It’s been quite a summer. I haven’t been blogging much because, you know, summer. Alaska. Long daylight. Too many hours to play,
But I have been writing. Not as much as I could or should have been, but I did manage to write something almost every day, even if it was only a few scribbles here, a few notes there.
First, though, the good news: Gyroscope Review is publishing my prose poem Running Mountains at Fifty in an upcoming issue.
And, a few weeks later, Bosque Journal accepted my essay, Leaving Seward. I’m in the process of going through the edits right now.
This was a difficult essay to write. In fact, it took me over three years. I worked on it, put it away, took it back out, changed this, added that, became frustrated and put it away again. The writing forced me to examine conflicting feelings from a time in my life when I alternated wildly from total and complete happiness to horrible and depressing misery.
I tweaked the piece earlier this summer and sent it out to ten markets. Then I doubted myself, horribly and terribly. I wanted to call up each magazine and say, “Don’t read it! It’s not ready for anyone else’s eyes!”
It’s funny about writing, isn’t it? You think that something is finished, that it’s polished and ready. But the closer a piece is to your emotional truths, the harder it is to let go. And this was extremely close. I’m still not sure if I got it exactly right. Maybe I’ll never completely be able to let go of parts of my writing, and my life.
But it was a pretty emotional summer. In July I flew back to PA, met my younger sister and we drove up to my mother’s place, tucked into farmland in northwestern Pennsylvania. My mother sold the house where I grew up, and where she had lived for over 50 years, and moved to Tucson to live with my older sister, and my younger sister and I helped her clean it out. It was tough, going through things and throwing out things and knowing that, even though I never liked it there, even though I never fit in, even though I dreamed, from a very young age, of moving West and getting away, and even though I did get away and am living out West and have never wanted to return, it was still hard. It was emotionally draining, and thank god my sister was there with me.
After we got the house packed up, my sister flew out to Tucson with my mother and I drove across the country with my mother’s chubby cat. This part of the journey I loved. We don’t really have interstates in Alaska, and watching the landscape change from thick trees the flatter plateaus and ridges of Oklahoma and New Mexico felt mysterious and thrilling.
I spent a few weeks in Tucson enjoying the monsoons (we rarely have thunder and lightning up here, and the storms were wild, fierce and amazing) and then flew back to Alaska, where I ran a hilly marathon, raced an insanely hilly 12-hour race a few weeks later, walked the beach, ran trails, flew in a float plane with my sister and partner and enjoyed the summer.
Now it’s autumn in Alaska, the leaves are turning and we’re rapidly losing light. Already it’s dark by 9 p.m., and even though I love this time of year, the leaves smelling so fragrant and good, I still feel a hint of melancholy, that tug of sorrow and regret that signifies endings, that whispers that yes, yes, summer is once again over.