Monday, August 24, 2009

Dog Days of Summer

Even the most casual observer has probably noticed that our beloved and sadly truncated summer  is already on the wane - everything is just that much limper, dustier, and a whole lot sluggishier. 

As the cicadas whine relentlessly outside - and inside - my head, I find myself fully, physically inhabited by nature's invisible but palpable preparations for the Great Dying Off. The Cutting Back. 

Every living, beautiful thing that helps make summer the seductive season it is will soon be shedding, drying, dying - cutting itself back to the branches. The stem. The soil. The root. 

Like the natural world around me, I'm also preparing for a very drastic but necessary pruning. I know this - not just because I am also a little limp, a little dusty, and quite a lot sluggish - but because, like the natural world around me, I too am quietly preparing to kill my darlings.

After all, that is how nature - and writers for that matter - get back to the essence of whatever it is that had once been planted. Only by clearing away all the pretty stuff - all the frill and the fruit and the foliage - is it possible to return to the skeleton, the basic bare bones of original intention. The whole reason we both wanted to tell our stories in the first place. 

So in keeping with the very natural cycle of birth, growth, death and regeneration, I am now steeling myself to commit very necessary darlingicide.