For reasons best left untold, the summer term was one I’ll never forget. July brought joy and the promise of a new beginning. Spring had started hopeful, with small steps forward in my journey as an artist. I rediscovered my love of drawing, with the help of a teacher a little too fond of tautology. “Use your cues and clues,” she said, on more than one occasion. Still, I learned about perspective and eye-line, Kandinsky and the spirituality in art. In June, I went away for a weekend with two of my friends, up into the Lake District. We walked up a hill, breathed the air, and laughed a lot—mostly at the words we used as teenagers. When we came down, I felt higher than I had in months. It didn’t last, and the stress from my job led to me seeking help in the form of CBT—something I never thought I’d need. The truth is I’d never felt so let down. I told myself: never again. Never again would I put myself in such a vulnerable position. But then it occurred to me that’s what we do, as teachers and humans, and that’s how we grow. Perhaps I was wrong. The weeks passed and life went on. Somebody famous died, and someone special returned. I found strength from the support of others and made some moves of my own. More CBT. Several trips to see an osteopath. On the day of my first appointment, when I had just twenty minutes to get there, I had to believe it was serendipity that kept the roads clear—that the gods were smiling down on me. The World Cup provided a welcome distraction and the heat caused cracks in the lawn. On the last day of term, the kids gave me cards with words that made me cry, and I knew that everything would be okay. The stars eventually aligned, as they always do, and the love I received on my birthday created a crest I rode for weeks. The heatwave continued, and I began to understand the impact of weather. Rain makes the world shrink. I resumed writing pages and read a lot. Devoured ‘zines and reviews. Listened to music, old and new, and lines lodged themselves in my brain, compelling me to write about my long-term relationship with song lyrics. Writing is therapeutic, but sometimes we end up going around in circles, so I penned some pieces on nostalgia and thought about “nurturing the apartness” (James Sallis) required of all artists. It felt for a time as if the summer would never end, but then autumn arrived, far too early, with August grey and cold. There was to be no dampening of spirits, however, and the difference in my demeanour was apparent, apparently. My therapist asked me what had changed. I said I wasn’t sure. I gave myself permission to be good, I guess. Yes, she nodded, and smiled. Now begins the hard work. It’s all on me.