Friday, September 7, 2012

September Redux

by Sheila Connolly

In the past few years I've become addicted to my Google calendar.  I don't know how I survived before I discovered it (well, actually I do:  I used to buy yearly calendar books, Month at a Glance), but now the electronic one is front and center in my daily life.  And I do mean front:  I print out a monthly version and tack it on the corkboard literally at eye level in front of me.  When it changes, which it does with alarming frequency, it's easy to print out the updated version. I can also keep an electronic archival copy. And, miracle of miracles, I even found a way to put the app for it on my smart phone!

September's calendar looks like spaghetti (I like to print activities and appointments in red).  I'll confess that I've always felt like the year begins in September.  It's a holdover from the days when school started in September, and I guess that I liked school.  There's also a physical response to cooler temperatures after a long hot summer. More energy! I'm guessing that a lot of other people feel the same way, which is why the September calendar is so full.

But this year it's become ridiculous.  Of course there are fairs—the 4-H fair this past weekend; the town-owned organic farm's annual harvest fair, where there is actually an apple-pie competition (and I also love the place because I borrowed their barn for the Orchard Mysteries—and their goats); the Brimfield Antiques Fair, arguably the largest in the world, and a never-ending source of entertainment, and, yes, I buy stuff, even though I'm terrible at haggling.

For some reason, September this year is also filled with book-related events—there's a great crop of new books out.  I've penciled in launch parties for new books by several friends, at different locations.  I've been asked to give a talk at a long-established private club in Philadelphia, about my Museum Mysteries.  Since one of their former speakers was Bram Stoker, I figure I'm in good company.  My local Sisters in Crime chapter has arranged for a tour of the Mark Twain House in Hartford CT, one of the things on my bucket list. And I might include the mystery conference Bouchercon, which falls in the first weekend in October this year, so a bit of September is taken up with planning for that.

The Daughters of the American Revolution events crank up again as well.  The fall state conference takes up one weekend.  I'm a member, and since most of my books feature genealogy in one way or another, I definitely need to be there (in fact, something I learned of at the last state meeting provided the starting point for the book I'm working on now—you never know where you'll find inspiration).

And there are all the ongoing tasks associated with writing and publishing:  blogs, newsletters, updating the website, miscellaneous promotion.  Oh, and writing a book, which is due October 1 (and I don't even have a title for it).  I have a draft, but that's not the same as finished, or even ready to show my editor.  But, fittingly, the next Orchard mysteries are both due to the editor in the fall, and will be released in the fall.  That feels right.

I suppose there are people who feel that September holds the first hints that the year is dying—shorter days, cooler nights.  But if it's the last blaze of glory for the year, it's worth it, and we try to cram in as much stuff as possible.

The first autumn leaf in my garden



Elizabeth Zelvin said...

"September Redux"
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Blogger Elizabeth Zelvin said...

"Blaze of glory" sparked a memory for me of the most beautiful September I ever experienced. It was 1964, and I had joined the Peace Corps. We'd spent the summer on an American college campus practicing our French, and as the final stage of our training, we spent the whole month of September in Quebec. The maple leaf is not Canada's symbol for no reason: the abundant maple trees were truly a blaze of glory under bright blue skies in crisp autumn air. And guess what? No fall poignancy of a dying year. At the end of the month, we were bound for West Africa. No winter to follow for us that year!

Sandra Parshall said...

The temperature is in the 90s today where I am. Autumn may well be cool and crisp... if it ever arrives.

We have three maple trees of different species. The black maple in the back yard doesn't provide much color. The leaves turn brown and fall off, starting near the end of September. The little Japanese maple in the back yard is a gorgeous red in both fall and spring, and produces bright red seed pods. The Norway maple in the front yard (which is literally falling apart, one big branch at a time) stays green until November, then the leaves turn bright yellow before dropping. We're out there raking up leaves into December. Our next door neighbor has some other sort of maple that turns orange.