by Park Theatre

I admit it.  I was the kid whose heart leapt at the words BACK TO SCHOOL in the shop windows.  The heady smell of new stationery, the piles of freshly-pressed uniform re-emerging from the wardrobe, the dusting off of the satchel after the endless days of summer filled me with a fizz of anticipation.

As an adult, BACK TO SCHOOL lost its meaning for a while, and one month followed another pretty ploddingly as I completely lost track of when kids were and were not at their desks.

Now, with kids of my own, my years have reacquired the seasonal rhythms of autumn, spring and summer terms.  When I first started writing, this was a source of huge frustration.  I would just be starting on something when bang - end of term would smack me in the face and my focus would be lost for weeks on end.  Just like the maddeningly short school day, terms seemed to exist solely to stop me getting into my stride.

But now I'm getting used to the on-off-on-off nature of the school year.  I treat 'end of term' as a deadline for whatever I'm working on at the time, and use any time I do get in the holidays mainly for research and reading.  I write whenever I can, of course, but I've given up hope of any serious progress till September comes.  And as it approaches, that familiar feeling of anticipation is with me again.  I have no pencils to sharpen, no satchel to pack, but it's good to have had a pause and to approach the new term with a fresh sense of energy and commitment.  Autumn term, here we come.

Photograph by Jamil Soni Neto

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