Alison Clement

observations from a novelist who sometimes wants to say something small and see it published immediately

this is not the year

This is not the year I get my garden in shape. I am not starting a new blog about the Weston Price diet. I am not joining the board of the group that works to help people in Gaza, even though it makes me feel terrible to say no. I cannot read the books chosen by my book group anymore. I can’t help with the Obama campaign. I can’t make phone calls for Peter De Fazio. I can’t join the people working for Single Payer health care. I can’t visit my sister in Texas. I can’t write a letter to the editor about the importance of school librarians. I can’t organize my spices.  I can’t send my cousin copies of the family pioneer letters like I promised years ago. I can’t argue with Uncle Joe about the Tea Party. This is not the year I learn to cook.  I can’t paint my bathroom or plant blueberries or prune my fruit trees. I’m in graduate school and I’m teaching (and learning to teach) Writing 121 to college freshman and I am revising my novel. Sometimes I help my daughter with her baby, Harry. If I can just do those things well (oh, and a little yoga),  then that’s enough. I have to be too busy until I graduate, but after  this, I plan to design a different kind of life. I want to go deep, rather than wide.  My friend Marianne says never give more than 80%. Keep some back. Keep some for yourself. Some people think work is inherently good no matter what that work is, but I don’t. They think it’s good to be busy.We’re proud if we are overwhelmed—why? We design our lives so that we can’t manage. What’s the point of it? It’s a remnant of puritanism, I think. Puritanism meets the modern world, and we have to figure out a way to say no to it.

Categories: belief, school, work, writing

Tags: , , , ,

3 replies

  1. I got a got laugh when I read this. Uncle Joe

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