a hobby, a project, a something

March 25, 2015


I'm not very good at hobbies. Even cooking, which felt like a pretty safe bet, has been relinquished to Ben (I like it, he loves it-- and now I'm used to having dinner prepared for me every night...which is really nice it turns out.) I like yoga, but is exercise really a hobby? I've also considered drumming lessons, but have yet to act on this in any serious way. Crafts take patience. My plants are all dying, so I think gardening is probably out. 

I love this excerpt from a talk that Molly Wizenberg gave, which I'm sure I've mentioned before. She talks about reasons for blogging-- how it can give space for reinvention and learning to tell our personal story in new ways; how it can force us to show up and do the work, and keep us excited about writing. I like that even though Molly's blog, Orangette, has led to book deals and a stream of restaurant patrons, she still works to keep it something that she writes for herself. I think that's probably the definition of a hobby: something you do largely for yourself

Molly's reasons are many of the reasons I've continued to write, and when I've really dug in, I like what's resulted. Blogging has helped me document projects and interests in hopes of figuring out what I like and what I'm good at, to find a way to start making dances again, and to create community around creative challenges. It's helped me discuss the hard stuff, and then discover that the hard stuff is universal-- it's just often not talked about openly. 

Somehow over time I began to feel less permission to write about what I want to: just because. The voice of self-censorship got louder. Writing felt more like something I should do to improve my business or promote my art or because it was helpful to others, and less because it was something that could help me. And hobbies? I think what makes them great is that they're a gift for ourselves-- we're not doing them for anyone else or out of obligation. 

I've discovered that it's easy to make space in my day for work (bills need to be paid) and easy to make space for things that seem "necessary." You know, I don't forget to make time to brush my teeth or go to the grocery store or even exercise. But, carving out space to do something creative just because I want to seems almost like an indulgence. Except that I know it's not-- it's vital. 

Ben's been working on his podcast. I've been inspired by watching him dive fully into the process, without too much hesitation or over-consideration. (A lot of that is the looming deadline of our spawn's arrival-- if it doesn't happen now, it might not happen for a while. Puts a little fire under the ass!) He's worked on the podcast during work trips and late at night and early in the morning; he's put personal funds into it. He's not doing it to better his business or strengthen his artistic resume or to get noticed-- he's doing it for himself. He's doing it because it's feeding him in some way. Isn't that enough?

What I like about just because endeavors is that they usually require a bit of letting go and a willingness to try something new. We usually don't expect just because ventures to be really GOOD, because that's not the point. As a result, they can lead us to really cool places that we wouldn't have arrived otherwise. 

I'm up for going to cool places and learning to let go and try something new....just because. My life feels like it's changing a lot lately, at least based on what I keep seeing in the mirror and the tiny hand-me-down small clothes that continue to arrive on our porch. I have a feeling that creative endeavors that exist solely to soothe my soul might be more important than ever before. And in that vein, I'm committing to making my next project about writing regularly for me-- not for my career or business or because something might be useful. 50 posts: a nice number. Too many to get precious with the assignment or overly consider what I'm writing; too few to get daunted. These posts can be 3 sentences or 1,000 words, but they're for me. Also: no deadline. I'm not in need of any more of those.

What's your hobby, your project, your something? 

[photo by Steven Cohen for Open Field-- Lydia Liza and I participate in Don't You Feel It Too?]

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