It’s hard to find anything to say about life without immersing yourself in the world, but it’s also just about impossible to figure out what it might be, or how best to say it, without getting the hell out of it again. – Kreider, Tim (2012, June 30). The ‘Busy’ Trap. The New York Times.
Last night, I spent thirty minutes trying to get through three paragraphs of a National Geographic piece on the hardships of widows in the world. I was tired. Emails buzzed my work phone every five minutes. Angus was prying at my fingers so that I would come and play cars.
Of course, he then started bugging mom who was trying to get some cross-stitching done for a friend’s birthday present and had been dealing with him all day while I’d been in the office (dealing with children of a different sort). I reluctantly put down the magazine, hid my phone, and as tired as I was, fully engaged myself with Angus and his cars.
The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration — it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done.
As I wrapped a flexible, rubber Mr. Bean action figure around the top of a toy ambulance and pushed him toward Angus Hospital, my brain began to boil over. Potential characters, settings, and plots based on those three paragraphs I’d read popped out faster than I could grab my phone and record them.H
Of course Angus protested while I furiously tapped out the thoughts, but then I put down my phone and made sure Mr. Bean’s pal, the six-inch rubber iguana, made it to surgery on time.
I was reminded that disconnecting is precious. Not just to create good memories me and my son, as in this instance, but for being creative. The National Geographic magazine isn’t going anywhere. I won’t receive my walking papers the next morning because I failed to read a work email after business hours. As for being tired? I’m pretty sure that’s a synonym for parenting.