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Friday, July 16

All booked up

Russell and I often talk about how our Summers are not what they used to be. Before we started doing art shows, we went to the beach, we went camping. Sometimes we would take a short vacation. To the Coast of Maine, or a weekend in the Finger Lakes. I loved the laziness of Summer. There is actual Summer furniture that encourages a person to lay back, curl up, nap. Imagine that.

But now Summer is my "season". It is one of two. There is "Summer" and there is "Holiday". The Summer runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day and The Holiday runs from Columbus Day to mid-December. During these periods, we will do probably 12-15 shows that run 2 to 3 days each. And in between I have to make the stuff that we hope to sell.

Needless to say, no Coast of Maine. If we spend a weekend in the Finger Lakes it is because we are doing a show there. Beach? No. Although my reluctance to be seen in public in a bathing suit may be more of a problem than missing studio time. :)

This year, life gave me some Summer. I didn't get a couple of shows I expected to do, leaving me with more stock than usual as well as a July filled with real weekends. We had a Family Reunion over the 4th and 2 of our kids came home to visit and hang out. I was actually able to do that. Play.

I wander up to the studio every day and do prep work and stockpile components. But then the day beckons. Warm, sunny days that I had forgotten about. We have our meals on the veranda, watch the city walk by, enjoy the breeze.

And I am reading books. Lots of books. Crates of books. Beach books. Cook books. Short story collections. When I was a kid, that's what Summer meant. Long lazy days under the big willow in our back yard, a book on my lap and a few cookies in my pocket. Bliss.

Then, as a teenager and young adult, it was long, hot beach days, sand in the spine of the books I devoured while burning to a crisp.

Last month I found an old Morris chair at a yard sale and I settle into its cushions on the veranda and read.

I have read all the Nantucket novels by Elin Hildebrand. Perfect. Light but compelling. Like cotton candy. One a day. Gobble, gobble.

Revisited a couple of Richard Russo's.

Short stories by Maile Meloy.

A new Allegra Goodman.

The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters.

Almost every day there is an email from my library that a book I requested is in.

I've been scavenging for good books. While waiting in line at the grocery store I saw that the new "O" magazine had a feature of favorite Summer books, so I grabbed it and copied the titles into my iPhone while I waited. NPR was doing a similar feature one morning while I was doing dishes, so I wrote them on the kitchen chalkboard. I browse Amazon, reading reviews and summaries, requesting the ones that interest me, sending the library folks off to do my bidding via the internet. I can't wait for "The Pearticular Sadness of Lemon Cake". I heard about that one in the car, early one morning, en route to a show. I wrote it down on a scrap of paper and tucked it in my wallet.

For a long while now, I have missed reading. It's not just being busy. The laptop consumes a lot of time, time that I would have spent in pages, I spend on screens. Oh, I read, but not like this, not like this summer of pages.

I was worried about the empty July calendar. And I won't deny that the loss of income from those events stings. But it has been a few weeks of family and festivals, theater, puttering in the garden, waking up in the early dawn with nothing to do but sip coffee on the porch and read books.

I'm not wishing to lose a couple of good shows again next year, but I will plan better because I have learned that Summer is not just work and more work. I remember now. I remember the perfumed early mornings, the late sunsets, the long lazy hours in between. Tomorrow we are going to the beach.

And I will be reading books.

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