Post by Jenny
Please excuse the shortness of today’s post. My laptop died, and I’m writing this on an ancient desktop with a monitor that’s so blurry, it belongs in a dream sequence. This computer situation is a natural conclusion, I suppose, to a summer in which I got very little writing done. Part of it was by circumstance, and part of it was by choice.
My sons, you see, are 16 and 14, and as the prospect of them leaving the nest looms ever larger, I grow more possessive of my time with them. Because they are teenagers, that time often comes on their terms instead of mine. (I’m embarrassed to admit how many episodes of American Ninja Warrior I’ve seen this summer.)
Neglecting my writing, even in favor of my kids, makes me feel guilty. I call myself a writer, after all, and the pull of the story rarely leaves me—even when it knows I can’t, or won’t, do anything about it. But I take some comfort in this quote from author and poet Wendell Berry, who celebrated his 81st birthday on August 5:
“I’ve known writers — I think it’s true also of other artists — who thought that you had to put your art before everything. But if you have a marriage and a family and a farm, you’re just going to find that you can’t always put your art first, and moreover that you shouldn’t. There are a number of things more important than your art. It’s wrong to favor it over your family, or over your place, or over your animals.”
I don’t have a farm, but I have acres of laundry to wash, bushels of groceries to buy, plants to be tended, two occasionally--okay, often--needy dogs, a husband, and two wonderful, smart, funny sons whose company I thoroughly enjoy. Now that they’re officially back in school, I will dust off my writing and try to hit the ground running. But first…the computer store.
How do you manage your family and writing time during the summer?