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Duality of Summer

by Gillian Pribicko

As the summer heat rolls quickly into Wilmington, I’m caught in between dreams of beach days and ice cream. I feel the chill of air conditioning after being in the sun all day and the tingle of a sunburn blooming under my skin. There’s a carefree air surrounding me. I’m free from obligations like school, and I can finally relax.


The fact of the matter is summers are the time I use to catch up. I’m nearing the end of my time in the MFA program, which means writing an entire thesis—or as much as I can get done while I’m not taking classes—in the summer. When I’m not writing, I’m reading things like craft books and short story collections similar to my own ideas. And that’s only the things related to my writing.

Despite being free from classes, I also need to work. And I will move in the middle of the summer. I know I will be drenched in sweat from the humidity, my curly hair unmanageable despite how short I cut it. I try to start my packing process early, but it never seems to work out. My books (the ones I can bear to part with first) go in boxes. I wish I were ashamed of the way I keep my favorites out. My TBR shelf stays unpacked until the last minute. The ones relating to my thesis most likely won’t be packed at all.

This all can feel stressful when looking at it on paper. Frankly, it is all stressful. But I also understand that this is what I signed up for. This is what I crave. I want the time to be busy and running around, and I also want the quietude of an evening with a glass of wine and a notebook. The duality of the summer is refreshing in a way the school year can’t be because there isn’t always one more thing to do. As the semester ends, I’m more excited than stressed.

Of course, there will be ice cream, beach days, and iced coffees on my porch in the mornings. To me, the summer is a time of recuperating from the overwhelm of the school year. It is a time to allow my creative side to come out in full play and explore things I typically wouldn’t because I am so busy. I’ll seek inspiration in places like walking trails in my area and the beautiful grounds of Chautauqua. I’m going to go to two concerts of my favorite artists. I’ll go to art museums and theme parks and other cities I haven’t explored yet. While relaxing, I’m also seeking the inspiration to continue to write.

Image by Alex Perez on Unsplash

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