The Book I’d Like to Read

December 30 2013Some context: I flew to Milwaukee to surprise my brother Blaise for his 50th Birthday.  It was awesome.

The book I was reading is World Enough & Time: On Creativity and Slowing Down by Christian McEwan.  I cannot recommend this book enough.  As someone who thought they were beyond done with reading about creativity, I found this book so beautiful and nourishing to read.  I don’t think of it so much about creativity, but a meditation on the pace of life, using artists, writers, and poets as a lens.  It was a good reminder to focus on what matters to me most and how to be more present in life as a practice.  All this is true, AND it is clear to me that the author does not have children–which makes her assertions and some of her ideas often impractical for the frazzled parent (a.k.a me).  I actually tried getting up at 4:30 all last week inspired by her example of the writer (and father) William Styron to spend some time writing and drawing, but it turned out to be a hellish week of school delays among a work deadline.  My stress level was so high, due to the demands of work and home, that the early hours were eaten up in just trying to get work done.  Ah well–perhaps I will try it again in the spring, when weather is not such a factor, and I will lower my expectations (which is parenting 101).

3 thoughts on “The Book I’d Like to Read

  1. Aren’t you a little bit young to be slowing down, Summer? (ha!) McEwen was born in 1956 – and so was I – so 60 looms large in the distant horizon. But you’re absolutely right that people without children have no idea how days get eaten up by mundane chores, tantrums, homework, and unexpected illness; there’s no way you can write at 4:30 AM when you’ve been up since 2:30 AM with a child fussing from an earache. Still, I love these kind of books; I need someone to annoy me to look after myself.

  2. I was also painfully aware that she was childless (or that she had grown children), but more likely childless. The simple truth of parenthood that is hard to face is that your time is not your own. Even when I get time to myself lately I feel myself bracing for being back in the throes of it. It is very slow to sink into the work sometimes, to shake off that momma brain that is always focused on the kids. I am wondering if this will change when the kids are both in school.

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