An astute observer might notice that my posts do not go up at the same time every day. In fact, some days I get something written and posted first thing in the morning, and other days, like today, my posts go up much later. Every now and then – though not yet this month – I don’t post until after 10pm.
I’m a teacher, so the rhythm of my days is relatively predictable. I mean, sure, there’s the occasional before or after school meeting and whatnot, but mostly I live by the mindless monotony of minute hands and bells. Given this predictability, I feel like I should be able to write and post pretty much at the same time every day. But I can’t.
In 1929 Virginia Woolf published her (long) essay A Room of One’s Own in which she argues that in order to write, women need money and space, both literally and figuratively. 90 years later, I have much of what she argued is required for women to be able to create. Sometimes when I read her words, I feel encouraged by how much things have changed. Sometimes I want to cry at how much things are the same. I would guess that I more or less have the money and the room that Woolf was looking for. What I don’t have is an hour.
I understand why I don’t have this hour. I know the statistics on how much time women spend on housework, and how we spend as much time with our children now as in some other decade but we work more, and how we get paid differently, and how and how and how…. I know that we are helicopter parents and that we use our cellphones too much while we do or don’t sufficiently supervise the children at play. I have learned that what we do is necessary/ damaging/ laudable/ laughable. I know that I should manage my time better, discipline my children differently, organize my family efficiently. And I know that if I could just do all of those things, I could get the extra hour of sleep and I would have an hour to exercise and I would have an hour to write. I understand that this is, undoubtedly, my fault. And if it is not my fault, I understand that it is the fault of women or, at the very least, the fault of society. I have been so well socialized that I even feel badly about writing this.
But one way or another, I don’t have an hour. Not at work, where my job involves constantly responding to the desires and needs of others and not at home where my job… wait, same thing. And it’s fine, really, usually, mostly. And, you know, I love my students and I love my husband and I love my children and I swear I am a nice person and I’m only just barely complaining because who wants to listen to a whiner, but I’ve written this post a few sentences at a time in my head over the course of several days, occasionally jotting a phrase or two down and sometimes managing to get some sentences into the computer and, as it turns out, that’s not really the best way to write.
Sometimes I imagine what I could do with an hour to write every day. A magical hour that doesn’t mean I sleep less or that dinner doesn’t get made. A magical hour where the kids aren’t looking for me and I haven’t simply shifted work on to my supportive partner. A magical hour where I can gather my thoughts, put them down, and elaborate.
Next week is March Break. Maybe I can make it happen.