Friday, August 17, 2007
There’s not much left of August, though it’s been hot enough to make me think summer will last forever. At least, it feels like forever, if you’re curled over an air conditioning vent, dreaming of Grand Rapids blizzards, and hoping it will cool down to at least ninety. (I am not a fan of triple-digit heat! And I was even less so when our air conditioning croaked last week: it was too hot even to whine ...)
August has always been a transitional month—between summer and school year. I feel like I should be stocking index cards, markers, and the two boxes of tissues we had to bring in second grade.
Actually, I was in Office Depot a few weeks ago, eyeing their display of notebooks and buying an ink blotter for my lovely new desk. The guy in front of me at the checkout peered into my cart and said, “So, getting ready for college?” “Um, no, not really.” He nodded. “High school then?” Rats! Do I really look that young? “No, actually—I graduated from college a year ago…” “Oh!” Pause. “So what do you do now?” Here goes ...
Adrienne’s the one who is really getting ready for school—her senior year of college! Is that ever bizarre?! I remember listening to her read Dr. Seuss books, when she was just getting the hang of it… Now she’s studying Greek and Hebrew and planning her wedding for next June. Crazy!
We had a gorgeous engagement party for her and Jon last week, which was a great time to see our family and his family, and some of their friends as well. My older sister drove up from Nashville, along with her boyfriend, and so our ever-growing family had a great time together.
We even went to a Cardinal’s baseball game—102 degrees before the infamous St. Louis humidity, don’t even get me started… But we had a great view of the game, saw two home runs, and the Cardinals won. It’s been a long time since I’ve kept up with baseball. Our stadium in St. Louis is new, and after they won the World Series last year, we’ve been hearing a lot about the Cardinals, or the Redbirds as they call them here.
(Don’t let this get out, but when I first came to Calvin, someone was talking about a Redwings game, and I casually asked if they were a baseball team. Wow, was that the wrong thing to say! Nearly lost my life…)
And so, in a little over a week, Adrienne will be back at school. Not long after that, I’ll be going up to Michigan once again. Not for school, though I’ll wave at Grand Rapids as we go by. No, my wonderful friend Sarah is back from Africa for a few weeks. She’s been working with the Peace Corps, planting trees and doing all kinds of amazing things. She’ll be home for a bit, and Laura, another good friend, lives in that same area. So, could anything keep me away??
Sarah and Laura are two of the first people I met at Calvin—they were my suitemates my freshman year, and they helped me adjust, whisking me away for late-night pizzas and movie nights. They are two of the most amazing girls on the planet, and I can’t wait to see them!
In the midst of all this, I’m gearing up for my own “semester” beginning… the last day of August marks my twenty-third birthday. And my birthday means that there are three and a half months left before I need to ship my novel proposal to New York: the ultimate finals week! My draft is over 19,600 words, and I reread it from start to finish earlier this week. Oh, I can’t help loving it. It’s scrawny and underdeveloped. Malnourished, obviously. Parts are cliché, other parts are missing entirely. But there are a few arresting images, a handful of good, strong sentences. And I like my main character now; I like the people around her. And as the days keep marching toward December, I hope to strengthen my draft, deepen it, and make it glow…—jl