What I DID do last summer
By Jeff Salter
This week and last week are both about summer, but while LAST week was about what I left un-done or never got around to — THIS week reveals what I DID accomplish during these summer months.
First, let me redefine “summer.” Back in the old days, summer started with Memorial Day (end of May) and ended with Labor Day (first full week in Sept.). So, growing up, I recognized summer as three solid months – nearly 14 weeks – of break from the grind of Spring’s and Autumn’s school semesters. But currently some communities tinker with summer to the point that it might start in early June and end nine weeks later in early August. [Yeah, like in Possum Trot.] For my purposes on this Hound Day blog, the summer of 2015 covered an expanse of 15 weeks between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Period.
I couldn’t mention summer activity without discussing the elaborate, expensive 8 X 12 foot chicken house my wife acquired to house her growing flock of precious hens. And after we had it delivered, she still wanted a roost bar, what she calls a poop deck, several braces (of course), and another bar to hold in the wood shavings. [Oh, and a tiny porch with a ramp for them to strut up and down.] You may not believe me when I reveal that we spent parts of eight days working on those few projects.
A goodly chunk of my time is spent on my 93-year-old mom, who lives down the hill, about 500 feet south. Daily visits to check on her, weekly runs with her to the grocery, and whatever appointments she has. This summer it was out to the heart doctor and in from nurses and physical therapists.
Our church doesn’t have the Wednesday evening classes for kids during summer, but we do have Vacation Bible School and I helped with that for the eighth season. And, of course, Sunday School and Worship Service each Sunday (except one I missed for illness).
Entertainment & Activity
I watched 13 or 14 episodes of Walking Dead and 6 or 7 episodes of “24”. Read at least 10-12 books (likely more) and dozens of magazines. With my wife, I went twice to “Market on Main” — a local collection of vendors of various foods and items.
Our son and youngest grandchild came up (from Louisiana) for a short visit.
I went to the local ‘Y’ for my regular exercise about 45 times.
Went to eye doctor and had to get new glasses. Had two teeth worked on at the dentist.
But mostly what I did on my summer vacation was WRITE.
I participated in 17 hour-long writing sprints on four different stories.
On June 29, I picked up a story (inspired by a dream) which I’d started seven months previously. During July, with the aid of six hour-long sprints, I completed that novella (NEP, about 35k words net) and had begun work on its second draft.
Worked through edits on a newly contracted novella (P2MM) which should be out later this year.
Continued work on the novella SYIMD – including four summer sprints – doubling my existing word count (from April), with new total of about 13k words.
Story ideas were coming faster than I could write them. Other starts this summer were:
HHITC – begun July 15 – generating about 500 words
HAW – begun July 15 & bolstered with five later sprints – generating about 5650 words
TWWS2L – begun Aug. 25 & bolstered with two sprints – generating about 2500 words
NLI – begun Sept. 4 – generating about 3700 words before Labor Day
Wrote one Short Story for a local anthology, but changed my mind about using it and co-wrote (with my wife) a different Short Story for that collection.
Wrote 15 Hound Day Blogs for “Four Foxes One Hound” and at least two or three for my other blog, “Write By Salter.”
Participated in two Takeovers (for book release parties by other authors) — one for 60 minutes and the other for 30.
Typed up three new story concepts during this period, as well as at least 17 others (which were handwritten from earlier months).
Partly because of all this writing, I took 105 afternoon naps this summer.
How did you occupy your summer days?
[ JLS # 244 ]