Annie Dillard wrote, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” On the first of each month, Catching Days hosts a guest writer in the series, “How We Spend Our Days.”
Today, please welcome writer CAITLIN HAMILTON SUMMIE.
What surprises me is how much remains the same in these homebound days, but my day begins with change.
Here is what has changed.
I have a new morning routine. I stretch when I wake up, before I even rise. Then I spend a few moments remembering the wonderful, happy parts of the day before. From small to large happinesses, I list them all. Then I throw open the curtains to the sunlight. I’ve come to love that first glimpse of morning. Next I read a short devotion, and then I begin a walking meditation. It’s short, three minutes, but I always gravitate toward the beams of sunlight on the floor and the best, softest squishy parts that remain in our rather old carpet. I finish by drinking some cold water.
Here is what remains the same.
Next I go downstairs, grab coffee or tea, and go to work. I work in an office that is shared by anyone in the family and includes a table and sewing machine. The walls are covered by my family’s artwork—mother, father, children. I work hard—pounding the keyboard all day. I am a book publicist, and we are rebuilding aspects of campaigns lost to COVID and creating new campaigns for forthcoming titles.
My children are the musical score filling every day. Having them home from school is like every weekday afternoon, every past summer, or the old preschool days. But now, of course, they can help cook or vacuum. Their efforts aren’t new, only expanded.
Now we play more games together, but we have always enjoyed Family Game Night.
The view of my back yard is still a tonic, full of trees and birds, and somewhere a rather large groundhog, a pregnant fox, and even a huge skunk.
Here is what will last.
Knowing we can make it together in a small house without going anywhere for weeks. My new morning routine, which I will continue when the world re-opens and before racing to get kids’ school days started, whenever school starts again. Hope. Hope will last.
Here is what I will remember.
Specific family moments. Tonight, we have something that separates this day from others: my family gathers to watch the NFL draft. We are an SEC family so football defines our fall as much as the holidays. We sit in a row, and we wait. I have mixed feelings about football because of possible injuries. A game I once enjoyed now gives me pause. It can be hard to watch. But tonight is about these young men meeting their goals, at last. It is about a community gathering toward a possible future. It is about fundraising for charities fighting coronavirus. So we sit in a row, my daughter occasionally lost in her iPad instead, and we wait. We wait to hear specific names, of men from the Tennessee Vols, who have worked for years for this evening, this chance. We cross our fingers for their dreams.
THOSE SAME 3 QUESTIONS…
1. What is the best book you’ve read in the last few months and how did you choose it?
- In the last three months, I read The Secret Life of Bees. I loved its heart and poetic prose.
2. Would you give us one little piece of writing advice?
- My advice to writers is always the same. Sit down, and do it.
3. What is your strangest habit or obsession?
- My strangest habit is that I like to eat potato chips when I have a glass of wine. Nothing fancy here, just pass the bag of plain O’Lay’s!
This is a wonderful book of stories.
Thank you, Cal! I am so touched that you think so! I care a lot about my characters, and it always means a lot to me when their stories resonate for others. Thanks for taking time out of your day to let me know.