Monday, August 10, 2015

It's a Whole New Year! :: Anne McAllister

My favorite "new year" growing up was probably when summer began and I had days of freedom to explore and read and pick strawberries and raspberries and go to the beach.  And every year, I looked forward to it eagerly.  

Even the summer chores didn't seem particularly onerous, though one of mine was to crawl along the brick edging of our yard and cut the grass that grew up alongside it after my dad had finished mowing.  

But I have to admit that I also had a soft spot for that other "new year" that came at the end of summer -- the ones that meant we were heading back to school.  I liked school.  But more than that, I liked paper. I liked pens. I liked notebooks. And erasers.  And pencils. And rulers.  You name it  -- if you could get it at a stationery store (or the local dime store -- do they still have dime stores?)  I was a fan.

And I've noticed that my grandkids are fans, too.  I got a picture the other day of a couple of feet in new shoes -- all set for school.  I heard about the new backpack one of the six year old's got, and the notebooks his sister is sporting this year.  I did my part and tracked down red polo shirts and blue polo shirts so, presumably, someone can tell the ten year old twins apart (but since they tend to wear the same color on the same day, I wonder at the wisdom of this).  

Even the college senior is excited to go back for one more year before he hits "the real world."  He just got home from summer baseball today, and tomorrow he's heading back to the house he shares with friends near campus, ready to find his books and pens and make sure he's got a back-up drive for his computer this year (hard-earned wisdom).

And I'm getting ready, too. Well, I've been getting ready all summer.  I'm working on a new set of books set in a mountain valley in Montana.  I prowled around it in the spring, making notes and conjuring up scenes. I took a ton of pictures and I'm stitching them into collages on the computer.  I have also prowled lots of "people" places looking for ones who "speak to me" and give me ideas as well.  

And I've been learning how to use Scrivener in case I get brave enough to switch from the Word Perfect software I've been moving along with for the past 30 years.  It appears that you can teach an old writer new tricks. But I'm not entirely sure I'll make the switch for good. I may work between the two.

But I'm glad I've done it. The energy that comes with learning something new is always a boost.  It makes the brain turn over. Sometimes it makes the words flow.  

And right now I need to get back at it or there won't be a story come October when there is supposed to be.  

What are you doing to get ready for the "new year?"  Do you like this time of year?  What's your favorite?


dstoutholcomb said...

I still have kids in school. My youngest got his shoes early because his feet are growing. And, he kept putting them back in the box to keep them nice. lol.

I love Autumn! My favorite season!


Kate Walker said...

I love this time of year - the whole 'new (school) year' feeling - and the perfect excuse to buy some brand new stationery - pens, notebooks . . and now my favourite stationery store has started issuing a loyalty card - with 15% off! - I'm even more tempted. But then I do have a new book to plan and ideas to scribble down so I need lovely pens and notebooks to work on that. (That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!) Looking forward to reading the books that will come out of your time and research in Montana.