Outside the leaves on the trees constricted slightly; they were the deep done green of the beginning of autumn. It was a Sunday in September. There would only be four. The clouds were high and the swallows would be here for another month or so before they left for the south before they returned again next summer.
― Ali Smith, The Whole Story and Other Stories
Perhaps because I’ve spent most of my life in the academic world, September has always been a significant month for me. It seems to have more of a sense of new beginnings than the overrated ‘newness’ of January. The dog-days of summer are largely over, and it’s time to think about starting something new, whether that is a new school, class, hobby, project. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why I’ve always loved C Day Lewis’s poem ‘Walking Away’ with the wonderfully evocative lines:
… A sunny day with leaves just turning,
The touch-lines new-ruled …
which captures perfectly that feeling of change and newness – exciting but edgy.
September has always felt like a time of creative energy, with new ideas bubbling to the surface, which is why I was interested to read Rose Tremain’s words in Saturday’s Guardian: Most writers experience what I call the ‘September paradox: just when the weather is warning of the dying season to come, the creative mind (probably refreshed by a hot foreign holiday, or a breezy one on the north Norfolk shore) discovers that an internal springtime has arrived and new ideas are popping up all over the place.
Such thoughts seem particularly significant for me in September 2016 as I’ve recently been diagnosed with myeloma and must soon undertake an intensive treatment regime – not the sort of new beginning I’m looking for! I’ve thought a lot about whether I should post this ‘news’, as I don’t normally share really personal stuff, and it’s a blog about writing, not illness. But I don’t know how often I’ll feel like writing once I start the treatment – which won’t be for several weeks yet – and I don’t want everyone to forget me! Besides, I’m a writer, and what do writers do about things that happen? They WRITE about them.