Swimming lessons are very different for my boys here in the south than they were for me as a child growing up in the north. I remember standing at the edge of the pool in Vermont shivering, my teeth clacking together, before I stepped-one foot at a time-into the freezing pool water. My boys plunge headfirst into the pool for their swim lessons in July and August in order to escape the cloudless, white, saran-wrap heat of the south.
I float alongside the lanes to watch, cheer and pretend I’m a mermaid mama. Water, whether it is lakes, oceans, rivers, ponds or the creek, has always soothed me so that when I emerge, I am renewed. Water seeps into my essay writing in the form of metaphors; I am “kicking to keep my head above the water,” or “drowning in the sea of my son’s worries” or, “my passion for books is steady and unchanging like the pull of the tide.”
My book-in-progress is called, “Dreaming About Water.” So, if water is as soothing for you as it is for me, go to the beach, or the lake or the river with your children, submerge yourself in water. You will all sleep better that night.
· I know I can use a few reminders on the proper breathing techniques and since swimming is an excellent workout (good for the whole body and the mind), why not take swimming lessons with your kids? Come home and write about your first swimming lesson and compare it to your child’s, how was it different or the same?
· Curl up on the beach while your children splash in a gully and read one of the following books for examples of water metaphors: The Sea by John Banville, Salt Water by Charles Simmons, or The Seas by Samantha Hunt. When you come home that night, read your children one of these wonderful water stories: Dear Fish by Chris Gall, The Fish Who Cried Wolf by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler or Flotsam by David Wiesner.
· Take a walk on the beach in the early evening, get the blood flowing to your brain, bring your kids and let them collect shells while you wander ahead or behind, seeking inspiration.
· Take surfing lessons, train for a triathlon, put your body in water and see what inspires you. Invent your own water metaphors.
Amy S. Mercer is a freelance writer living in Charleston, SC with her husband and two sons. Her writing has been published in skirt! Magazine, Literary Mama, Diabetes Forecast and A Cup of Comfort for Writers. Amy is Blog Editor for Literary Mama and Associate editor for The Writer Mama Zine. More at Dreaming About Water.