Yes, that’s the beach in the background. I thought it was appropriate. Because that’s where I am, Yuengling in hand, not thinking about the book I have to finish, or that classes start one week from today. I’ll be thinking about that all sooner or later. For now, fingers in ears and lalalalalalalalalalalalalalala…
August is the cruelest time of year. If come just off of July, a tentative kind of month as far as summer is concerned, with the real start of it on Independence Day. But by August you’re fully into the swing of it, you have three-quarters of your tan and you’ve completely forgotten what socks feel like, you’re way into fresh tomatoes and peaches and sitting outside for dinner. You’ve gotten used to sleeping with just a sheet over you, mosquito bites, how good that cold bottle of brew feels in your hand. You can’t get enough ice cream, swimming, summer blockbusters, cricket chirps at night and early sunrises in the morning. But if you’re a teacher, or a college professor like me, you know these things are just there to taunt you, exclude you, set you on the outside looking in. Because if teaching is your chosen profession, you can kiss all these things adios by mid-month. Because by that time you’re already neck-deep into the brain-frying task of the dreaded CLASS PREP!
“Teachers get the whole summer off.” HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! You know what I’m doing now? It’s not laying on the beach, that’s for damn sure. What I’m doing now, by the very act of writing this is slacking from what I’ve been doing for the last week–interminable reading, lesson plans, website updating, essay prompt preparation, yadda-von-fucking-yadda. And if you teach college, you have the equally interminable Pre_Class week, where you have Online Training, Orientations, Departmental Meetings, College Assembly, Convocation, etc. etc. etc. ewwch, arrgguuuh!
Okay, gotta go. My Blackboard site is screaming for my attention because it goes live in ONE WEEK. “Teachers get the whole summer off.” Oh man–I’m cryin’!
I love Maxfield Parrish. He is and always has been one of my favorite illustrators and artists. I love his vibrant, saturated colors and the visual depth of his landscapes, his use of perspective and the playful humanistic qualities he gives to each of his subjects. I often think of him when the evening sky is awash with stark color after a storm. The blue is most likely a colbalt used often in Parrish’s work, and I loved this particular shade of his even before I knew it was a thing. It is a blue that says many things to me–of the variations of nature, of a kind of impishness, of the joy that being all-in with life can bring. Maxfield Parrish’s art, because of its sheer volume, variation, and detail, also says to me he must have enjoyed the creation of it immensely. What a luscious life he must have lived, reveling in it.
I think of Parrish in the context of a talk I attended just the other week, between a writer of some renown and an editor from a major publishing house. He was asked what advice he could give the attendant audience of writing students, especially when they’re feeling the full brunt of the pressure to publish. He said first and foremost to enjoy this early time in their career when the flush of discovery and learning is still fresh, and learn to cultivate it throughout your writing life. But more than anything, you need to enjoy the process, because if you don’t, it’ll show in your work and you’ll be doomed to ordinariness. And you’ll spend a whole lot of time being miserable.
Fine advice to always keep running in the background, no matter what discipline you create your art in. Especially on a soft, summer Maxfield Parrish night as this.
Do I have cats. Three at the present. Don’t judge me, only one was actually voluntarily acquired. The other two acquired me and the husband, just barged right in and decided to stay. You see, with cats, it’s not as if you have a choice. Even when they love you they will always leave you flat for a) food, b) a warm spot, c) scratchies. You see, they’re not really bad, they’re just drawn (to everything else) that way.
Saturdays are usually writing events for me. If I’m not creating my own genius, I’m at Liberty State Fiction Writers co-presiding over our meetings and seminars, or I’m disseminating my vast mental compendium of professorial writing tips to freshman and graduate learners alike. But to stay in this literary game, whether as instructor or practitioner, the savvy writer needs to continually update their literary toolbox. And there’s no better way to do that, after the manuscript is finished, proofread, and polished, than going where the industry professionals are.
Might I recommend the second Author-Preneur Workshop by the Navesink River on October 13, 2018, in beautiful Red Bank, NJ. This event is an all-day multilayered interactive workshop with presentations by Literary Agent Marisa A. Corvisiero, Esq., her Corvisiero Literary Agency colleagues, and other key industry professional guests dedicated to an author’s success.
~ 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Saturday, October 13, at The Oyster Point Hotel, Bodman Place, Red Bank, NJ 07701.
~ Phone: 732.759.9175
~ Conveniently located about one hour from NY City.
~ Valet parking complimentary.
~ Train Station: Red Bank – North Jersey Coast line located just 5 minutes away.
For all the deets and a Who’s Who of who’s attending, visit the Covisiero Literary Agency.