Work-life balance

On busyness vs. accountability

On busyness vs. accountability

Early in July, I became the owner of a home that will give our family the space we’ve long needed. I also became a de facto general contractor. My fix-it list is rapidly growing; my word count is not. How easily non-writing work can fill the time we set aside precisely for the page — especially when such busyness sometimes gives us more sense of accomplishment on some days than the few paragraphs we may add to a work in progress …

On not writing about illness

On not writing about illness

I don’t want to write about this, she said.

For the woman who spoke these too familiar words to me, this was illness. Insidious, consuming, chronic. I nodded because it was also my story, just with different symptoms. We spoke in the shorthand we had each become practiced at employing around our narratives, framing conditions that did not, in spite of our best efforts, abate. I don’t know how to write about this, I thought. And I wondered if that was what, deep down, she had meant.

On asking for what we need

On asking for what we need

At exactly 4 p.m., a text from our school district arrives, announcing the fourth snow day in a week, fifth if you count the day they sent the kids home early on account of an anticipated winter storm.

I am already resigned to the fact that O. will be home tomorrow, given the district’s track record — large flakes have been falling heavily all afternoon with no sign of a break. But the text reminds me just how far from normal this weather is for the Pacific Northwest — and how much of a transplant to this region I still am.