The Magic of Collaboration

I didn’t plan to watch Peter Jackson’s documentary The Beatles: Get Back but I couldn’t resist. Disney Plus offered a week of free viewing and as one who grew up with the Beatles, I put aside my feeling that we shouldn’t reanalyze magic.

Cobbled out of old footage moldering on steel reels in the basement of Twickenham Studios, the star of Get Back is collaboration of the creative spirit. Four became as one, but only after hard work, sweat, a whole lot of smoking and drinking and Harrison walking out at one point and saying he quit. After conversations, stroking ruffled egos, more smoking and drinking, the music emerged from the rooftop. In January, 1969, twenty-one days of studio sessions culminated in the final live performance of the Beatles on the rooftop of Apple Headquarters on Savile Row. The interplay between Lennon and McCartney and their familiarity with the other’s creative process, along with their deep respect for each other moved me. While each had diverged into distinct styles by then, they appreciated the other, Lennon nodding to McCartney’s “The Long and Winding Road” and McCartney tapping his foot to Lennon’s “Dig a Pony” as they worked on the Let It Be album. While George Harrison kept trying to stake his claim to artistic recognition with his own songwriting, he found himself drowned out by the unique Lennon and McCartney team, although his guitar riffs in “Get Back” and “Don’t Let Me Down” have become iconic. At one session we hear him in the background strumming the chords of a new melody he’s playing around with; that song became “Something. “

To hear a song like “Get Back” emerge, one painstaking chord and lyric at a time, offered a new appreciation for my idols. I often thought the music flowed from the Beatles like honey from a tree. Instead, the documentary shed light on the grueling work of creating art. It’s often been said that McCartney must dream songs and lyrics in his sleep because he’s so prolific, but even he didn’t have the words “JoJo left his home in Tucson Arizona” for the first of many, many tries. Reflection, trial and error, playing around with nonsense words and chords, there’s a lesson there to let the work guide you.

I thought about my own work and the collaboration I’ve experienced with other writers. I always felt each of us brought our own voice to a project—thinking about our anthologies Slants of Light and The Life Unexpected. The end result was only as good as the respect and give and take that went into it, and the changes one writer proposed to a story that another writer might not have thought, even though it was her work.

Since we restarted the Women’s Writing Circle, I’ve experienced the collaborative spirit of goodwill. Last meeting, I read a piece and a writer said to me, how about putting this sentence at the beginning of the description, instead of the end? She was right. It made a better flow. Collaborative author teams abound from writers and ghostwriters to screen writers and comedy teams. I hired two developmental editors and asked a friend to beta read my current manuscript. Collaboration amounts to more than polishing and revision; it’s the fuel to keep going, the pat on the back, the words, ‘job well done’, or have you thought of trying this? Every time I think I know what I’m doing, collaboration shows a better way. A beat with no melody, a melody with no beat. You can’t do it alone. That’s the lesson of The Beatles: Get Back.

Gratitude and a November Moon

We live in rancorous times. A friend called them strange and fearful. That’s why I got up at 3:53 a.m. this morning to look at the November moon eclipse. I needed something, something magical. I looked outside the window and saw a dark orange orb with silver sliver of light. To get a better look, I put on coat and hat. Lily, my Lab, and I stood in the backyard. I had read somewhere that this eclipse won’t come again for 980 years. Wikipedia says: This was the longest partial lunar eclipse since 1440, and the longest until 2669. Even Mary Queen of Scots or Henry VIII hadn’t been alive to witness it.

Last week our Women’s Writing Circle met. As always, we shared stories in a spirit of camaraderie, craft and inspiration. One feels a little less insignificant in a community of kindred spirits, as in, I’m not alone and this is a meaningful way to spend a morning. I had spent much of the week writing and I read an excerpt from my novel. It went well, although someone suggested she had never before heard about the type of woman I wrote, a widow in her fifties feeling foolish in front of her teenage son when she calls him to pick her up after leaving a man at a restaurant following his abusive remark. Another woman said the piece was both sad and yet the portrait of a woman made of steel. Another woman had recently dipped her toe into online dating like the woman in the piece and said, I’ve started doing it. Goal accomplished, something resonated. A woman handed me a bouquet of roses, one white and two dark pink, after she read remembrances of her mother and thanked me for bringing us together. The candle glowed in the center of the Circle. Oh, these stories of love, grief, loss and just how absurd life can be. I felt touched by the flowers. Outside the rain and the sun played off each other in a November dance of light and shadow.

