With a chill in the air conditioned house and a decorating song in her heart, an old friend would climb through the toys and old furniture in her unfinished basement and pull out a big box.
“It’s time for the summer curtains,” she said.
Frankly, I’d never heard of such a thing. She wasn’t wealthy, they weren’t designer curtains. Chances are she’d made them herself. But she removed what I assumed were the winter curtains, rods and all, arranged them in the box and replaced them with summer curtains all over the house.
She did it every year when I knew her. I suspect she is doing it still.
In cold weather I adore flannel sheets and a heavy blanket under which I can barely move my arms. I have wooden plaques that hang on my front door welcoming Spring or Summer or Hanukkah or the harvest. I cook hearty food in the winter and eat more salads in the summer. In the summer I meagerly pull weeds, plant a few pots of herbs, play outside more with the dogs.
As a writer, summer has always been a rough road for me. No school schedule. Sunny skies (supposedly) that lure me to coffee on the patio, outdoor lunches, and days in Chicago staring at the lake. But this summer I have a motivation stronger than home decor or hanging out. In about a week and a half I’ll be cleaning up the office after my son heads to a summer internship abroad (abroad being NYC). It means positioning hanging baskets of flowers were I can see them when I’m writing, whether I’m at the desk in the office, sitting on the bed, or on the sofa in the living room. I have a new deadline for a new book. The book that’s been simmering for a few years now, one I can’t wait to get back to writing, whose characters are annoyed I set them aside to launch my first book, and tend to the end of my daughter’s senior year of high school, to get my son ready for a summer in the Big Apple.
So yes, this is bigger than summer curtains (perhaps my old friend is twitching somewhere in New Jersey right now). When things settle down, this book will motivate me to counterintuitive behaviors where I say inside and ignore the lure of the patio. Where I raise the blinds all the way to let the outside in. Because that’s where I’ll be. My new book, FALLING INTO PLACE, is due to my editor on January 10th, 2014.
Just about when, I suspect, my old friend will be staring at her winter curtains and dreaming of summer.
As a writer, what changes for you with the change of seasons? What are your “summer curtains” this year?