Tuesday, September 02, 2008

what I did this summer

Just like that. The classic "What I Did During Summer Vacation." That essay was a staple when I was in grade school, a ritual exercised by nearly every teacher after every single summer to serve as transition into the school year.

What I did this summer is a very long and oddly disjointed list that includes:
learned to make good iced coffee
hosted several birthday parties
questioned my core beliefs
took about 1000 photos
lost 20 pounds
read a dozen books

...and so on.

Ok. possibly only sublime to myself, because of what my mind attaches to each.

It's way too long a list for any given summer, but I know there could be worse things on it.

I'm not the same person I was in March. Then, who is?

I think it's time for me to start watching the news again. To care whether my shirt is inside out.

What I'd like now is some perspective. I'd like to know what you did this summer. Are you more like you are now than you were in March? What do you know now that you didn't know then? Imagine traveling directly from, say, March 10 to today, with no memory of the time between.
yes. let's not do that again.

Time for sleep. Never a straight line, stumbling towards the light, knees bloody, hair on fire. It's coming out in the work. It might be coming out in the work for a long time. But first. Sleep and healing. And more sleep. Because tomorrow is another early morning. School is in session. Summer is over.


mordicai said...

I'm the same! But then, I'm not a person.

Benton Warren said...

What I did this summer.
By Benton Warren.
This summer I had my expectations unreasonably raised. I had my hopes unreasonably dashed. I saw very very to far and to deeply into my own bucket of truth. I had my strenth of character and sprit tested as much as they have ever been tested before in my whole life.
And you know what? I FRIGG'IN ROCK! And my heart is still full of love! And strenth. Love and strenth both. All mixed up together. Like honey butter. Or like when you get the peanut butter and jelly that comes in the same jar... Mmm... Yeah, just like that.

Neon said...

New flat
New Job
Moved across the country
Found out that no matter what you change and where you go you are the same person at 'B' as you were when you were at 'A'.
Changes to outlook happen inside your brain and your heart and your soul not in your bank account, or home or personal life.

Life has been changeable for me over the past year and very difficult- but due to changes I made inside myself these past few months things are looking brighter on the horizon.

Jess x

Benton Warren said...

Right on Sister Scorpio!

Anonymous said...

I went on a fantastic family vacation at the beginning of the summer.

Then I came back to England and waited for summer to happen. Still waiting. It feels like nothing at all has happened for the past three months - not really true, but my brain is stuck in waiting mode. Maybe it's because where I grew up there are very definite seasons, so not having that throws me.

Carl V. Anderson said...

I've done that before during the summer...that traveling between one date and the next with little or no memory of what I did with the time. For some reason my adult life has been a time of despising the summer months, with their heat and humidity. About 3 years ago I decided, "no more!". I used to watch my reading dry up to almost zero during the summer and I literally had no idea what I did at all with the time other than wish it away. This summer I managed to challenge my self by reading Haruki Murakami for the first time...something I was quite intimidated thinking about. I wrapped up a fairy tale/fantasy reading challenge that had nearly 100 participants. I got to meet my online author friend, Colleen Gleason, for the first time in person. I raised a little over $200 for the art scholarship fund of my friend Jennifer who passed away suddenly a couple of years ago. I maintained dear friendships both here in my tangible world and in the world online. I started what I hope will turn out to be a couple of really cool art projects. I finally put a basement library and work space together. I watched my only child turn 16 and learn how to drive...and have since sent her off to take dual credit courses at a local community college and have seen her start her first real job. I battled with feelings of fear and inadequacy in my career and have declared myself the winner in this battle. I lived...

It has actually been a pretty glorious summer. I am certainly not the same person I was in March. While some of the 'me' that I want to change remains, I have grown this summer, in ways both desired and unexpected. I go into the fall very contented with the results of this past summer.

Thank you so much for the opportunity to do a 'What I did the summer' report, it has been a long time and it was quite fun to look back.

ravyn said...

Started living on my own.

lisa said...

mordicai: Then, what?

bent: oh. so we're telling trig. yikes. And yes, I agree. You're just like peanut butter and jelly.

lisa said...

neon: you're right about that. Big changes often happen inside people, in the midst of seemingly infinite sameness.
We're bigger inside than out.

alys: got that. The desert's seasons can be very subtle. I find that, as an artist (and as a human) I need seasonal changes for refreshment and reset. Sometimes I have to create my own change. Taking a short trip or even rearranging a room can help.

lisa said...

bent: trig was supposed to be "truth". dunno. I have no excuse---pre coffee?

carl: Thank you! very inspiring.

ravyn: few words, big change

I have the urge to write all your comments down and put them into a paper mache piece. Poppets watch us. No wonder.

jordan's mom said...

