R headed off to school this week. That means summer’s over, right? But the Florida weather promptly rewarded me with the two nicest days we’ve had all summer long. Swimming was finally the kind of joy that it usually is in June, where the water’s warm and the sky’s clear and paddling around aimlessly feels luxurious.

I savored it, because obviously there’s not going to be a lot of those days left this year. Usually sometime in September the bugs get insane–it’s mating season for something we call lovebugs and if you try to sit outside, you wind up with them crawling over you by the dozen. Even when swimming you get bugs in your hair and face. And they die after they mate, so their little black bodies pile up everywhere. It only lasts a couple of weeks, but it marks the end of swimming for the year. This year is the first year that having a pool has felt much more like an expensive burden than a pleasure, so I’m glad to have had at least a couple nice summer days.

And I used them well. I took the computer and my laptop outside and alternated writing sprints with dips in the pool. It reminded me of how I wrote Ghosts, which was mostly written on the back porch, and made me wonder why I stopped doing that. I think because I have a different laptop now and its screen is less tolerant of sunlight than my old computer. And its battery doesn’t last so long. Oh, and for a while back then, I actually had a desk on the porch. Anyway, I don’t really know the answer, but it’s a good way to write. I’ll be headed out there again today, I hope.

The slow progress on Grace continues — still slow, but still progress. I’m at a point this morning where I’m thinking a) so far this book is nothing but conversation, is that a problem? and b) the current conversation that I need to write is really complicated, that’s a problem. But I’m reassuring myself by remembering that my beta readers are terrific and helpful and they’ll be honest with me if it’s too complicated. Not that I’m letting anyone read it at the moment, but eventually I’ll be looking for beta readers.

I released The Wedding Guests as a stand-alone story this week. I’ve got a bunch of bookmarks to give away which I intended to do at the launch, but… I was too busy. Maybe not literally busy, but I read a great article about emotional labor recently and it resonated. Not in that I do a lot of emotional labor in relationships — I think I’m pretty terrible at it, actually — but sometimes doing our own emotional labor is hard work. Anyway, I aspire to get organized about a bookmark giveaway, but I’m not going to think about it again until after Labor Day when the summer is truly over. Today and tomorrow and the next day and the next, my focus is going to be on writing Grace, eating well, doing yoga, and savoring the summer’s last few days of beauty.

Today’s meal plan:
Breakfast: Salad of arugula, avocado, strawberry, and smoked trout, topped with balsamic vinegar.
Lunch: Salad of cabbage, cilantro, red onion, avocado, mango, and garlic-sauteed shrimp, with a dressing made of lime zest & juice, pressed garlic, salt, and coconut oil. Possibly, if I’m feeling daring, a little hot sauce, because giving the shrimp a bit of a kick is sometimes worth the nightshade hit.
Dinner: Salad of mixed greens, orange segments, thinly-sliced pork chop, toasted pecan bits, and goat cheese, with a dressing made of lemon juice, olive oil, chopped mint, honey, and maybe a little white wine vinegar if needed.

Sometimes I think I should eat something other than salad. I did last night: baked pork chop and roasted brussels sprouts. It was good enough, but not great. I wished I was eating salad of mixed greens, honey-smoked salmon, radishes, cucumber, red onion, & kalamata olives, topped with balsamic. Such a specific wish, but while I was eating I was thinking about the perfect salad and that was the one I came up with.

All right, time to write. Grace’s difficult conversation isn’t going to write itself!