Word by Word

Practical insights for writers from Jessica P Morrell


Written By: Jessica Morrell - Aug• 01•18

We’ve almost limped through another heat wave around here and it’s ending not a moment too soon. I’ve been living in Oregon since 1991 and the weather has profoundly changed in these past 27 years. I never imagined unrelenting sunshine could be so punishing. When I first arrived here I’d marvel at natives splashing around in the wet without umbrellas or rain gear, raving about the endless rainfall that fed our emerald landscape, and wondered if they were all mad. Now there is rain in the forecast for Friday and I’m practically giddy. Typically we get little or no rain in the summer, and it’s tinder-dry around here, forest fires are raging in the West, so any moisture is welcome.

August, named after Augustus, the first Roman emperor, always seems like the beginning of the end of summer, the school year beckoning. When I was a kid, the “dog days” named for the Dog Star, Sirius or the hottest, most humid days meant that although heat dazed, we were forbidden to swim in the local creeks and rivers because of algae blooms. So we just slumped around the house and yard, rode our bikes to the library. It was a good month for Popsicles and fat novels and running under the sprinkler. And while I’m no longer the Popsicle type, I’m ordering a few thick novels that will take me through the month.

Here is a link to information on Sirius, the Dog Star, the brightest star in the night sky.

As summer slips away, snatch spare minutes and hours for your writing. When autumn arrives you don’t want to feel as if  you’re starting over or struggle to regain your writing rhythms. Take your laptop to the park, the beach, the back yard. Look around, then really feel the ambience of the day. Perhaps slip some of the ease or tenor of the day into your writing.

Look ahead. August means another year is winding down so keep writing, keep dreaming, have heart.

PS Just for fun here is the link from the Oxford blog about the names of the months. I like their emphasis on Oxford being a living dictionary and, of course,  their mad love of language. Check out their thesaurus for synonyms for august as an adjective.

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