Hot time, summer in the city

After weeks of waffling between cold rains and random warm days, it seems like summer is pretty much officially here in DC. We’ve had a stretch of days with temperatures into the 80s, humidity first thing in the morning, and hot breezes into the late evening. Here we go!

Summers hold some of the best memories for people everywhere, whether you get them off, or slog through them with some breaks in between. Summers are chock full of things to do and memories to be made. Here are a few of my favorite summer moments from over the years…what are some of yours?

  • Summers in Louisiana: Hot boiled crawfish spilled all over newspapers on the picnic table, and a spearmint snowball in my hand to cool off. Boat rides down the Blind River and jumping in the swamp until I realized that I could die from an alligator or snake bite. Riding my bike into the sugar cane fields with my cousin and then getting an iced treat (pushpop, popsicle or fudgepop) from MaMa’s freezer. Trips to Blue Bayou waterpark.
  • Vacations with my parents: Europe in 1996, a Carribbean cruise in 2001, Wrigley Field in 2003.
  • Adoption Day: July 3, 2001 (10 years this summer!)
  • College summers: News internships in Cincinnati, Springfield, and Columbus, Ohio. Rascal Flatts and James Taylor concerts.
  • DC summers: More concerts. Jazz in the park. Colonial Williamsburg. Tiger Woods. Wedding back at my alma mater. Wrigley Field. Two moves. Fireworks. Baseball. Breakup. New friends.

Old papers from almost another life

Today I suddenly decided to do some cleaning out of files and papers in my apartment. Aside from throwing out old receipts and random stuff I didn’t need anymore, I came across multiple folders of newspaper clips I had written from college for The Miami Student and my various internships. Everytime I do a cleaning or move, I come across these stacks of clips, that include the original clippings, about a billion photocopies, and old recommendation letters from editors and professors. And every time, I throw out some of the extra copies, and then put everything back. I don’t even have a proper filing system or nice scrapbook for the clippings, which I really need, but I don’t want to throw anything out either (and yes, I do have all of them scanned in as PDFs).

Although I was only writing those pieces about 3-4 years ago, it seems like a lifetime ago. I’ve been out of college for more than two years, but it seems like it was in another decade. It seems like another lifetime when I got a call in the middle of dinner with a friend and ran out of the restaurant with a half-eaten burger to cover a fire in Springfield, Ohio. It seems like a different person wrote the package about sexual assault on Miami’s campus, or the piece about male babysitters that was picked up by MSNBC’s The Most. Getting a cover story on Cincy Business magazine when it was in its inaugural issues almost feels like a dream.

Despite all of that, if I take an extra minute to think back, I can remember getting assigned each and every article. I can remember my interviews, my first drafts, and first seeing my name in print. I remember carefully cutting out each article, spending hours scanning them into the computer in the basement at home, putting together portfolio after portfolio to send out for another internship, and later, jobs in DC.

Now, the clips seem so small and innocent with a few years gone by. As the writing I do now is so different, it’s hard to compare. But I do try in everything that I write to maintain that sense of curiosity, the urge to find the answers, to tell someone’s story. More importantly, I can look back on all of those clips once a year or so and remember my journey – all part of being a writer, someone I’ve wanted to be as long as my memory goes back.

You can view a few of my old clips here.