Monday, July 15, 2013
ROMANCE OF SUMMER
by April Emerson
“Summertime is always the best of what might be.” ― Charles Bowden
The seemingly endless days and steamy nights of summer are arguably the most romantic time of year, and nowhere else in the world is the zest of this season more intense than in The Big Apple. While a great many can’t stand the heat and sneak off to a nearby oasis, I adore each sensation this fleeting period of time brings with it. No place on earth is more inspiring to me as a writer than New York City at its scorching peak.
Though the impulse to get out and experience the buzz of summer is hard to resist, as authors, we’re also driven by the desire to sit down and unleash ideas that have been swimming through our heads out onto the blank page. With summer as our muse, we open a document and are inevitably transported to thoughts of years past. If you grew up in New York, you remember how this time of year once felt endless — magical — and brimming with innocent pastimes. Mr. Softee’s infectious jingle lulled us with its incessant loop as we stood in a line that was unbearable, impatiently anticipating the cool relief of ice cream we could almost taste. We experienced the magic of seeing our busy street completely devoid of traffic during a neighborhood block party. We relished the abandon of running through sprinklers at the playground and reveled in the flow from an open hydrant on impossibly hot days. These wonders cannot possibly be forgotten.
As we aged, innocence transformed into our first dreams of romance. We spent hours during adolescent summers summoning the courage to talk to a hot lifeguard at the beach. We shivered in the too cold air conditioning while at the movies, unable to concentrate on the film because our elbow was pressed against our date’s on the armrest. When the haze of the city was too much to bear, we rode the train to Coney Island and enjoyed the simple thrill of holding hands with a summer love on the Wonder Wheel. During random afternoon thunderstorms, the cool rain surprised us and landed with a hiss on the sizzling concrete as we ran with a shriek and sought temporary shelter.
Perhaps the summer’s temperatures were so oppressive that respite was sought in the suburbs of upstate New York. The country held its own opportunities for romance. We toasted s’mores over a campfire, our gaze glued to a crush who sat beside us. We exhaled a peaceful sigh while lying in a hammock at dusk and drove around in the evening with the windows down, playing the radio as loud as it would go. We giggled and skinny-dipped under the moon in a lake surrounded by a chorus of serenading cicadas and flashing fireflies.
Those days have passed us by and we quietly grieve the summer magic that’s been lost, but our sentimental memories can fuel our writing. When the calendar turns to July, I try to slow down and embrace these vibrant romantic visions of summers gone by. Allowing my memories to inspire me not only brings me joy, but fills me with the impulse to create new ones. It’s never too late to have a summer “romance,” even if you’re married and the kids are home from school and time to yourself is scarce. Or if work has you too distracted to notice that the best of days are upon you.
Summer passes too quickly now, but let’s resolve to have a love affair with this season once more. Sit on a rooftop with friends and soak up our skyline while sipping a refreshing mojito. Get back on that Mr. Softee line and enjoy a vanilla cone with rainbow sprinkles. Ride a bike to the park and walk barefoot in the grass. Or better yet, head to the most hallowed of summer destinations: the beach. Relax with a romance novel, feet buried in the cool sand amidst the glorious ocean breeze. Stare out into the waves and mentally outline your next novel. The wonders of summer are waiting to inspire us. Let’s savor every amazing moment.♥
April Emerson loves the perpetual crowds and energy of New York City. Her fondness for people watching inspires her work. She strives to tell sexy and romantic stories with exquisitely complex characters. When she isn’t writing, she loves listening to music or reading a good book with a glass of wine. Her debut novel THE RIGHTEOUS AND THE WICKED will be released in May 2014 from The Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing House.