summer in the city

So far this has been a summer of reading, writing, and 10 days of travel (which is a lot for me). I managed to avoid the European heat wave in June & but got back to NYC just in time for our very own HEAT WAVE & a brutal reminder of how much I loathe summer in the city. While I do like how relatively empty things are: my gym, my day job, my apt building; I’m not a big fan of the herds of wandering, confused tourists or the STENCH: all that trash and effluvia baking away in the hot, hot sun. It makes it hard to go on long walks (other than my daily commuting) which breaks into my “thinking about writing” time. For me (as I’m sure for others) I do a lot of writing while I’m walking around – thinking about a book review I’m writing or the structure of a particular piece or line or maybe even listening to one of those characters jabbering away in my head. Since I got back from my travels, I’ve kept to my goal of submitting one creative piece a week (minimum). I used to use the “100 rule” – send it out 100 times and then shelve it for a while if no one accepts it – that rule lead to a many acceptances. But I’ve been lazy (or scared or busy) for a while & most of the writing I’ve been doing: book reviews, academic & of course: the dissertation (always hovering there behind everything).  Before I left on my all-too-brief vacation, I finished reading another batch of a few hundred manuscripts for one of my part-time editorial jobs – a process that I find equal parts exhausting & encouraging: there is some really good work out there. But there’s also a sort of ongoing refrain mingling with my dissertation-guilt – let’s call it “writing guilt” – asking every day: when will there be time to let those voices speak? to tell those stories? to send them out into the world? And so, despite the HEAT, despite all the other calls on my time (3 jobs, a dissertation & everyone/everything else), I’m going to try a weekly promise to myself to send out one story, or a poem or two, or maybe an essay – every week – just add it to the schedule like training or groceries or the dissertation [because: always the dissertation].  Wish me luck.

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