Dear Sunday Letter friends,
The way I see it, part of my responsibility is to remind you of the date. When time passes as fast as ice cream melts, it’s easy to think we’re still hanging out in April. But today is the first day of July. Hang on. As of today, we’re officially sliding down the backside of 2018. Baseball is behind us (Hogs had an amazing season!), and for the foreseeable future, there’s nothing ahead but burning pavement.
Yep. July is here in all her sunny, sticky, hot as blue blazes glory. July is the heart of the watermelon, the popsicle-flavored, fresh cut grass stuck on the bottom of wet feet time of year.
We know she’s coming when red-and-white tents pop up on every corner, in every abandoned parking lot. Those tents always make me smile, though, mainly because they remind me of old-fashioned tent revivals. Revivals always happened in the hottest part of summer, the time of year when our souls apparently needed resuscitating the most.
When we were kids, we shot bottle rockets from the dock at the lake. Sometimes, we aimed them under water and watched them glow like the tetras in our aquarium at home. We were brave/crazy/stupid then, willing to hold a Roman Candle with bare hands and aim it into the heavens. Now, I get a thrill when I see random fireworks blooming over the mountains. We get a lot of that here.
The Things I Didn’t See
All those swallowtail caterpillars that chowed down on my dill two weeks ago? With a little help from mother nature, they now flutter around in our garden, swallowtail butterflies with velvety wings, a special sort of summer magic.
I go out each morning to inspect our world. That’s when I notice first blossoms and bugs, butterflies and beetles. Yes, those pesky Japanese beetles have returned to my roses. Does anyone have a sure-fire remedy that won’t hurt said swallowtails?
For every incredible thing I notice, I imagine all the things I missed during those years of sitting behind a desk, fretting over loan deals. Adulting. Doing all those things we do, so that later we can satisfy our heart’s desire. For the very fortunate, the doing and the wanting may align throughout a lifetime, but I suspect not. And that makes every blossom and bug and butterfly that much sweeter.
Stick a Fork in It
Every day brings me closer to sending my manuscript to my editor. Every day, I find more words to edit.
I printed it. That’s big. I’m not one to waste paper, and I don’t print until I’m down to the most serious sort of editing.
The pages now fill a one-inch binder, single-spaced, front and back. A nice tight binder makes the whole thing feel that much closer to real. Someday soon, I will stick a fork in it and call this part of the process done.
The Book I Could Not Finish
One Hundred Years of Solitude is on every list of Books You Absolutely Must Read Before You Die. It’s lived on my shelf for some time, too. Occasionally I picked it up, felt its heft, put it back. Sometimes I could hear it breathing.
This year, I took it with me to the lake. I almost drowned beneath the weight of it.
At first I was intrigued. The story began with gorgeous imagery and humorous dialog. But after 112 pages, I found myself worn to a frazzle.
Maybe it simply wasn’t a good summer lake book. Maybe One Hundred Years of Solitude should be read in solitude, during winter when one can better concentrate on seven generations of people, all with some variation of the SAME NAME! Seriously, when I find myself referring to the family tree chart at the beginning of the book every few minutes (and still can’t keep everyone straight), I’m done.
You think I’m kidding?
Jose Arcadio Buendia, Colonel Aureliano Buendia, Jose Arcadio, Amaranta, Aureliano Jose, Aurelianos, Arcadio, Aureliano Segundo, Jose Arcadio Segundo, Jose Arcadio, Amaranta Ursula, Absolute Insanity, and many more.
Maybe I would have appreciated the magic surely hidden within the pages if I had read the story in Literature 201 under the guidance of a brilliant professor who spoke with a slight European accent?
It hurts my heart to give up on a book. But every book is not for every person.
School Kitchen Tip
While water cannot in the usual sense be called a food it fills one of the most important offices in the nutrition of the body, and ranks next to oxygen as a supporter of life… We are constantly losing a large quantity of water through the lungs, skin, and kidneys. This loss must be supplied, or life cannot go on. A large amount of water must be taken as a beverage, and care must be taken to have it free from any harmful substance. When there is any question about its purity, boil the water before using it. Pour it back and forth in pitchers that it may become aerated, and cool before using. Water is the cheapest of the five food stuffs.
‘Bye for now, Sunday Letter friends. Stay hydrated out there!
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.
[tweetthis]Sunday Letter time! Grab a cuppa and let’s do this July thing. [/tweetthis]
Hot Fun in the Summertime, Sly & The Family Stone
Good news on your book progress! Not so good about the beetle infestation. Love swallowtails. No shame in giving up on a book. Sometimes I wonder if something is wrong with me when I don’t care for a book that everyone raves about. We cut our walk short this morning (at 6:00 am) due to the muggy air making it miserable even at 69 degrees. This heat is oppressive. Flooding is a problem in Des Moines today after over 7 inches of rain in some areas over night. Good day to stay in air conditioning and read. Have a good week.
Cathy Lattus says
Glad to hear that someone else had a hard time with A Hundred Year’s of Solitude. I did read it ?,but I do have problems with some the100 Greatest Books. I love to read. It’s one of my greatest pleasures.
Talya Tate Boerner says
Me too, Cathy! Bravo to you for finishing it! Maybe I will try it again someday.
Trent Fleming says
Another great letter. Spent Friday and Saturday in places like Lampe, Blue Eye, Beaver, and Henderson. Caught a few trout. Books I’ve not been able to finish 1) Ulysses 2) Far Tortuga. I haven’t given up yet, but have made several runs at each.
Sharon Collins says
I always enjoy reading your Sunday letter. I especially enjoyed the part about oxygenating the water. I did not know about how stagnant water gets that way. No movement reduces the oxygen for the fish. I had always thought that the fish were sick. Now for my unfinished book. I made it a project to read a stack. I finished all but one. I have read 3/4 of Moby Dick and disliked most of that. One of my favorite customers was an English teacher at the closest high school and he said that even he had to have a little bit of bourbon to sort of lubricate his mind to finish that book. I think that it would have made a wonderful door stop.