A new season.  The longest day of the year.

Solstice songs

Julia and I ate breakfast on our back porch—something she loves to do that I usually drag my feet about.  Too cold, too hot, too buggy and it is morning and we need to get on with our day.  But today, we woke up on time—Julia responding to the google wake up on the small speaker, something we have been working on this entire school year, something she sabotaged last week, something we had a talk about at Community Connections (a serious conversation at her program can make more of an impression than a similar talk at home), her program, and something that she encouraged me to reset (although I’ve only reset one of the three speakers she disabled—damn  my holding on by my fingertips device knowledge.) lat night.

So, she woke up, did what she needed to do (although she still needs some kind of list to make sure she remembers everything.  And any kind of reminder is anathema to her) and there was time to eat on the back porch.  

Julia seems to be 14 these days—in full rebellion about every suggestion/decision I make, completely unwilling to make her own suggestions/decisions, and then rather, no, somewhat meekly willing to take another look at my suggestions.  OR willing to acknowledge an area that needs to be worked on but completely unwilling to take on any responsibility for the change.

She wants to be independent.  I want her to be independent.  And we do the dance, the push—pull of this time.  It takes so much patience and sometimes, I want to move much faster than she is willing and/or able to.  And she wants more than she has the skills for, and those skills are so hard won.

Yes, this is the beginning of our summer.

My passionate desires to travel far have been reduced to 5 days away from home in Newport, RI.  No Japan, no Italy, no UK. No absenting ourselves from home for weeks or a month or more.  I was in very bad moods about this decision, but I had to recognize that this is Julia’s last summer of supported programming—last chance at Extended School Year, and probably last possibility of participating at Camp Echo Bridge which is going to have an end of the summer sleep away camp.  I had to remind myself that these were two of the programs that I moved to Newton for, and the fact that we have been no where other than some version of home since 2018 is no excuse to not take full advantage of the programming now. Added to that, Julia has been making some progress, when she is not stepping back from progress, at her program which can continue at Extended School Year.  

A few weeks past my have a serious sit-down conversation with myself, I’m no longer mourning my at-home summer.  Julia’s camp registration came with pool/lake access this summer.  I bought my own access and now we can go to those city treats any hot day. 

Other than whining, only to myself, about the lack of travel this summer, I’ve been working on, hitting the wall about, scared to death to move, taking a few steps in my memoir writing.  After three semester with the HILR memoir class with Judy Forman, author and journalist (plug for Judy and her new novel here), I have a great many words to shape.  I dithered and told myself that they were not at all related and I should abandon any idea of a long work that could in some world be called a manuscript to submit to some publisher.  And then I got down to work, and as always happens with me, some of the pieces do indeed fit together, and a few friends are willing to be readers.  

I need a writers’ group.  At least, I would like to have a writers’ group—a place and a circle of people to expose what I’ve worked on to critical eyes.  

I auditioned/visited an established group at my church.  The leader thought I might melt into the group; however, the writers were not of the same opinion.  It was not personal—at least that is what I’ve been told and I do believe it. It was a bonded group thing.  They are moving into something new and have established a supportive, trusting pod.  A new person could destroy that.  

For my visit, I gave them the first half of the piece I wrote about Cheshire last semester for the HILR class.  Apart from the critiques that I received about the piece needing more background—something that is difficult when reading a piece taken from the middle of something longer—the most interesting comment was that the reader took away a good idea of the relationship that I described Cheshire and I to have, and a good idea of what I thought/felt about her life, but not necessarily a true picture of Cheshire.  That reader suggested that I might want to interview Cheshire to get her take on what I wrote.  I wondered about that, eventually deciding that Cheshire’s version of what I was writing about had no place in my memoir.  That doesn’t mean I don’t ask her some questions or try to get some facts from her, but that whatever I write needs to be filtered through my perceptions and observations.  There is, of course, another side to any story/memory I tell.  There are, in fact, many other sides, and to some extent, those tellers of other sides can report for themselves. Perhaps if I get enough of their stories wrong—wrong in their minds—they will step up and start writing. Then again, I am sure I’ve gotten many things wrong in post no this blog and yet, no one has offered rebuttal.

I stumbled shortly after I talked to the leader of the writers’ group.  She had suggested that I look at a creative writing center called Grub Street that seems to have a full array of classes, workshops and groups.  Just looking at the website was overstimulating, moved me into Julia’s frame of mind when she confronts something new that she just “knows” she cannot do.  I was almost surprised at the amount of anxiety that looking at possibilities caused.  I felt like I was standing on a  thin ledge at the edge of a canyon. I know I need to up my game, to put myself just a bit further out there, to do something to make what I do better and to make myself more visible.  

The pushback from deep inside could move a mountain.

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