Brief delights

Summer is a season of brief delights.  Tiny beings on gossamer wings cloud the air for fleeting moments.  Meadows undulate in an abrupt dazzle of colour.  Birds swoop in from their long journeys to a frenzy of feasting and breeding.  It is a season where things appear like magic, before vanishing as though they were never there.  Where do they come from – the flies and the beetles and the butterflies?  Where do they go to when their season has ended?  They appear and then they fade, leaving behind traces on the air and the memory of wings.  Summer’s long, light days can seem tantalisingly slow, and many of us remember treacly summers of our youth that were never-ending.  But summer’s delights are ephemeral and the season rarely seems to linger in the way the dark, raw days of winter do.

In the long, slow turn of the seasons, I see the pattern of a writer’s life.  A cycle of hope and despair, of tunnelling inwards to find a nugget of wisdom and reluctantly re-emerging to display it to the world.  But if the writing life is a long game, then summer is those brief, dazzling moments of success.  It is the moment when you write ‘the end‘; the competition prize or commendation; the moment when you see your words in print; the pleasing comment or review.  For most of us it isn’t a best-selling novel or Pulitzer Prize, it is a series of brief delights, that dazzle us temporarily, before we head once more into the doubt doldrums or the hard work of putting one word after another.  Sometimes these dazzling moments seem far apart, like midwinter yearning for spring.

Summer is a season of expansiveness.  A time to use the long hours of light and warmth to replenish us for the winter ahead.  In this season, I feel the hope of sending my work out into the world.  The stories jostling for a home will find one; the manuscript waiting for an agent won’t be discarded.  That hope and what it may bring sustains me as a writer, just as the memory of summer comforts me when the light is low and the cold chatters my bones.

Of course summer’s brief delights don’t appear from nowhere, and nor do those of a writer’s life.  They are the result of months, even years, of preparation.  The larvae creeping through the mud, waiting for wings.  The seed incubating in the earth, waiting for petals.  The story percolating in the mind, waiting for its words.  Their magic is that of toil and transformation.  So it is no wonder there is delight when they finally emerge.  No wonder summer has a frivolity lacking in all the other seasons.  It is a time to bask in these transient delights.   We will bid them farewell soon enough and move towards the bittersweet dark.  And as we do, perhaps we will cast a wistful look behind us and remember the dazzle of the light.

57 thoughts on “Brief delights

  1. I love your writing Andrea, no doubt for me about that. Brief, dazzling moments of success are good things, and sometimes are the sweetest and most meaningful. It works very much the same for music.

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  2. Summer is a hopeful season, I agree. And too brief. What is it about the sun that generates ideas? I was sitting on my sun dappled back deck this morning and idea after idea kept coming so that I had to get a journal and jot them down for later. I hope they make sense when I go back to read them. I panicked a bit when I read the line about writing being the long game because I’ll soon be 60 and I feel like the time for the long game is long gone!

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    • The long game is relative! A year is a long time in writing, punctuated by those brief moments of success 🙂 I’m glad the sun is generating so many ideas for you, I’ll look forward to seeing some of them come to fruition.

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  3. I love your writing. I love your descriptions of nature: so beautiful, so engaging, so vivid. I love your word choices: so fresh, so unique, so apropos.

    And I love the writerly life lesson you drew from the seasons. It resonated deeply within me. It cheered me and encouraged me. And, along with the current post I’m working on, helped me to better appreciate where I’m at and what I’m doing right now instead of wishing I was doing something bigger, better, flashier.

    Thank you.

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  4. No matter which season, the passionate, hardworking and talented writer (like you) must weather all seasons to survive. It will be great to see you shine like a beautiful summers day. Share your words and stories that will keep your readers entertained and inspired even on a gloomy winters day like it is here today. Keep going, keep plodding along….thats my motto you will get there as your artists brush paints amazing pictures in my head with words. It’s far too good to keep it to yourself Andrea.

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  5. Well, Andrea, you have certainly captured the ups and downs, the brief sparkling moments and the long waits to be endured, in the seasons of writing. Beautifully said. Having just gotten off the phone with a weeping friend who had 2 of her MS rejected from an agent who’d requested them after a conference, I find your words comforting. And your photographs, as always, are outstanding.