Everything I’ve written will be forgotten someday. I write because it’s as necessary as breathing. I urge other writers to value their voice, revel in putting pen to page, reject negative repercussions. I shared Stephen King’s rules of writing. “Stopping a piece of work just because it’s hard, either emotionally or imaginatively, is a bad idea,” he writes. “Optimism is a perfectly legitimate response to failure.” Write for the pure joy of the thing, he says. If you tap into the joy, you can do it forever.

Optimism is much needed during days short of joy. As Thanksgiving approaches, I’m not going to rehash the gratitude blog post I’ve written in the past, although I am grateful for my life. In these strange and fearful times, I’m grateful for a November moon that comes once in a lifetime. A moon with shining sliver of light hung high in an imponderable sky.

The Dance of Life and Death

Recently, I read an opinion piece in the New York Times “What I Believe About Life After Death” by Anglican priest, Tish Harrison Warren, which she wrote following the tragic death of a fellow Anglican priest and his 22-year-old son in an automobile accident. “I hate death. I have never made my peace with it and I never will. I don’t want to live in a world where everything good suddenly ends. Both had so much left to live.” Death, she said, represented “a journey interrupted”, much like Jesus’ death when he still had so much more he could have “explained, healed, and done.”

The column got me thinking that I don’t fear death as much as I used to. Maybe because I’m older now. Who am I to complain, living seventy years when others die so young? Or, perhaps, because I have seen loved ones die—my husband, my parents, my brother, my best friend who has Alzheimer’s and suffers a living death—death seems the natural order of things. Like leaves falling to earth in a blaze of glory, autumn’s poignant beauty is, after all, a celebration of death. As poet Emily Dickinson wrote: “The maple wears a gayer scarf, the field a crimson gown.

I’m a Christian. Our faith offers hope in the belief of life after death. And as Warren writes, we have good reason to believe this because of “the witness of the disciples and others who lived and died for their claim that they (and somewhere around 500 others) had seen Jesus alive again and spoken to and touched him.”

The untimely death of my husband from cancer at the age of forty-seven forged much of my own thoughts about life and death. John and I were planning a 15th wedding anniversary to Italy, we had two young sons and everything to live for. Although twenty-seven years have passed, memories remain of the day he lay dying and spoke of angels approaching down a corridor of light. Was it the morphine? Who am I to say? I also remember the day before she died, my mother calling her parents, her hands reaching above her head as if she could see and grasp them. 

A couple weeks ago, a friend sent me a link to an online Jungian lecture called “Aging Soulfully.” Swiss psychoanalyst and philosopher Carl Jung’s theory of life and death promotes aging as a journey toward a final destination. Death teaches us in the second half of life to let go of our egos and material possessions and give up control of others. 

Hindus believe in reincarnation. When I traveled to Nepal, I saw priests in saffron robes carrying wrapped corpses to funeral pyres above the Bagmati River, leading to the Ganges. As the smoke curled skyward, the spirit was released from the body to live again in another living being.

As Advent approaches, Christians enter a state of longing, an expectation of light in the darkness. If death is darkness, then light reminds us something extraordinary can and does happen on a cold winter’s night. Just as leaves fall to the ground and the barren branches of winter bud anew in spring, life and death form a paradoxical partnership, an interconnected dance of light and dark. Why did someone tragically die before their time? Why do we have to die? Comfort, at least for me, lies in believing there exists that corridor of light toward a reunion with loved ones.

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. … When I am in the world, I am the Light of the World.” John 8:12

Susan G. Weidener is the author of two memoirs and a novel, and a former journalist with The Philadelphia Inquirer. She offers writing workshops and teaches memoir and fiction and facilitates the Women’s Writing Circle, the second Saturday of the month at the Chester Springs Library. A member of St. Mark’s Honey Brook for seven years, Susan lives in Chester Springs. She blogs at:

The Magic of the Writing Practice

My manuscript has come back from my editor. We’ve talked on the phone about her comments and my vision for the book. An editor moves you toward a goal of incorporating new and better writing. Someone reads your work and offers objective criticism based, hopefully, on their own experience as a professional in the writing business. She wants to see this expanded, that delved into. My editor, although not a writer herself, comes from a solid background of working with Big Five publishers and authors from diverse backgrounds.

