“Today is another unseasonably hot and humid day. I am sitting on our front porch, watching my peony bush and long-stemmed daisies wilt in the glare of the midday sun. My dog lies on his side, motionless, as he dozes in the heat. The ice in my glass has long since melted, and the water inside is lukewarm. The keyboard of my laptop is sticking to my bare legs, and I can feel a line of sweat run down my neck and back. My husband walked out the front door a few moments ago, looked at me with raised eyebrows, and muttered, “Hot.” Then he turned and went back inside the cool, air-conditioned house.
“He’s right: it is hot. But I refuse to go inside, even as the temperature tops 90 degrees in the shade. I have waited so long for summer to arrive, to not be outside, even if it is uncomfortable, seems wrong. It was a long and hard winter, so I take some pleasure in feeling the heat on my skin again. It makes me feel alive.
"When asked what writing has to teach us, Ray Bradbury responded, ‘First and foremost, it reminds us that we are alive, and that is a gift and a privilege, not a right.’ I think he’s correct. To be able to write, to capture moments (real or imagined) on the page reminds us of the gift of being alive in the world, which is a precious gift indeed. As the summer begins to unwind itself around you, I hope that each of you take the time to write, to relax, and to live in this magical season of sunshine and warmth. And much like the wine that Bradbury describes in his ‘Dandelion Wine,’ I hope that the writing you produce in these summer months yields good memories to be savored in the future.”
Chris and Helen write:
“Thanks to all of you who participated in our Justice Reads on ‘All American Boys’ and came out for the Poetry in the Garden event at the Saginaw Art Museum. It’s always a privilege to hear your ideas and words.
“With that in mind, we hope you’ll continue to share those words and ideas with us at our upcoming workshops on poetry, memoir, and mindfulness. There’s still time to sign up for Donny Winter’s poetry workshop that will occur on June 15, and don’t forget that through July 15, we are accepting poems for consideration in Still Life 2021.
“And, as always, our staff is happy to give feedback on any type of writing you’re doing through our online consultations. For more information about all these events and offerings, visit our website, www.communitywritingcenter.com.
“This month, as always, we’d like to recommend a few books for your reading pleasure. First, consider Michigan writer Adam Schuitema’s ‘Freshwater Boys,’ a collection of short stories that are all set in communities on the west side of the state. In terms of poetry, we’d also recommend Victoria Chang (another Michigan native); Chang is a master of poetic innovativeness and her observations on grief in her recent “Obits” are a wonder. As for drama, consider the very short “The Guys” by Anne Nelson, a meditation on 9/11 that features a writer in the lead role. Finally, for our book on writing, we recommend you take another look at Annie Dillard’s classic, “The Writing Life”; it’s an older work but offers much reassurance (and humor) about the writing process.
That’s all for now. Enjoy summer now that it is here, stay safe, and keep writing!
Helen and Chris