Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Gift of Time

            When two writers live together, there is no spare time—there is only writing time.
            With a family in the mix, writing time is something only one person can do at a time. Let’s face it—someone has to help with homework and make a blanket fort and cook the meals and fold the laundry, all the daily stuff that ends up in the writing, and someone else gets to write, in those times when the other tasks can be handled by only one person.
            Sometimes it’s all hands on deck, of course, when it comes to the chaos of the household, and then no one gets to write. And then there are days when paper-grading and other professional tasks get in the way, and the needs of students and colleagues must come first. There are even days when it all has to happen at once—everyone has work to do, the house is on fire, the kids are naked—and then you juggle the best you can, making use of spots of time here and there.
            On calmer days, the writers in the home might get together and express their needs and desires. We might bend over backwards to give time to each other—that’s how we think of it, “giving time,” as if hours were valentines. And it’s a loving gesture, giving time—it’s more precious than money, to a writer, and more rare, and the lack of it is just as likely to cause stress and strain.
            It’s possible to go overboard with the divvying up of time, so that every spare minute is claimed for writing and those other tasks we do to clear the decks for writing to come later. Then the writers in the home run the risk of never spending time together at all—just scribbling or babysitting until one or the other joins the snoring partner in bed.
            When we have limited funds, we stretch our dollars with sandwiches for lunch and leftovers for dinner. We make do with the clothes in the closet; we entertain ourselves at home.
            With limited time, we write short pieces—poems or flash fiction. We think and plan while we scrub dishes so that we can use every moment that is gifted to us.

            Whatever it is we lack, money or time, we tighten our belts and do the best we can to share what little we have.

No comments:

Post a Comment