Two Writers Explore Creative Work and Family Life

Last week I took a quick peak at Twitter while on vacation and saw something that Jen Pollack Michel had posted:

If you’ve followed me or my blog for any amount of time, you know this issue of women (and specifically my wife Maile) having time for creative pursuits is near and dear to my heart. Maile and I have had (and continue to have) conversations about how to divide the housework and care of our six children in a way that gives me ample time to make enough money to pay the bills but also provides her time to write.

Jen and I proceeded to exchange some Tweets, further discussing some various views on the topic. But Twitter, with its character limit, only allows you to journey so far into such things. We decided to continue the conversation in a series of letters in which we would explore creative work, family life, and how to make sure both partners have the opportunity to tend to the creative fire within them. We are also interested in what it might look to explore friendship in this context; Jen and I do not know each other well, not at all really, so this will be an interesting practice in getting to know one another in a public forum.

This is the first of our letters, written by Jen to me. We’ll be sharing them every Friday.

Dear Shawn,

I’m writing this from Toronto in the middle of a summer afternoon. As to the conditions that allow for such an indulgence (!), two of my children are away at camp, two are busily occupied with replacing the batteries to their armory of nerf guns, and one is, as my husband, Ryan, likes to say, “tooting her horn.” (We have a musician in the family. She’ll be off to McGill University in the fall to study clarinet performance.) I am guaranteed, at the very least, another uninterrupted hour in my office.

In terms of finding time for creative work, this summer is easier than previous ones, easier still than the many early years of parenting. I won’t assume that you know much about my family life, so I’ll give you some of the background . . .

You can find the rest of Jen’s letter to me over at her blog.

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