A writer, if she’s smart, profits from criticism. After receiving her developmental edit, I began to revise, combine chapters, add new writing to my novel, tentatively titled Ava’s Story: A Woman Alone. One of her criticisms that Ava seemed too focused on her relationships with men, made me smile. As an older widowed woman, Ava had dipped a toe more than once into the dating pool and knew widows and divorcees talking about relationships. But also, because my editor is married, we laughed that sometimes she envies her single friends.  She wants to know more about the life of single mother, of woman alone. She wants more of Ava. “There’s a fine line,” she said, “between a character feeling loneliness, yet her strength admired by the reader.”

Her observation that the spiritual seeking side of Ava needs greater exploration resonated. I look forward to developing this aspect of Ava’s journey as a woman who ponders the “exciting sea change” that comes with reflection and a rich inner life.

An editor needs to offer encouragement. “Overall, I really enjoyed reading this,” she wrote. “You have a wonderful voice and are an extremely talented writer.” Several sections of the novel, dealing with a friend’s Alzheimer’s and Ava’s childhood, she labeled “exquisite writing.” She added: “This story will surely touch many readers grappling with love and loss, aging and the search for meaning in this life.” I breathed a sigh of relief. When it comes to editing, all of us feel a bit like beginners.

Which brings me to our Women’s Writing Circle last weekend, much of which centered on the craft of writing, while offering validation. Difficulties, longing, loss, grief and joy beckon as we row on in what is often a healing journey, and a creative pleasure. Readback lines to the writer, what resonated, yes, this is a form of editing. It’s a commitment to the craft to take the risk … to read our work, or have another read it. Through the magic of the writing practice we develop stories to their fullest potential. As our writers did, a writer moves toward those moments of being that lead to understanding life by putting pen to paper … writing a poem about autumn leaves, a reflection on a September day at the beach with only waves and no swimmers, growing up in Pittsburgh with its empty manufacturing sites and silent smokestacks. Or for me, revising a novel where a woman remembers a rainy day at the library with her father. These moments where life and art come together offer the magic of the writing practice.

How about you? Do you have an editing experience you can share?

When a Writer Languishes

Lately, it seems I’ve been hearing from a lot of writers that they’re languishing—they don’t know what to write, let alone feel the energy to write. Everything from Covid, to health setbacks, to exhaustion with their day jobs, adds to the fatigue. In my case, it has to do with not a whole lot happening. I feel a sense of restlessness some days. Things feel ‘ho hum’ and I ponder making changes, but lack the energy.

Meanwhile, I’m waiting for my novel to come back from the editor, at which point, I think I’ll be motivated to work again. But this thing about writing, as I tell other writers, is often tied up in success … how many books we’ve sold, or how many readers follow us on social media. “Success” is knowing your audience, staying tuned to what’s marketable … breaking through a very competitive market where everyone has a “printing press” at their fingertips. Then there’s “success” that comes with figuring the story out, constructing the narrative arc, deep diving into psychological terrain, especially for memoir writers.

Last night, a friend and I went to an outdoor event where a writer of Western fiction gave a talk and reading. A lovely evening here in the Philadelphia area, we sat at picnic tables and ate barbecue from the local brewery.  I had never heard of the author before, but my friend had and said his books were a favorite of her father and grandfather. “They were easy reads,” she recalled. “Comfort reads … books they read before going to bed at night.”  The author had built a successful career around a sheriff and a cast of characters and his books had been picked up by cable. What struck me was when he said the last book wrote itself six months before his publisher’s deadline and he’s already working on the next story in the series. That happened to me once or twice where the stories wrote themselves, but this latest book, a novel, now out to an editor, which continues the story of my character Ava Stuart, has been a bit of a slog. My momentum, too, is often slowed by considerations of how great a monetary investment I want to make in publishing the book.  As I listened to this author talk about his copy editor and publisher, a partner by his side when he tours, I thought … I have none of that.

I’m not making excuses for my own languishing, but I am aware what I’m up against. Sometimes, the writing flows, other times, not. I’m also my own marketer and publicist. My writing has focused on loss and grief, transformation and renewal. It’s not just story and dialogue, but a narrative reflection and meditation on life.

