Summer is a time when family and friends come to visit, picnics and parties seem like fine ideas, and vacations are scheduled, right? For me, though, summer is also a time when I quietly wonder if my writing is my obsession. According to my trusty dictionary, an obsession is “the domination of one's thoughts or feelings by a persistent idea, image, desire, etc.” Exactly. As much as I love guests, parties, and vacationing (really, I do!), I get a bit nutty about giving up any of my writing, revising, or reading time. I do, of course, but that doesn’t mean that ideas stop barging into my head, whining for attention. It doesn’t matter if I’m in the middle of a lovely catch-up conversation, making potato salad, or enjoying some beach time, a novel thought is going to scream LOUD and interrupt. And it’s hard for me to not pay attention.
In addition, my brain won’t stop fast-forwarding to when I can snatch a few minutes here and there to jot down notes or develop one of the ideas that yelled at me. I start wondering if I could develop a character during a bathroom break or revise a scene while simultaneously husking cobs of corn. Would anyone notice if I went out to get the mail and brought my laptop with me? My fingers crave the feel of pecking at a keyboard. My eyes long to watch words appear, change and shift on a computer screen. If I go too long without putting together sentences on a page, I get jumpy, cranky, and even sad. My skin begins to itch and I’m sure that a rash will follow. I find myself lusting after the laptops of strangers and I openly envy people sharing quiet time with their computers in cafes.
Eventually, though, guests get dropped off at airports, our car pulls back into our driveway after a fabulous escape, and clean up duty after a successful backyard party is finished. Then, I bask in my obsession. Because I’m the only one not in complete let down mode because all the fun and nonsense is a memory. While others grumble about going back to jobs and workday routines, I swallow back goofy grins and do my best not to count the seconds until I can bond with my laptop again. Perhaps I should look up words like leisure and balance and mental health in my trusty dictionary.