What I did on my Summer Vacation

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With Sara, one of my students, atop Pilatus, in Switzerland.

Every summer has its own character. For most of us, the signature of the season was the oppressive heat. While we were spared in comparison with the West, it was certainly hot enough, thank you.

I normally pack a summer with lots and lots of writing and a trip or two. This summer was no different, although the percentage allotted to both was somewhat altered.

Shortly after the school year ended, I chaperoned a school trip to Germany, with stops in Austria, France, and Switzerland. It was a remarkable experience, and I am very glad I got to go and see all the sights.

We’ve repainted since this was taken, but it remains my Sanctum Sanctorum.

As soon as I returned, as June was turning into July, I got to work on the third and final novel in the Above the Ground trilogy. I fleshed out the chapter by chapter outline and dove in to write. As regular readers know, I completed the first draft after 20 furious sessions at the keyboard but wasn’t happy.

After letting it rest for a week, I got back to it and was relieved to see it wasn’t as poor as I thought it was. Still, I knew there were things that needed fleshing out and characters to enliven. On Thursday, I completed that second draft and sent it to co-writer Matt Medney. I wish there were time for a third draft, but thankfully there’s someone else to take it to the finish line.

During that week off, I managed to research and write all the text pieces needed for Urban Comics’ forthcoming Batman Chronicles 1989 Vol. 2 and Vol. 3. I banged out an essay for a forthcoming anthology. I also wrote my contribution to Crazy 8 Press’ Grandma Got Kidnapped by Aliens, which failed as a Kickstarter, but we all believe in it and hope the book still happens in some way shape or form. The story was fun, using a suggestion from Deb and vetted by my friends Michael and Nomi Burstein.

Deb and I spent a quick weekend with friends, but that was it for vacation. The rest of our off time was local, catching just about all the blockbuster movies of the season or enjoying various streaming series. We did cut the cord and dumped cable this summer, figuring the few network shows we liked were available elsewhere.

I also had previously written work hit print, and both books look pretty cool.

I didn’t read as much as I had hoped, letting other matters interfere. But I did manage to read 12 novels (six print, four digital, two audio) and 23 graphic novels along with comics and magazines.

Of course, there was the wonderful Shore Leave convention, which was a blast, as always.

As we hit the mid-month of August mark, my mind increasingly turned to school. Sas a result, I geared up for my new role at MICA while preparing the first few weeks of lessons for my students. Today, I am in the classroom, putting it in order and readying to officially report for the 2023-24 academic year tomorrow morning.

Looking back, it’s been another full summer, largely a satisfying one. I am given to wonder if this is what retirement will likely be doing all of this activity year-round.

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