For me, September is always the start of the year and May 31st is the end. Summer is just that dead zone in between.
On the plus side, I did get out of the house more than last summer. Probably because the temps here in the SF Bay Area were moderate to below average – yeah! And the state is not on fire as it was last year. The above shot is of the Golden Gate Bridge from the Marin County side.
This pier along the wharf in San Francisco could be a metaphor for my writing efforts this summer. Abandoned and covered with bird shit. But it is still standing.
However the summer was not a total waste. I did read a couple of books which I highly recommend although they are world’s apart in just about every way. The first, The Life of Rebecca Jones by Angharad Price, is described as a “gently reimagined family memoir” set in rural Wales during a time of cultural transformation.
Reading this book I often felt as though I was mutely walking the Welsh countryside, feeling at one with nature but completely alone. As Price writes:
“I sometimes think that the act of remembering life gives more pleasure than living itself.”
She goes on to say, that like a quilt, the swatches of memory we select are our reality. An assertion validated by a most unusual ending.
In Anna, Colm Herron (see Home from the Sea; Meet Colm Herron) illustrates the dilemma facing young men in Northern Ireland who want to get laid but don’t want Mother or the Catholic Church to know. Because the stain of semen can never be totally removed from his trousers, our hero (Robert Browning) must confess to his priest after his night of kinky sex with the wild and uninhibited Anna. He laments that, but for his BO, it could have been a sin from which there could be no forgiveness.
“… there was another reason for my particular release being fitful and that was my BO. Which might have been a blessing in disguise because otherwise she would definitely have given me the full treatment and I could have taken a fatal brain haemorrhage [sic] and that would have me damned and no mistake.”
Because the story is set in the late 1960s, when Robert and his friends aren’t “looking for tramps but scared shitless of them all at the same time,” they’re debating how to fight social injustice. Do they follow the path of Marxism or heed the caution of the Church?
[Robert’s friend] mimicking their bishop: “My dear Catholic sheep of Derry, it is not those who can inflict the most but those who can endure the most that the Lord will lead to the happy slaughterhouse in the sky.”
Although Anna is primarily a love story that doesn’t always go smoothly, the book is full of hysterical scenes, such as this bit between Robert and his devout Mammy:
“Did you not hear me? I said beauty’s only skin deep.”
“I know Mammy.”
“Aye, but do you?”
“For Christ sake Mammy, its not her intestines I’m after.”
The next book on my list will be a different ride altogether, You Beneath Your Skin by Damyanti Biswas. I’ve only begun the read but I can already tell Damyanti has taken an interesting twist in the usual murder, detective story and run with it.
First I’ve got to hitch myself up to some sort of routine. Maybe I’ll finally finish “The Demise of Dickey” – my debut romance novel! Rollover Danielle – prepare to meet your match!
I leave you with this favorite song of September from a performer I saw on stage decades ago and fell in love with. Yes, believe it or not ,Jerry Orbach had a whole other career before Law and Order
“Without a hurt, the heart is hollow.”
20 thoughts on “The end of summer means no more excuses!”
I remember this song, but I had no idea that Jerry Orbach was a singer. The things I learn here. Your summer reading list was eclectic and obviously kept your brain clicking. You wrote a romance novel? Aren’t you the clever one!
He was actually a Broadway performer. I saw him as the sleazy lawyer in Chicago – a role he premiered. He was electric on stage.
Beautiful song from The Fantasticks. It opened in 1960 in an off-Broadway theater in NYC. Jerry was an original cast member.
See you. Take care.
Interesting. I thought he might have been but I wasn’t sure. Thanks!
Thanks for the mention of my book, Jan, I look forward to your review!! The Life of Rebecca Jones by Angharad Price sounds fascinating.
It’s definitely a pastoral, meaning long descriptive passages and introspection and only brief bits of dialogue.
‘Abandoned and covered with bird shit’ – yeah, my writing too, Jan, but hanging in there the same. And I have Damyanti’s book to read, too. Hope to start it next week.
It’s hard to focus on writing when there are so many outdoor activities! Friends to catch up with, etc.
You’ve managed to make me laugh out loud more than a few times here, starting with “Abandoned and covered with bird shit. But it is still standing” 😆
I too think of the new year as starting in September. Three cheers for the new year and hope that it’s filled with things that bring us joy and make us laugh.
I’m all for the laughing too and not just at our politicians. Forward we go!
The books you share sound like a good read.
Pull up your sleeves and start scrubbing that shit. I cannot wait to read your novel 🙂
You’re so sweet! Thank you.
Enjoyed your analogies here, Jan, and like Joanne above, I had a few chuckles. I think it probably feels like your writing is lagging, but you got several of us moved by just this post. Also enjoyed the SF Bay photos and the book recommendations. Warmest wishes to you in the writing ahead.
Thanks Jet – I guess that’s one of the blessing of blogging. It does get you into a routine.
I always thought of the year as beginning in September and ending at the beginning of June too. I loved seeing your Bay area photos. My son used to live in Berkeley, so we had a good excuse to visit the SF area often. I loved it!
Our son went to school in Santa Barbara and at first I thought of all the vacations we could have there but every time we went down he found something for us to do (to help him move or whatever)
I enjoyed this post very much, from the lit blurbs to the photo with deadpan description.
Now I shall see if I can pretend to remember walking in the Welsh countryside…
Thanks Joey – there are probably only a few weeks a year when a walk in the Welsh countryside would not include rain but I imagine then, it is heavenly.
I’m so glad you liked ” The Life of Rebecca Jones” as much as I did. (Somehow I missed this post in Sept!) Will put “Anna” on my to-read list. Thanks.