When I was a young mother, my children and husband relied on me to keep the home running, boo-boo’s kissed and food in the kitchen. I remember how hard it was to carve out time for a manicure, never mind sit down and have the kind of time I needed to get lost in writing. For me at least, writing cannot be done, or done well, in leftover moments.
In Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert says “The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.” She talks about the way we encounter our ideas expressed by someone else, ideas we never acted upon and who eventually found their home inside someone else. We feel like our idea was ‘stolen,’ but really it was just floating in the universe waiting for someone to give it life and was never ours. Big Magic pushed me to act upon those lovely gems of an idea and to begin creating again. To write and photograph the world in the way only I can.
But I still struggle with the issue of time. Though my children are all grown up and living wonderful independent lives, there never seems to be enough time, or should I say, I never seem able to give myself enough time.
Though I’ve begun to create more of a full-time experience out of this type of work with Our Stories Today and spend more time doing so, I still struggle with finding enough time to explore and experiment as much as I would like. Creativity needs room to breathe, empty time that allows our brains to dance around ideas until we are ready to put pen to page or brush to paper.
I’ve cleaned out my studio, organized my desk and rearranged my work schedule. Waking early to have some emptiness in my head is a ‘must-have.’ This is a beginning.
I loved this quote from an article in The Guardian, “A Women’s Greatest Enemy? A Lack of Time to Herself,” by Brigid Shulte:
“I do not claim to have any particular genius. But sometimes, I dream that I’m sitting in a dusky room at a kitchen table across from another version of me, who sits, unbound by time, quietly drinking a cup of tea. “I wish you’d visit more often,” she tells me. And I wonder if that searing middle-of-the-night pain that, at times, settles like dread around my solar plexus may not only be because there’s so little unbroken time to tell my own untold stories, but because I’m afraid that what may be coiled inside may not be worth paying attention to anyway. Perhaps that’s what I don’t want to face in that dusky room I dream of.”
The time struggle doesn’t end when, if we have them, children grow up and I suspect it is because many of us don’t carve out what we need. We may not be diligent enough, feel selfish, or overwhelmed.
I have the most time when I travel, especially when I am staying in an inspiring location like our cottage in Ullapool, Scotland or anywhere in Italy. I make time when I travel to Basalt to work with a client, feeling no guilt or sense of wasting my moments as I sit inside on a lovely evening with a glass of wine and my computer balanced on my lap.
I miss those moments when time disappears, like I once had in art classes or when on my artist-in-residency at Rocky Mountain National Park. Time would cease to be of importance so intent I was upon the writing or drawing. I’d finish whatever I was working on thoroughly exhausted, as if I was in a fugue state. It’s time for the fugue to make it’s appearance again.
It seems there is just so much to DO. Social engagements. Exercise. Ordinary household tasks like laundry and cooking dinner. Visiting family. Traveling.
I had to buckle down and claim the space I needed in order to create Our Stories Today.
I won’t claim to have the answers to this time struggle. The only thing I know for sure is that whatever we feed the most, grows.
The clock is ticking and this idea is hungry.