Being an adult person with a full time job who also spends a lot of time parenting small children, can make me feel like finding the time to learn a new skill, or get lost in a new interest, or do anything at all that isn’t optimized for maximum efficiency or earning isn’t time well spent. And yet, ironically, as a parent of young children, I’m also eager for my kids to embrace exactly the kinds of pleasure-filled, carefree, utterly inconsequential-but-still-satisfying hobbies that I too often deny myself.
In the gifts that we choose and the books that we read and the creative ways that we try to fill long winter afternoons, James and I both try to model a love of learning and curiosity and craft for our kids in ways that we’re less great about making happen for ourselves. For my part, as the writer of a blog like this one in particular, I find that it can become particularly easy to turn just about everything into work, timing projects for moments when there’s good light for picture-taking, or thinking of ways that I can share the process, or craft a story, or finding a good spot for fitting something or other into the editorial calendar. In part, no question, this is something that I deeply love about my work—the freedom, the creative control, the flexibility—but it also means that I rarely take the time to do something that’s truly just for me. And so this year, I’m trying my best to do more for myself alone.
Writing about taking up a new hobby while 33-weeks pregnant and perennially exhausted might sound like a fool’s errand, but hope springs eternal and I’m hoping I can make it happen. By way of encouragement and in celebration of learning something new, I’m hosting a giveaway with Rose Pearlman on my Instagram page this week. We’re giving away a copy of my book, Simple Matters, a copy of Rose’s new and masterful book Modern Rug Hooking, plus a beautiful rug hooking kit put together by Rose herself. The kit includes a 9-inch Reusable Rug Hooking Hoop with pre-stretched monks cloth, a #10 Regular Oxford Punch Needle with box, stitch guide and instructional booklet, 6 ounces of hand-dyed Seal Harbor Rug Co. yarn, and a cotton/ linen bag for storage. All of the details on how to enter can be found on Instagram.
And whether the hobby is rug hooking or fly fishing, I’m curious to know what some of you might be up to. Please feel free to share in the comments.
Four things to do today to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.:
+ Explore the 1619 Project, an ongoing project designed to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the first ship carrying enslaved people from West Africa landing in the English Colonies of North America. The multimedia New York Times project spearheaded by journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones uses a combination of essays, short-fiction, photo journalism, and interactive features to interrogate the idea that “no aspect of the country that would be formed here has been untouched by the years of slavery that followed.” (For educators, The 1619 Project Curriculum might prove especially helpful.)
+ Listen to the first episode of Scene on Radio’s Fourth Season: The Land That Never Has Been Yet, where host John Biewen once again teams up with collaborator Chenjerai Kumanyika, this time to explore democracy in America. As the 1619 Project has done, Biewen explains that this season’s podcast will “complicate, maybe upend, our listeners’ understanding of American history.”
+ Talk frankly to kids. The Conscious Kid remains one of my favorite non-profits focused on educating kids (their parents, educators, and caregivers) honestly and candidly about race. In 2019 they launched a Patreon Page where subscribers have access to in-depth essays, research, book lists, and other resources related to the subject. Here’s a list of their recommended children’s books Honoring the Life & Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. You can also follow their work on Instagram.
+ Donate to Higher Heights for America, a nonprofit dedicated to “providing Black women with a political home exclusively dedicated to harnessing their power to expand Black women’s elected representation and voting participation, and advance progressive policies.”
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