I spent my summer sitting in my chair in the living room. I watched my two children explode into extraordinary young adulthood in a matter of months. I watched my partner of 20+ years demonstrate on a daily basis the kind of patience, love and thoughtfulness that I remember from the very best days of our lives together, and I am more grateful than I can say. I have spent every moment in an intimate dance with pain, the 900 pound gorilla in the room. And I've struggled more than I ever thought I would with my own aging, physical deterioration and limits. I have been insulated, isolated, selfish and exhausted. I've come as close as I have since young adulthood to losing my sense of humor and my basic hopefulness. I'll be ending my summer with surgery and an autumn of rehabilitation. October is a beacon of hope shining on the horizon. I think I've been learning some very important things. I'm hopeful that the coming months will help me begin to understand what they are, and what they mean.

ivenotime said...

What I did this summer:
Committed to glass sculpture
Spent time with my daughters
biked and swam
hosted an open house, yey class of 2008
went thru a horrible family fight :(
Trained a puppy (sort of.....)
Discovered a truth which shattered my opinion of one person
began to build a studio
good and bad, highs and lows...

Holly said...

This summer I:

adopted a bunny;
traveled to two states I'd never been to before;
invited myself along to a music fest and made new friends;
went white-water rafting;
made a lot of stupid mistakes that thankfully resulted in nothing more than my feeling like an idiot for a bit;
realized I'm not the person I thought I was and that it may take awhile before I'm ok with that, but I'm getting there.

Anonymous said...

It started April 10, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. I needed to say goodbye.

So, I did.

Then I went a bunch of other places in the U.S. Mostly places I'd never been before. I needed to see myself, but through the eyes of others.

I think I did. It was a little scary.

Then I went a bunch of other places overseas. Mostly places I'd never been to before. I needed a vacation, but more, I needed to look at the world.

I saw it through the lens of my camera. I spent more time framing the world through that viewfinder than I have in a very long time.

Now I get to spend the autumn reconciling the changes wrought by 4 months and 50,000 miles. There were a lot of changes.

While I was gone, my two poppets had run of the house. Things happened.

I don't comment often, but thanks, Lisa. Your blog gives me a great deal to think about, which I appreciate.

Miss Bliss said...

This summer...
Took our usual summer trip to Oregon,
Learned to embroider (thanks to the internet...awesome),

Fell passionately in love with recorded books,

Finished my first comic book script,

Went to San Diego Comic-Con and was introduced to an editor as a writer,

Said editor read said script and liked it...which is absolutely freaking me out in a really good way,

Had to go through a bit of a health crisis with my parents...I guess my request that they live forever has been turned down...ah well,

I'm not the same person I was yesterday much less in March.

Looking forward to a fall of writing adventures and appreciating the gifts of now.

Derek Ash said...

I worked much too much overtime.
I watched my daughter get another year older, and tried to make sure we spent more time together.
I broke away from an unhealthy part of my family.
I watched waaaay too many episodes of the X-Files.
I jogged a few times and almost died from all the healthiness.
I rediscovered Nirvana (the band not the state of mind)
I finally believed that a new baby is REALLY COMING.

Carl V. Anderson said...

Jordan's mom: October is a favorite month of mine and I'll certainly be hoping, praying, and crossing all my appendages that it truly is a beacon of hope for you. Thank you so much for sharing all that, the good and the bad. I for one really appreciate it.

Ravyn: Wow, those few words pack a BIG punch!!!

BillH said...

What I learned this summer:
-That two years of slow progress out of depression's hole can be undone in a weekend. Although luckily not all progress has been lost.
-I learned to look more at the big picture, the up-ahead, while at the same time paying more attention to the now and here.
-I learned to plan a fun event even if it meant going by myself.
-I learned that if you plan a fun event, others will have fun too.

Up here in the cooling North, people complain that summer went past so quickly. I respond: there are twelve weekends of summertime. Do you know what you did for each one of them?

-I also learned that there are going to be twelve weekends of autumn, and that they will be great if I pay attention.