Maybe I’ve set the bar too high, but I wouldn’t write anything else. And not every writer, even the most successful ones whose books became television series and movies, is imaginative or a great literary genius. I’ll never have my books turned into a cable TV series and I don’t expect to find an agent, but at least I’m getting the work—my voice—out there.  As my friend said after the reading last night, she loves books. She grew up in a house where books found their way into everyone’s life. She has never read a book that hasn’t offered her a lesson of some kind. A lesson she could apply to her own life. I thought how true that was for me, too, and how I’ve worked hard at passing on what little wisdom I have to others through my own writing. So when a writer languishes, maybe it’s time to remember what got us into this crazy business in the first place. You have to write. And nobody else can do it for you.

Remembering You on September 11

The baby wasn’t due for three weeks, but babies don’t arrive on schedule, or at least, not two hours before a 40th birthday bash. Invites gone out to friends and family. Too late to cancel. While the baby and I snuggled in the hospital, you went home and passed out cigars. A son on your birthday! What a gift! And then, worn out from the latest round of chemotherapy, you bid our guests goodnight and fell into a deep sleep.

Fourteen years later. Our son’s birthday … and yours … the day the planes hit the Twin Towers. I got to the newsroom around 9 o’clock. My editor sat at a desk, eyes glued to the TV screen. We watched in disbelief as a plane flew into the North Tower … and then another plane struck the South Tower. Outside, a spectacularly glorious day mocked the horror just 90 miles north of us … bodies falling from the sky, charred, ashen faces riven with tears. I’m sorry but we won’t be able to celebrate your birthday tonight. As a single mother who earned her living as a reporter, I had to work, of course. I felt sadness, the death of innocence for you, our son. No one to take my place that haunting September, 11. Order pizza, I said. Stay inside with your brother. Ok. I love you.

Life, the way I had expected it, had pretty much ended seven years before, although your sons and I had spun a home of strength and abundance, kindred spirits. Maybe because you took me to places no one else did, I loved you almost from the start. Montreal … Quebec, blue-gray skies above the St. Lawrence. Those first crazy weeks of meeting, arguing, making up, making love, driving back from Canada in a pounding rainstorm. You were so intense, but cute in a manly, vulnerable way. Although we met in April, we knew our fate by September, and you slipped a diamond on my finger. I wasn’t interested in anything after that but you, and—happily—you with me. We loved exploring the countryside, paths winding through sun-dappled woods … Flirtation Walk curving above the Hudson River where you remembered long-lost dreams of glory and honor. We spoke of new dreams, a new life to come. The children we would have. Roads to take. Places to see.

Cooler weather is on the way. I feel it in the morning as I sit at my picnic table, reading, writing, listening to the cicada’s fading summer song. Pale yellow leaves drift to earth. What would you say? What does it mean to survive? Life is short, you say. I learned from grief to write of you, of us. It’s a difficult world. It’s a difficult life. But at least for a time, I forget the tragedy and remember September 11 as the gift of new life on your birthday.

A Woman and the Open Road

Remembering is hard. Christmas without a loved one is hard. Not having money is hard, especially when you’re older.  And so freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose, to quote the famous song. And the open road beckons.  

This weekend I rented Nomadland, the Oscar-winning film based on the 2017 nonfiction book Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century by Jessica Bruder. In the movie, Fern’s not homeless … just houseless.  She lives in a van with the ghost of her late husband. Time may not be on her side, but despite the grief, the loss, she’s determined to make the most of her circumstances.

I remember when I was fifty-six. My brother Andy sized up my situation. I owned my home and had enough money in the bank. Widowed and with the kids out of college, I never had to work again, he said. It felt like going backwards. I was twenty-one again, traveling to London on a PanAm flight and landing on a muggy July morning a little too late to attend services at Westminster Abbey but embarking on a solo journey of a lifetime.

Now, a career behind me, reinvention on the horizon, the West beckoned. Like Fern, I found community in the desert. No longer tethered to the same place, the same routine, I discovered a new sense of freedom in Arizona. I didn’t want to waste any time. Every day out West felt new.

The specter of falling in love again called … albeit with the fear of being hurt again. I’ve had my chance to trade the solitary nomadic life for another house, another partner. Like Fern, I pondered the tradeoff … loss of freedom for ‘security ‘ … was it worth it?

