Late posting today, because late writing.
I instituted summer hours today. My plan for the summer is to shut down the office at 2:30 on Fridays. It’s nearly impossible to find people on Friday afternoon in the summer anyway, and inevitably I end up leaving messages for clients and their staff that nobody’s going to listen to until Monday, so why not join the crowd?
What I didn’t count on was the fact that after two weeks of “function, don’t feel,” I’m starting to feel my father’s passing in odd ways. It’s not as if I routinely talked with him or hung out with him in the evening, but my evenings are starting to feel strangely empty, as if something that used to fill them up is missing. Nearly the only thing I know how to do that will occupy my brain without needing to explore feelings is work. So, even though I planned to stop at 2:30 today, I ended up working until past 6:00 except for the forty-five minutes I spent on the phone with Mom, discussing what’s to be done with the clothes she and her friend Judy have been cleaning out of his closets and drawers.
I find myself wildly nostalgic for the time in the mid-aughts when I was deeply into the Bonanza fan fiction world, writing stories and hanging out online (or on phone) with my friends from that fandom. It was a fabulous era, and I’ll always love the memory, but what I recall most is the summer of 2007 when a dear friend was dying and my Bonanza friends rallied around me. Two of them wrote beautiful stories as gifts of support. In a time when I didn’t know what I was doing, they were the net that caught me.
I’ve had plenty of wonderful people supporting me in these days, too. I don’t mean to suggest anything else. It’s entirely possible that time has worn off the edges of those days and bathed them in honey-colored light. It’s also possible that being one step removed—a friend, rather than a direct family member—makes a difference in how it all goes. Or maybe life was just simpler then. I don’t know.
What I do know is that in these past few days, when I move from the real world into the world of my novel, it’s an escape. Without this challenge, I might not think to make the effort. And so, with two days left (for me—everybody else is done today), I thank Jami Attenberg and all involved in making #1000wordsofsummer a reality. Thank you, my friends.