Summer for me is sticky, mosquito-bitten, sleepless nights; days of sun-dodging and fan adjusting. Sirens and building alarms punctuate the days and nights, reminding me that I’m in a big city. The herbs I re-potted and set out on the balcony in May have overgrown and wilted from heat and neglect. Summer is not my favorite season.
Friends greet me with, “Sono sudata,” (I’m all sweaty) and do an air kiss version of the kiss on both cheeks. Many friends have simply fled the city for their preferred beach location.
I probably should, too, though not to the beach. In addition to the physical suffering of summer, Italy’s beaches are now crowded and have other sufferings to add: sunburn, sand that gets into everything, and that itch of salt dried onto the skin after a swim, which requires another shower.
I remember being a little girl, no more than five years old, looking out on the Texas prairie. The sight inspired one thought in me: “I’ve gotta get outta here!” The first time I saw a mountain, I was in love. I could imagine myself singing and spinning on the mountain like Julie Andrews.
These days I dream of a cool mountain getaway with Switzerland just a tantalizing hour away. At the same time, the combination of heat and lack of sleep have drained all the energy to look for a place. So I sit listlessly scrolling Facebook, asserting my right to complain about the heat since, unlike most of my fellow Americans, I don’t have air conditioning.
Two things have arisen to save summer for me: the visit of my son, Tim, and spending my time editing my new book. In my last post I wrote about the pleasure of having Tim here (see Talk Italy!). So today I want to focus on the pleasure of editing. It is a process that I really enjoy. The editing process appeals to the logical, orderly right side of my brain, and I don’t mind editing for others, either. Honestly, there is an element of OCD there for me.
Editing also requires me to re-visit things I wrote about months ago. I love re-living those moments with all the humor and fun of the original. It’s like looking through a photo album, only better because each memory is lovingly re-touched. There’s nobody to point out the photoshopping because it more or less matches how others remember the event. Each time the memory is re-told, new embellishments add shine to the event. Old embellishments are tweaked and the event becomes more beautiful in memory than it probably was in the first place. Truth remains true, and God’s presence is the central truth of all the beautiful, fun, amazing, and wonderful things that happen in my life. My sunny point of view holds all the rest of the details in the best light possible. That is the art of writing autobiographical non-fiction, or as I prefer to think of it: my life after God’s total life makeover. God is good!
 OCD stands for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, defined by Psychology Today as: “. . . an anxiety disorder in which people have unwanted and repeated thoughts, feelings, ideas, sensations (obsessions), or behaviors that make them feel driven to do something (compulsions).Often the person carries out the behaviors to get rid of the obsessive thoughts, but this only provides temporary relief. Not performing the obsessive rituals can cause great anxiety. A person’s level of OCD can be anywhere from mild to severe, but if severe and left untreated, it can destroy a person’s capacity to function at work, at school or even to lead a comfortable existence in the home.” https://www.psychologytoday.com/conditions/obsessive-compulsive-disorder
Clearly, I don’t have full-blown OCD, but to one extent or another, many of us do feel a need to put things into some kind of logical order. For me, that need most often arises with writing.