This is for my daughter Alice and all the women who haven’t a moment for themselves.
I remember: three children, teaching full time, my husband a New York City Detective with long, unpredictable hours. The house was never the way I wanted it, dinners were never inspired. Life was a rush.
It was then I began to write. I carved out twenty minutes for myself, made lunches, laid out the kids’ clothes, signed homework, all the night before.
Twenty minutes. That’s all I had. I dragged myself out of bed twenty minutes earlier, and left everything out on my desk all day: typewriter (yes, it was a long time ago,) paper, pencils and—
I remember those first days, feeling my muscles relax, feeling the joy of those mornings. Self-doubt would come soon enough. I’d never write anything worthwhile, I told myself. But then, no one ever had to know what I was doing except Jim and the kids.
After awhile, a word would please me, a sentence, a character.
Twenty minutes. Those minutes changed my life. I wrote through sorrow, through joy, through anger, through worry, and often, through fatigue. I wrote and never stopped. It was something that belonged to me, that belongs to me still.
My daughter Alice writes beautifully, but I don’t think her heart is there. Where her heart may be is in drawing, painting. She’s wonderful at that and deserves those twenty minutes. So under the tree tonight one of her gifts is a table easel, pencils and pads, acrylics and water colors. I hope she’ll find a spot to draw, maybe that table in the corner of her family room.
Maybe she won’t use this box of supplies now, maybe it will stay in her closet until she’s ready for it. But I hope it won’t be long.
All of you who might be Alice’s age, all of you who might be my daughters, find that tiny scoop of time, give it to yourself, no matter what you do with it.
I’d love to hear that you’ve done it. Let me know. Happy Holidays!