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  6. Beautiful thoughts, Andrea. Although I love summer, here in the south, it can linger much too long. With close to five months of heat and often oppressive humidity, I look forward to the cool, crisp days of autumn. Now winter, that’s a different story…definitely not a fan. Your photographs are stunning!

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  7. Here we are definitely midwinter yearning for spring! And the winter days seem twice as long as any others. I hope the brief delights of summer will bring you refreshment and inspiration.

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  8. Oh so beautiful is your writing, Andrea! Comparing a writer’s life to nature is brilliant (where do you come up with stuff like this?😊 I am jealous of your ability!)

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  9. Another lovely pondering here, of elegant words and deep thoughts. Such a pleasure to read your words, Andrea, so mesmerizing. I can relate so vividly to the brief delights of writing, versus the long, dark periods of deep contemplation and lonely moments. I love the comparison of it to summer. Gorgeous photos too.

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  10. Inspirational, Andrea. Your lightness of touch mirrors the transience of many of our summer creatures and the plants and insects that nourish them. You always make me we to pick up my pen and have a go at ‘nature writing’ again. Thank you for a lovely read.

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  11. This is a superb analogy between the transience of summer and the temporary glow and uplift that goes with humble writing successes. I can so accord with your words, “It is a series of brief delights, that dazzle us temporarily, before we head once more into the doubt doldrums”. The summer is so beautiful but over far too quickly. Today, my lavender was abuzz with multitudinous bumble bees and honeybees, when last week I was convinced that no honeybees would visit his year and the end was nigh. As far as my MS goes, I’m still waiting on responses, while trying to divert my thoughts elsewhere lest I waste the summer.

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    • Thanks Sarah, yes there do seem to have been far fewer insects around this year, though the bees have loved the purple toadflax which mysteriously appeared in our front yard. As for MS, well, I’m having a moment of the doubt doldrums since I just read my second rejection email, but on the plus side, the agent gave me some feedback and had some positive things to say 😦

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      • If you’ve received more than a standard rejection slip, Andrea, then treasure it. You’re probably in the top ten percent; those who actually get feedback and positives. Is there anything in the feedback that you think you can act upon, when you’ve climbed out of the doldrums? I had a handful of rejections (with positives and feedback) on Magpies during the first round of submissions, which is why I left it there for about 3 years and did some more work on it, some of it based on feedback. Keep going. All I can say is that I feel for you and understand all about the doubt doldrums.

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  12. I love this – it’s so true that summer and any brief delights are too fleeting. But the magic is always there – percolating and incubating – even when it seems as if nothing is blooming. I hope you’ll find many more dazzling delights!

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  13. Man, this seriously made me want to go run outside and roll around in the grass! Poetic and gorgeous, as always. Think I’ll go roll around on my lunch break tomorrow…grass stains, be damned. 😉

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  14. Thank you, Andrea. A beautiful — and familiar — reflection on Nature’s seasons and the creative/writer’s seasons. The seemingly fallow or Winter season can be a challenge for Western-conditioned minds, as can be those gestation times … harbingers of Spring, yet not quite ready to bloom into an outwardly shared piece of work. Blessings! Jamie

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  15. Pingback: ​Die to Bloom – James Clark — The Next Iteration

    • James, thanks so much for this mention on your blog, and I must also thank you for submitting my post to WordPress Discover, as it’s been chosen as an editor’s pick – I appreciate your support very much. Thank you.

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  16. I love the comparison to a writer’s journey. I have learned I just want to write. To write what comes before it goes. But I don’t need fame, or lengthy tomes–just connection with readers. Like the bees and the birds coming and going, happy just to be in the moment:). What a nice post.

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  17. ‘Tiny beings..Meadows..Birds’ and ‘The larvae..The seed..The story’. Don’t threes ring so well in writing.. I believe there is Trinity behind everything good in this world. Thank you for another lovely piece. As a gardener i find all four seasons hold together so well. I’m always preparing for the next in anticipation.

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