Autumn arrives this Friday the 22nd at precisely 4:02 PM, Eastern Standard Time. I had vowed to buckle down and get serious about my Creative Crone book right after Labor Day, but two weeks have passed and I’m still stuck in summertime. Hardly surprising, since it’s four o’clock and 81 degrees in the shade. Clearly Mother Nature is having hot flashes.
My office on the second floor of our quaint little pink house isn’t airconditioned. That’s no excuse for procrastination—I could always take my laptop to the library. But I’ve lost one of my overdue books, a memoir by Alec Baldwin, and I’m embarrassed to show up till I find it. That’s only one of the zillion reasons I can come up with to avoid confronting my blank computer screen.
If you hang in there till the end of this post, I have some genuine information to impart, about my upcoming workshops at the Arts Center of the Capital Region and how you can become a guest blogger on this site. But I’d rather write about last Sunday and what I thought was my end-of-the-season swim. By early afternoon, the thermometer had hit a sultry 86 degrees. Even though the town beach closed three weeks ago, the lake was calling me. Swimming in a spring-fed lake in upstate New York on September 17th seemed decidedly weird, but I was still in the lazy summertime mode I described in the poem I posted at the end of August, cutting myself an abundance of slack and following my impulses wherever they may take me. Indulging the happy-go-lucky grasshopper side of me instead of the industrious ant.
Maybe the grasshopper image springs to mind because of the nonstop chirrupy din that rang in my ears as I walked to the lake. Crickets or tinnitus? To me, they sound identical, but I chose to believe it was crickets, just as I chose to believe swimming off the end of the boat ramp in Snyders Lake was a fine idea. My husband wishes I wouldn’t—he’s afraid I’ll get hit by an oblivious boater and be pulverized by a propeller. (That happened to a neighbor, who suffered a mangled leg, but the resulting settlement gave him the wherewithal to upgrade to a much bigger house, so in some ways he came out ahead.)
Half a dozen pontoon boats were cruising the lake, and a couple of speed boats were towing kids in brightly colored inflatables, but I kept a cautious eye out and didn’t venture too far from shore. The bottom was mucky, and the feathery water weeds snaked around my legs, but the water was surprisingly balmy, especially when I floated lazily on the surface, above the weeds, face to the late afternoon sun.
I’m still fond of the description in my novel Eldercide, where the heroine Claire Lindstrom, the nursing supervisor for a home health care agency beset by mysterious murders, goes for a midnight swim:
She stepped from the narrow strip of sand into the lake, shivered as the chilly water lapped her ankles, then her calves. The soles of her well-worn sneakers protected her from the sharp edges of the rocks and pebbles embedded in the muck of the bottom. A few feet from shore, where the seaweed took over, she flung herself forward onto the surface of the water. Floating just below her body, the stuff scraped at her exposed skin like a gigantic loofah sponge. The sensation was peculiar but Claire had long since grown accustomed to it. She couldn’t have tolerated the slimy, stringy kind of seaweed, but this curly pondweed wasn’t so bad. A small price to pay for having her own private beach.
Twenty feet out, where the water grew colder and the seaweed slacked off, she let her legs sink down until her body was nearly vertical. Treading water, she felt the frigid currents of the lake’s hidden springs welling up from the depths, enveloping her. Water this cold could be deadly. How long would it take for hypothermia to set in? Not a bad way to go, if you had the choice. Like drifting off to sleep . . .
Claire took her swim in early October, so of course the water was much colder, but the weathermen are still projecting abnormally warm weather, so I may have another week of lake swimming left. I could always switch to the pool at the YMCA, but last week I tinted my hair light blue, and I’m afraid the chlorine would strip away the color too soon.
And now down to business:
Workshops at the Arts Center of the Capital Region: I’ve got two workshops scheduled for November, and I’d love it if you sign up now.
- Block Busting: How to Break through the Barriers that Keep You from Writing. One session, Saturday, November 4
- The Alchemy of Creative Writing. Four sessions, Tuesday evenings beginning November 14.
For further information, please click on EVENTS on the menu above, or visit the ACCR website at www.artscenteronline.org.
Guest bloggers: I’ll be hosting my first guest blogger, J.H. Bogran, author of Poisoned Tears, next Monday, September 25. If you’re interested in being a guest blogger, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. This Friday I’ll be posting guidelines about what I’m looking for.
Eldercide and my other novels: if the passage from Eldercide intrigued you, you can read the first chapter from this and my other two novels elsewhere on this website. They’re all available on Amazon, and I hope you’re tempted to buy.
Okay, that’s it for now. My dog Sirius is looking wistfully out the window, hoping I’ll take him outside to the garden, where I can give him a good brushing while sipping a tall gin and tonic. It’s after five, high time to oblige him.