Yet freedom to smell the morning air, take my time over a cup of coffee with no one to answer to proved a more powerful aphrodisiac, although if you have options, there’s risk. But if you don’t risk anything, maybe you won’t write anymore. A trip to the Himalayas, to the Great Wall, to the Great Barrier Reef in the years that followed after that conversation with my brother were my version of nomadland. The alchemy of transformation morphed into the spiritual, into the return to a small, white-steepled church overlooking farmland near Pennsylvania Dutch country where the ghosts of my husband and my parents some Sundays sit next to me on the wooden pews.

Now life has taken a slower, simpler turn. An August afternoon, walking a wooded path where the footfalls of Revolutionary War soldiers still echo is my ‘open road’. An impromptu lunch with my sons in a small town where a Quaker meetinghouse dates back to the 1830s is my social life. But the path, for me, at least, still leads to this: It’s always interesting what’s out there

As a woman in Nomadland says, “you just have to learn to take care of your own shit.” Like Fern, I remind myself of the joy of being alive. Of reveling in a sunset from my kitchen window. Of opening that iron gate and taking to the open road … again, soon, maybe. I’m reminded of traveling with a community of nomads, women alone I’ve met along the writer’s way. I’m reminded of things coming full circle.

The Life and Death of a Writer

I remember her perky brown eyes and short curly brown hair. She loved to write and had contributed to our anthology, Slants of Light: Stories and Poems from the Women’s Writing Circle.  Yesterday I reread her story, a beautifully penned tribute to her mother-in-law, a woman she had known since childhood and admired as mentor and friend, who tragically died of dementia. In a horrible way. Walking lost along the train tracks near her home in Philadelphia. 

Last week I learned that Lynda died and so I found the anthology and reread her story. “She had gotten forgetful,” the writer who informed me of Lynda’s death said, “and I suggested she see a doctor. I don’t think she ever did.” That was months ago … before the Amazon packages piled up against her front door and concerned neighbors called the police. Apparently, they found her lying by the shower. Like many of us, Lynda was a woman living alone. It wasn’t train tracks that killed her, but  …. 

When I mentioned Lynda to a friend from church, she suggested loneliness. “Loneliness is killing people,” she said. Of course, we know loneliness isn’t limited to living alone. You can be in a relationship and be alone. Was it dementia or some other health-related illness that killed Lynda? Or the pandemic? Had she been so fearful of going out, she ordered everything in, which explained the Amazon packages?  Or, had one sip of wine too many, one too many lonely nights, resulted in a slip on the floor? No cell phone nearby. No partner to call to for help, allowing the peace, the surrender? 

A graduate of Girls High in Philadelphia, Lynda wrote with great love of growing up in “one of many Philadelphia neighborhoods”, Frankfort.  It was there she met her future mother-in-law “Mrs. B”, who became her friend and confidante.

“I remember one winter day , when I was twelve, taking leave from the rest of the sledding party to help Mrs. B with the cookies. I loved the smell of the baking sweets and the cocoa on the back burner of the stove, but I had an ulterior motive. I needed to talk about my stepfather.”

After she married her second husband, Lynda moved to Chester County, right around the corner from me in Chester Springs, which is how she ended up coming to the Women’s Writing Circle. But, like so much in life when time and circumstances intervene, we lost contact over the years. I remember the last time I saw her.  We ran into each other at Target. I think the death of an ailing, terminal husband she had coped with for years had left her resigned. Or, maybe relieved? I don’t remember much else of our conversation. 

An “experienced corporate citizen” as she described herself, with a doctorate in educational psychology, Lynda’s “Loving Life at Retired” on LinkedIn made me wonder. Did she miss the path forward? Had retirement failed to live up to its dream? Had the sound of a tinkling windchime in nighttime breeze lost its magic? Had the loss of memory come with sudden shock? I will never know. Like much of life, we selfishly apply a tragedy to ourselves, left only with speculation about our own path forward. Sometimes, I think I should move into a 55-plus community, for the company, the activities. Except that another woman I knew died alone in her 55-plus house. Like Lynda, Eileen was found sprawled on the floor. 

My writing colleague from the anthology had called to say that Lynda’s obit was being written. Could they mention she had been a part of the Women’s Writing Circle and had a story published in Slants of Light? It brought to mind another woman, Darlene, who died alone two years ago and wanted her obituary to reflect her participation in the Women’s Writing Circle. Another life, another death, another writer. Was this a sign? How many women who needed community had nowhere to turn? Although I thought I had closed that chapter, I’m left pondering … should I start the Circle again? Maybe, I need it as much as they. Time, as they say, will tell.

