Friday, March 03, 2006


When I was in my 20s and 30s, working nights as a waiter and bartender, I had yards of free time during the day. My mornings began with a cup of coffee and a stack of books beside my rocking chair. I read for hours, working my way through the pile which consisted of poetry, fiction, criticism, history, politics, art, literary zines, philosophy and more. There was no order to my reading, one author led me to five that I wanted to explore. Later in the morning I'd listen to music: rock, jazz, folk, blues, classical, country. Again, every composer or band led to the discovery of others I hadn't heard of. I regularly bought books and albums five or six at a time, ever on the lookout for something new. Days off Molly and I frequented museums, galleries, movie theaters, and attended plays, dance performances, rock and jazz shows at area clubs.

Then came parenting. Over the last decade my free time has slowly been eaten away by the responsibilities of raising two children. Meals, laundry, grocery shopping, doctor and dentist appointments, homework, after school activities, play dates.... These days I read one book at at time, maybe two. A book I might have read in two days now takes two weeks. My music listening is down to putting a disc on while house-cleaning a few days per week. I get out to see a rock or jazz show maybe every two months. Further, I no longer have time to be on the lookout for the new writers and musicians. I rely on tips from friends--and more often than not--there are large gaps in time before a recommended cd or book gets a listen or read. I'm thankful for the tips. And have no regrets about parenting at this point in my life. Thankfully I have the energy and take time, though limited, to sneak down to my office and make magic with the language. I'm grateful that in the past I was able to eat my fill. I know what I am missing. I also know what I would have missed without my two daughters. Wouldn't change a thing.


At 4:30 PM, Blogger Paul Hotvedt said...

one day, perhaps on another planet, people will raise children in order to make art. I'm not waiting up nights for this though.


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