August 12, 2011

It’s wilder than a West Texas dust storm. Speedier than a Six Flags roller coaster. Mind-numbing as ice cubes on the brain.

It’s Summer School — sixteen weeks’ worth of coursework packed into six weeks. For four days each week — Monday through Thursday — the routine goes like this: wake up, get dressed, go to work, come home. Repeat. Only on Fridays through Sundays do I get to breathe.

On Monday morning, I wake up at six a.m., throw on my clothes, aim some makeup at my face, and swish a toothbrush around in my mouth, walk Russet, and dash out the door. I spin around in this hundred-mile-an-hour whirlwind until Thursday afternoon.

Since July 11, Summer School has held me in her grip: banging out quizzes and lesson plans, grading essays. This onslaught won’t let up until August 18. By then, I’ll be twenty pounds lighter. Teaching two classes back-to-back and only ten minutes apart, I scarcely have time to scarf down a handful of crackers.

Only five weeks ago, I was a free spirit. Free to stay up to write until two a.m. Free to sleep until 9:00. Free to be a female Jimmy Buffett, flip-flops and all.

I soon learned that freedom comes with a price. Since no classes were available to me for Summer I, I lived on peanut butter and Vienna sausages and sucked in my breath from May 31 until the end of July. Now, with money once again in my bank, I can breathe again.

Still, those lazy, sun-drenched days weren’t totally idle. On Friday, July 8, I finished writing the book I began in January 2009. I am currently marketing it to agents.

Summer School can claim a person body and soul.

“Forget about family and friends,” she hisses in the ears of teachers. “For the next six weeks, you’re mine.”

Well, we’ll just see about that. As I’m about to finish the blog post I began two weeks ago, I dare to laugh in her face.

Soon, I’ll be through with you. I’ll be free to work on my new story idea, free to sleep in, wake up late.

Free, that is, until August 29. When another whirlwind — the one that lasts until December — whips back up and spirits me away.




  1. I remember Summer School. At UTD the classes were still just two days a week, but each class was hours long. No way to really soak in the lit class I was trying to take, but it seemed like a good way to knock out business classes.

  2. I’m thankful for the extra cash; in fact, this semester, I’ve worked particularly hard for it! By the end of the day, I’ve poured so much of my energy into concepts we writers take for granted: stringing together subjects and verbs and — lo and behold — coming up with complete sentences!

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