The Journey of Writing Your Story

A writer does many things to present a compelling story, but perhaps the most important is conveying her message, her take on the world. In that regard, almost every writer must dig deep into her spiritual resources, her soul, if you will. Who is she? What is the divine power behind her creative journey?

In The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity, Julia Cameron writes: “Life is what we make of it. Whether we conceive of an inner god force or another, outer God, doesn’t matter. Relying on that force does.”

Key to the artist’s journey is confronting doubts and naysayers. This comes in many forms and faces. It can be the punishing parent who warns that if you publish this story she will see you in court and thus ends what might have been a glorious book enjoyed by many; the agent/publisher who rejects your work because he or she wants a “marketable” book, the sort of trash you have no intention of writing. It can be the voice within you saying, what I write is no good. I have no talent. This self-sabotage is often the darkest of places because there’s no way out except through sheer force of will.

In my next novel, titled Ava’s Story: A Woman Alone, a woman seeks answers as she travels the road toward aging and transformation … the final chapter, so to speak. For some time, Ava felt the best years of her life ended when Jay died. They seemed the most promising, brimming with excitement and expectation, where anything was possible and the world her proverbial oyster. As Ava observes, female friends saved her in the long years after Jay’s death. So did family and a good dog. A professional writer and single mother, she explores relationships and emotional connections with men and women, learns the value of slowing down, and the transformational power of international travel and spiritual growth.

I worked hard on this book and hope eventually to publish it. I believe that Ava’s journey translates into an important and universal story of a woman’s life. This is where the dedication to the spiritual journey becomes more crucial, having faith that what I write is something of worth, that Ava’s journey is not just about her, but the human condition.

The promise of writing is an exciting creative quest that gives us new life and offers our readers a collaborative journey with us.

Fruits of Summer

Although I don’t live in the country, I live in what used to be country. The vestiges of farms and farm markets, produce stands and open fields abound within an easy drive. You might say I have the best of both worlds. Country at my fingertips and the city of Philadelphia a 40-minute drive away, two separate worlds merge as one.

A couple of miles up the road, a farm offers peaches picked that morning. These sweet, succulent gems are the essence of summer, a season of lazy days, reading by lengthened daylight, flowers abloom in kaleidoscopic color and rivers of white clouds and blue skies.

I was born in July and growing up most of my friends were away on vacation to the mountains or the shore. Birthdays were solitary affairs so I learned the value of a good book. While Dad mowed the lawn, I ran through the sprinkler in bathing suit. There was freedom, but loneliness too. The lesson learned was to look inward, not outward, for happiness.

This summer my sons travel through Spain. Intrepid explorers that they are, I give myself a little credit that this love of travel and experiencing new cultures derives from the summer two decades ago when I took us to Italy. It was there in the morning azure mists over the Mediterranean and the Assisi hillsides abloom with sunshine that Emerson’s credo “life is a journey, not a destination” resonated.

As a single mother, I reveled in summer travels with my sons. Summer felt like the most magical time of the year as we explored the road from Paris to the beaches of Normandy, the vistas overlooking the China Sea. As Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote: “A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.”

It saddens me that international travel was not to be this summer, at least for me. I spend this July babysitting ‘the girls.’ A German Shepherd and a ‘pithuahua’ (pit bull and chihuahua mix), my sons’ dogs Rin and Goose follow me everywhere. My dog Lily the Lab is the alpha dog. When she goes out, they follow. When she rests, so do they. They create their own ‘sisterhood.’

This birthday the friendship of women meant sharing our writing and life stories. They treated me to a lunch and dinner out. They wrote beautiful birthday cards, invited me to swim at their pool and picnic in their backyard, a pastoral haven of bird feeders and hummingbirds within reach. Being alone felt not alone. With them, I found our conversations shedding light on my own hopes and dreams for the future.  

And so, I remain watchful, an eye cast toward the distant horizon for new experiences, knowing that idleness does not mean being idle. My energy resides with the fruits of friendship, the memories of the road less traveled, time alone between country and city, and a succulent peach on a summer morning.

How about you? What summer memories can you share?