It’s Monday again. Another week has zoomed past. We’re all in a whirl here, the usual year-end activities (how is it that even when you don’t live by a school calendar, you live by a school calendar?) and a bundle of errands as our Jane prepares to fly the nest for the summer. At the end of the week she’s off to Texas for a big adventure: an internship at a software developer. We’re thrilled for her and of course wondering how we’ll survive without her. 🙂 But mostly thrilled. She’ll be staying with friends, a perfect arrangement that sets this mama’s mind at ease. My own parents put me on a plane to Germany at age fourteen to spend a summer with a family they’d never met—and they didn’t have the internet for keeping in touch with me. I marvel, now, at their cheerful confidence and hold it as a model for my own attitude about my kids’ adventures, which are bound to come faster and carry them ever farther in the years ahead.
In eighth grade, a year or two before my Germany adventure, I had to choose a poem to recite aloud in class. I knew immediately what it would be: the various verses of Bilbo’s “Road” song in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings—ending with the verse that gives me the same thrill up my spine today that it did when I was twelve:
The road goes ever on and on,
down from the door where it began;
now far ahead the road has gone,
and I must follow if I can,
pursuing it with eager feet,
until it joins some larger way
where many paths and errands meet—
and whither then? I cannot say.
The rest of us will be homebodies this summer, more or less (and there’s a happy sigh in that, too). I imagine we’ll spend a lot of time at the Y, swimming and whatnot. I love the YMCA because my older kids can swim, my little ones can play in the playroom, and I can (gasp) go sit alone on an exercise bike—an activity I enjoy not because of the exercise (ugh) but because it means twenty uninterrupted minutes of quiet listening time. To an audiobook, a lecture, the News from Lake Wobegon. We let our membership lapse last summer, but this year we’re back and I’m thrilled.
Later this month I’ll venture to Anaheim for ALA—just an overnight trip for me, but it’s bound to be a fun one. And then fast on the heels of that convention will come Comic-Con. Plans are already buzzing for that one, and I’m realizing I have a lot of pre-con reading to do…
Speaking of reading, I’m still savoring The Scent of Water in small morsels at a time—and devouring, in enormous, greedy bites, an advance copy of the new Quinn Cummings book, The Year of Learning Dangerously, which is as wickedly funny as all of Quinn’s writing, and is about one of my pet subjects, and in which I have a cameo—but that last reason has little to do with my immense enjoyment of this book. You could change “Melissa” to “Melanie” and I’d be just as riveted. I haven’t even gotten to the bit about my group, is what I’m saying. By page three, I’d snickered two or three times and laughed out loud, an honest-to-goodness laugh, once—the first of many audible guffaws that made Scott look up from his book with a quizzical “Yes?” So then I read the funny bit to him, and he laughs out loud too, and then the children want to know what the heck is so funny. When I read Quinn’s first book, Notes from the Underwire, her voice was so wry and smart and laugh-inducing that it sent me to her blog in search of more. Her writing made me want to know her in person, and luckily she was in the middle of researching Learning Dangerously and my Shakespeare Club was gearing up for its big spring performance, and it helped that we happened to have a mutual friend in the awesome Karen Edmisten. Serendipity. Usually it transpires that I make friends with a writer via writerly circles and then hunt up all that person’s books. This time it was the other way around—her writing made me want to be her friend. Because the internet is magic, I got my wish.