Lately, I have fixated on the June sky...noticing it at odd angles, with telephone wires and barbed wire fences, with the saturated colors only summer can bring.
June means the sunlight has withered my eager clematis vine and has forced such a frequent watering routine for the strawberries as to almost be futile...I swear the water dissipates in clouds of steam before ever reaching their tender roots. The skin peels on my back from a bad burn I've already had on a day where I forgot the sunblock as I herded up the kids to get them out, out, out--running late and inadvertently baring my over-exposed spine to the sun. Clouds of clover rise up through the lawn and I find myself looking for four-leaved omens of good fortune everywhere, vowing to press them into the pages of my journal. But, as of yet, none have been found.
June means I stay awake...reading books in low-light or sitting on the deck, counting stars. Actually, I am not reading books so much as consuming them, inhaling the pages and sighing when the writer gets the image just right...when the character takes a hold of me and sings in my blood...when the plot veers off unexpectedly and I hold my breath until the words circle back around and land just as they should, so much better than I guessed. I am teaching a roomful of adult students critical reading and thinking until late-July and they resist words--"hate reading"--shocked by the idea that I read several books per week, several genres at once. "How much TV do you watch?" I ask them, and they rattle off names of their favorite shows. "That's the difference," I say, "I really don't watch TV."
June means I read...I take mental pictures, like the one of the girl today on Main--peroxide blonde and black-root hair, tattoos lacing over every exposed inch of skin, torn fishnet stockings and a red skirt giving me the softest, sweetest smile as she passed by the window...all innocence and spun-sugar. I had to smile back and name her on my pages and create her morning in full detail, a complex character walking right into my fiction-net mind.
June also means I have the reverse of writer's block, which sounds enviable right until you actually experience it. I am drowning in stories, more than I can ever get down on paper. I sketch them out in a form of shorthand on the backs of envelopes and in corners of my writing notebooks. Each new idea seems like the one I want to follow...but, it is really just a way of dodging the last of this revision work...really just a way of protecting the book I've already nearly done by holding it close to my heart instead of sending it out into the world. I am stalling...I am flirting with possibilities. Remaining incomplete has held me back but kept the writing "safe".
Lately, I have fixated on the June sky because flight is the only option for my writing life...motion...movement. That endless blue burning down, cut with wires and fractured clouds, constantly changing...this is the new guide for my creative self. I need to break from this paper nest though it keeps me from storm clouds and sudden sharp claws, safe from sleek ones stalking in high summer grass. I have to let this fascination lead me out of my comfort zone. There is no other choice now that I have two fully-feathered wings of my own and an uncharted expanse of sky...