Hello, readers; hello, friends.
I have borrowed my title today from Dar Williams, with whom I associate a lot of hazy, undefined teenage feelings, appropriate to end of summer and to transitions generally. School is back in session, although having graduated in May, this does not affect me directly. I’ll pretend it does, though, and will write up a little homework assignment for your reading pleasure: What Did I Do On My Summer Vacation?
I’ve been quiet of late, at least online publicly. In my day-to-day life, though, I was constantly busy. Having graduated, there was now ample free time to catch up with friends I’d been out of touch with: squeezing a social life in between full-time work and school is not always possible. I took care of projects and chores that had been left hanging in the scramble to wrap up my last undergraduate semester. In August, I took some savings and traveled to Edinburgh, Belfast, Dublin, and London, to travel through the UK and Ireland with friends who live there. (It was wonderful, although all too short!) I’m volunteering with the People’s Climate March taking place here in New York on September 21st. (There are events happening globally Sept. 20-21, and I definitely encourage you to check it out! There are a lot of people passionate about climate change, social justice, and their children’s futures getting involved.)
And of course – I wrote. I published a number of pieces earlier this year on the topics that mean the most to me. Climate change, of course. Some experimenting with fiction. And memoir pieces dealing with the legacy of estrangement – a topic I felt honored to be able to bring to light and dialogue with many brilliant readers.
I’ve still been writing. I’ve also, at times, given myself some space from the need to write and to publish ASAP, whether here or elsewhere. My friend and writing mentor Liza Monroy posted this article “On Not Writing” on her Facebook feed recently. It helped me understand a lot of why I needed to give myself some space after the success of my initial pieces about estrangement.
The piece compares the mental exercise of writing to that of physical exercise. When working out, overtraining can lead to chronic fatigue and even injury. The message is clear: “Don’t work through the pain; it will only hurt. Give yourself sufficient time to refresh..”
I think this summer was my opportunity to refresh myself in a lot of ways.
And now summer ends, and we wonder where we are. I’ve accomplished my defining goal of the past 4 years by completing my undergraduate degree. I’ve started to think about what comes next in my career. I’ve rested and refreshed myself as I dealt with some of the aftermath of my intense writing exercises – the guilt that writing about my past was a terrible idea; the sustained sorrow of reliving painful memories; the anxiety of figuring of where to take it from here. If I am strong enough to build on this, to continue to explore.
Whether or not I am, I plan to regardless. Look for more here in the coming weeks and months. And – thank you, for being who you are – for being strong and supportive and funny and struggling and loving and above all you. Many of you reached out to me to see how I was doing – thank you so much for that! I hope you’ve had a good summer, and I’d love to hear more from you. Now, it’s time for me to get back to work.