One of the reasons I’m pushing myself to start blogging – with few demands on myself to do it well – is that I have found my life becoming utterly dominated by labours of maintenance and care, with little space for creation.
In rare moments of reflection over recent months, I managed to piece together a sense of the sameness of much of my work – both the work of parenting and my paid work. Caring work, and maintenance work, is important and valuable. There is much that I love about it, even in the most mundane moments. There is a pleasure to watching my baby grip a nectarine in his chubby hands and bite into it; in finding a way to articulate a specific answer to a student’s question; in hanging out nappies in the cool morning air; in student emails expressing happy surprise at a positive experience of group work.
Even the mundane aspects of teaching, of the day-to-day administrative work of academia, of parenting and housework and gardening, are frequently pleasurable. There are moments that grate, of course, but on the whole I am tremendously aware of the rare and precious wonder of a life of relative safety and abundance. I don’t mind sitting in an office with a view of the sky and the trees and answering emails. I don’t mind turning the compost, or folding the laundry.
And all of these little repetitive labours are, in some ways, acts of creation too. My children grow day by day, and through snacks and bike rides and conversations they grow, and become whole new people in the world. My students will take the bits of knowledge and skills learned (not always specifically what I tried to teach, of course) and make new things in the world with them, most of which I will never see.
But still. Still. There’s something different about making a specific and discrete Thing. Sewing some pants, perhaps, or writing something. Even a blog post! And over the last few years of parenting, pregnancy, pandemic (and I suppose some other things that begin with p?) I’ve missed making things. So, perhaps blogging will help. Perhaps one day I’ll even get to write a short post about an actual research publication?