Question of the Month: Summer Rush

by Susan Henderson on July 2, 2012

What kinds of plans do you have for the summer?

Last summer in Tanzania with my then-9th-grader.

Our summer has only just begun. For those of you who are my friends on FaceBook, you know that my 10th grader is going to skip his junior year and graduate early. This was a decision we made with strong recommendations for it from his school, but what it also meant was cramming all of the things that are normally spread out over the junior year into one month. His ACT and SAT II Subject Tests were right on top of his finals and AP exams, giving him less than two weeks to study for them. After school let out, we visited his top college choices. All of this—tests and tours—went amazingly well; it’s just that we weren’t prepared. We were thinking it was almost summer and about sleeping in and about what we wanted to do with our downtime.

So now we are finally getting around to summer—still busy, but all things of our own choosing. The boys (including my husband) are playing more music, and soon, my oldest (Can I still call him my 10th grader a little while longer?) is going on tour with the School of Rock AllStars. I’m psyched to be chaperoning this year! All the proceeds go to the Love Hope Strength organization, a cool group of musicians and cancer survivors who have a goal of building the bone marrow donor list. Click the AllStars link if you’re interested in catching one of the shows!

So I was busy in June, too. I wrote, of course, and my brother visited (so much fun!), I gave a reading at the Syosset Library, and I finished the first draft of my new book! Next week I’m off to Squaw Valley, California to do a reading, and then I’m on that tour bus with twenty teenagers.


Some thank you’s this month to Bermuda Onion for the kind review of the audio version of my book, and to The Five Borough Book Review who didn’t like my book but I like the reviewing style all the same… so why not plug her blog?


Hope all of you are spending time doing what you love. Here’s to summer, sprinklers, growing tomatoes, lawn concerts, and meals outside by the grill!

I’m going to close with a video of my boys (on keys and guitar) with their two best friends (also brothers) practicing a Frank Zappa song. They’re growing up!

And one more: the boys performing The Who with their School of Rock (my guys are again on keys and guitar):

{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

bermudaonion (Kathy) July 2, 2012 at 12:15 am

I thought Up From the Blue was wonderful and appreciate the link to my review. I wish your son the best of luck!!


Susan Henderson July 2, 2012 at 2:35 am

So glad to have you here, Kathy! And thank you so much for your review.


Elizabeth Crane July 2, 2012 at 2:50 am

I’m just packing and moving closer to you!


Susan Henderson July 2, 2012 at 2:52 am



Nathalie (@spacedlaw) July 2, 2012 at 5:35 am

No plans. My husband can’t afford to travel and refuses my supporting him in this aspect of his life too, so either I need to go off on my own (which I do but only for short durations, as I miss him) or stay around. No worries. There is plenty of things to see and do in Rome.

Your kids rock.


Susan Henderson July 2, 2012 at 10:55 am

Tell me about an evening in Rome… on a normal day and on a special day.


Nathalie (@spacedlaw) July 3, 2012 at 2:30 pm

My evenings in Rome are out in the suburb. Officially it is still Rome but we are about 25 km away from the centre…
For the same reason that we can’t go on holiday, we don’t go out much either. Besides, the Love pretends he eats better at home.


Susan Henderson July 5, 2012 at 12:52 am

Some day I’m going to visit Rome and its suburbs!


Jessica Keener July 2, 2012 at 11:22 am

So much good family news, Sue. Please thank your kids for pairing their musical gifts with a lifesaving cause that’s meant the world to me–helping people who need bone marrow transplants find matches. And, congratulations to you for completing a full draft of your new novel! The world awaits. Can’t wait to hear how your chaperoning gig goes. Will you be knitting? (kidding). My son goes on tour in a few days. Happy summer!


Susan Henderson July 2, 2012 at 11:35 am

I’m so excited about the good that can come from this tour and have thought about you a lot. Looking forward to hearing stories and seeing photos of your son and his trumpet!


billie hinton July 2, 2012 at 1:02 pm

In June one of my sandplay mentors came to do a very small and private workshop with me and 3 of my friends/colleagues. I knew it would be wonderful but it ended up being transformational. He used David Whyte’s poem Coleman’s Bed as a touchstone for us through the weekend, and I started and ended our time together feeling like these three lines were singing to me:

Make a nesting now, a place to which the birds can come

apprentice yourself to yourself

stay in this place until the current of the story is strong enough to float you out

I had no big plans for the rest of the summer, and these lines seem to support me being here on the farm, keeping an old mare comfortable and the horses cool, and enjoying regular things like a son getting ready for a two-week trip in the fall, a daughter getting ready to take driver’s ed, and making meals out of the huge bounty of this year’s garden.

I’m splurging on things like this: I opened the front door a night or so ago and saw Keats the black cat watching two fawns cavort around her and Dickens the tuxedo cowboy cat drag a squirrel beneath the front yard tree and set in to his evening meal as the heat backed off just a little – and instead of doing the other things I’d planned to do I went and got Isak Dinesen’s Out of Africa and started re-reading it.

I’ve been finding stone implements on our property that I’m guessing were made by an Indian tribe that lived in these parts, and in an interesting way finding them right now is so perfect – I feel like I’m excavating and uncovering. On one hand, and on the other, my days are filled with various stages of composting – making new piles, turning halfway done piles, and spreading the piles that are ready. You should see the back field after most of it has been fed with compost made from the horses’ manure and fallen leaves and weeds I pulled up. It amazes me how perfect a cycle this becomes with just a little bit of work.

