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The Last Grasp of Summer

August is almost over. The air grows chilly in the morning and evening, but remains warm in the middle of the day as if to say, "Don't forget summer is still here."

Most of the kids are back in school, full of hope and trepidation for what the new year will bring. Oddly, though Autumn marks the dwindling down of the year, it also brings a surge of anticipation.

As if awakened from the somnolent summer, we jump up and begin to pack away the lawn furniture and hoses, preparing for all that is to come. School events. End of Summer picnics. Signing up for sports. (Not me of course!) I drive by the schools and see teams already training for the Big Game. Autumn brings a solid sense of preparedness.

I am spending most of my time doing a "polish edit" on Rough Ride, the first of my Darcy Moreland mysteries. I am gearing up to go to the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, Colorado Gold Conference again this year.

Editing is hard for me. I much prefer the excitement of molding a new idea or character, rather than the laborious combing through your own text to find you have left off closing quotes (twice) that you didn't catch the first five times you read it.

Mark Twain used to edit his books while they were laying out the type. Drove the printers crazy, but he wanted it perfect.

Besides correct usage and punctuation, there are still the more important edits. You look at your story and characters and try to put more sparkle into them.

Editing is like polishing Grandma's silver (Does anyone besides me still do that?) Your hands get blackened and grime gets under your nails. When you finish buffing them, and you lay them out on that white tablecloth, they glimmer, and it is all worth it. The satisfaction of doing any task and bringing your best never gets old.

If it is painting a picture, cleaning the windows, or baking a pie, when we invest a part of ourselves in the ongoing imperative to improve, we communicate with our better selves. That enriches us, as well as all we touch.

May you have a fruitful harvest this year.

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