball team that challenges the boys to a high-stakes game, putting their seasons, their futures, and three cherished friendships on the line and if you want to help get the word out about this story and get an early copy, read to the end.
It’s the first day of June. Not the official start of summer, but close enough in my estimation. My last grades are turned in. Graduation is over. I don’t have to step foot on campus again until at least August.
In summer, thoughts get lazier. A little less organized. We might as well lean into it.
Notes from the backyard
- One day this week as I sat in my lounger reading, I noticed little pieces of fluff floating around the yard. It’s cottonwood tree time of year, so I assumed that was what I was seeing. This year, the cottonwood has been so thick at times that it looks like snow on the ground.
Then one of the pieces of ‘cottonwood’ landed on me. I glanced at it and then did a double take. The fluff had an insect attached to it. A tiny gnat. Wings and legs and antenna sticking out of a piece of fluff. Fluff which, when airborne, surely makes getting around a lot easier. But on land, the fluff was like a heavy weight on the little bug’s back. It kept toppling over, the weight of the fluff pulling its wriggling legs up into the air. Then it would right itself. And finally take off, to join the other pieces of floating fluff.
I don’t think this is the first time I’ve seen the fluff bugs, which were probably wooly aphids. It was the first time I studied them up close. The first time I thought about the wonder of the timing—the wooly aphids appearing at around the same time as the cottonwood. The first time I contemplated how something that could work so well in one context—flying around—could also make you sort of clumsy and ungainly in another setting—negotiating on the solid ground.
- Either the magnolia on the corner or the catalpa across the street or maybe the lilac tree in front of the church are blooming and the scent wafts into our backyard, especially in the evening, and the smell is delicious.
- Last night, we saw the first fireflies in our backyard. I wonder what signal they followed to emerge. The rising temperatures? The length of the day? Everyone follows their own schedule, but do fireflies ever get impatient?
Things people brought me this week
- Basil leaves cut from a friend’s healthy plant. Our basil plants look pathetic, like they have decided this year they’d just rather not grow, thank you very much.
- Our favorite type of tonic, which is Schwepp’s in the small glass bottles because it tastes better than any other tonic and tonic in plastic bottles loses its fizz over time. My husband and I spend more time than we should probably admit in search of this specific type of tonic, so eternally grateful to the friend who bought this supply.
- A ceramic antelope head with antlers made from panty hose and foam. No, I’m serious and—look at the photo—isn’t it awesome? This antelope head is part of one of our student’s senior art project, which I was first in line to purchase. Callie Wilder is a force and a name to look out for. Now we just have to figure out where and how to hang them. And, perhaps, a name?
Things I’ve been thinking (of course)
- Some days are harder than others. For example, I spent a lot of Wednesday lying on the floor beside my cat and wishing there was a fairy I could summon to magically switch cell phone services for me (please, is there such a fairy?). On days like that, I often feel bad because I don’t “accomplish things.” I’m not “productive.” I know, this is ridiculous. I am more than my accomplishments or my productivity.
I’m trying to think instead that maybe those bad days are necessary. Maybe I should surrender to them. There are worse things to do than lie on the floor with your cat all day. Maybe I should think of the bad days as the bridge I need to cross in order to get to the next good day. You just have to wait it out and sometimes, ignore the part of your brain trying to convince you that all the days will be bad. You just have to believe that the next good day is always coming.
Things I made
- Our weekly bagels, but in a hot kitchen, as we haven’t surrendered to turning on the air conditioning yet and I couldn’t help but think of all the women across all the years, cooking and baking in the heat of endless summers.
- Kale salad with kale from our garden.
- Kohlrabi, green onion, parsley and mustard green salad, with everything from the garden or the farmer’s market or our CSA.
- Strawberry…no, I didn’t make anything with the strawberries. I ate them over the course of one evening, straight out of the quart basket they came in, just as they were. Some things cannot be improved upon by any human means.
- A book. Have I mentioned that I made a book? I mean, I’ve written books before, but this one, I actually made. With lots of help, which I’ll be talking about in the next month. I’ll be talking about my book, FAIR GAME, a lot in the next month. It’s an awesome book and I want people to read it and if you want to help make that happen, use this link to sign up to be part of the book launch team.
I’m self-publishing FAIR GAME, which means I’m going to need all hands on deck getting the word out. The link will take you to a google doc where you can fill out your name and your e-mail. By signing up, you’ll be able to get a free copy of FAIR GAME before the June 27 release date. Then as we get closer, I’ll ask you to do things like pre-order a copy or request the book from your local library. Small things, only, I promise. Nothing too taxing or embarrassing.
- This post, which is taking so much longer than I thought it would and the sun is shining and who knows what’s happening in the backyard, so have a lovely Thursday and thanks, as always, for reading.