Huge congratulations and a big hooray for your completed first draft!! I love that you finished it in time to set out with your boys on their tour and noted that you’ll be in NC later this month – I was hoping it might be very close by but it’s not… looking forward to your stories from this tour, and hopefully some photos!


Susan Henderson July 5, 2012 at 12:55 am

Love those rare transformational moments! And I love stepping into your world through your posts here and over at your blog. It’s like poetry come to life.

(I hope everybody hear reads Billie’s post. It really is like a shot in the arm, connecting you both to the now and to words.)


Despina Yeargin September 18, 2012 at 10:25 pm

So glad I came to play (though a bit late). You’re right, Susan, Billie’s post is lovely. It’s as beautiful as the first part of Fall. Thoroughly enjoyed reading.


Susan Henderson September 19, 2012 at 11:34 am



Billy Bones July 2, 2012 at 1:50 pm

Mr. Lincoln will be fussing about the days getting shorter. Other than that and the extra heat, life will remain pretty much the same.


Susan Henderson July 5, 2012 at 12:56 am



Billy Bones July 5, 2012 at 9:39 pm

He also managed to get a new book up on iTunes in record time, so he’s smiling, too.


Susan Henderson July 6, 2012 at 11:13 am

Happy! Link, please.


Billy Bones July 6, 2012 at 12:28 pm
Juliet deWal July 2, 2012 at 3:31 pm

I am always so encouraged to read about what your family is doing, Susan. You’ve raised incredible young men, and I think it’s remarkable how they not only embrace their own lives, but spread their goodness and strength with others.
Thank YOU for sharing them with us!

I also appreciate your link to not only the good reviews, but those that aren’t as positive.

My summer will be all about mixing up life with the Man I Love and our three teen men, the farm and the city house as well as marketing my book while writing the third. It’s a balance I’m still working at perfecting.

But the weather is gorgeous, everything is growing—inside and out—and the world is beautiful.



Susan Henderson July 2, 2012 at 5:58 pm

They’re good little boys. Not so little anymore, I guess, though somewhere in my mind, they are forever the two in pull-ups sitting in cardboard box and pretending to drive it.

Your life is like a great movie to me… love how there’s always a touch of old with a touch of new, something daring right beside something traditional. I am absolutely loving your book! Will have much more to say soon. <3


Juliet deWal July 3, 2012 at 2:23 pm

The not-so-little is always a bit bittersweet. Man voices and muscles and… big. Sigh.

I’m so glad you’re liking it. Your opinion is high up on my list of worth. 🙂


Susan Henderson July 5, 2012 at 12:57 am

Sitting here with fireworks going off and four scared animals panting and whimpering and each trying to be the closest to me. Also, about to open your book again…


Ric Marion July 4, 2012 at 6:10 pm

Summer? Might that have something to do with the 97 degree temp today?
A quiet summer planned, little things close to home, family in early June for a graduation, special cousins come through Mid-Summers Day – we threw a party in the back yard, Friday to the Henry Ford to see the Titanic Exhibit, hoping to get to Grand Rapids on an overnight to see Meijer Gardens and a Frank Lloyd Wright house still on my list to see.
And, somewhere in all that finish the first draft of my latest WIP.

Sounds like you have a busy summer planned, take time to stop and smell the roses.



Susan Henderson July 5, 2012 at 12:59 am

Ric! So glad to hear from you! Your summer sounds pretty perfect, easy-paced and rejuvenating. I am definitely stopping to smell the roses, and thanks for the reminder.


Susan Henderson July 6, 2012 at 2:54 pm

My thread with Billy Bones ran out of room, so I’m re-linking his latest iTunes audio book here:

So happy about this and I’m downloading it now!


Billy Bones July 6, 2012 at 2:57 pm

Thank you, so much!


Carolyn Burns Bass July 7, 2012 at 2:21 pm

Back when we lived in California we vacationed in North Carolina every year to visit my husby’s parents. Now that we live in North Carolina, I’m hankering for a California vacation. Although North Carolina is a coastal state, we live more than three hours away from a beach. I am having sea air and sand in the toes withdrawal.


Susan Henderson July 7, 2012 at 3:27 pm

I know what you mean about missing something that feels integral to who you are or the memories you have. I crave forests and creeks so much that if I’m without them for too long, I honestly bend over feeling empty inside. And when I’m walking along a creek and the sky is completely blocked by trees, I just feel safe and right… and home. Oddly enough, I live 5 minutes from the beach, and you can’t pay me to go there. In ten years, I’ve gone twice, both times under duress, and I was a poor sport about it the whole time.


Cathrine August 17, 2012 at 8:37 pm

🙂 stopping by to leave you some love here 🙂

I deactivated my facebook for a while
so replying here instead 😉 …. the book “Await your reply” by Dan Chaon called to me before I got to Tinkers (it is up next) and I am really enjoying it 🙂

thank you for kind words and bday wishes 🙂
my 3 made sure it was a really lovely day 🙂 with song, coffee, juice, song and gives in bed 🙂 and a day of R and R and sunshine 🙂

have a colorful, beautiful autumn
much love from Cathrine in Norway.


Susan Henderson August 17, 2012 at 10:49 pm

I’m reading AWAIT YOUR REPLY right now, too! Absolutely love it… getting to a very creepy twist in the plot. So glad you had a lovely birthday and that you’re well and unplugged. Just don’t stay away too long! 🙂


Cathrine August 20, 2012 at 9:48 am

lol too funny 🙂
that we were drawn to it at the same time 🙂
big hug


Susan Henderson August 23, 2012 at 1:16 pm

Finished Chaon’s book yesterday and now reading Dickens’ Great Expectations.


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