Friday, November 12, 2010

a goal of pursuing knowledge

Earlier this week I attended a lecture at the library. It was on a topic that is probably not of huge interest to much of the population, yet the room was packed. It was related to the book I’m trying to write, yet have completely ignored for over two months. I was suddenly reinspired – to learn, to write, to share. I came home, switched hours with Mark, and freed myself to attend another lecture on a similar topic later this week.

I doubt I’ll immediately find the focus and the discipline to start serious work now. But I decided instead that in addition to mothering, my goal over the next eight months is going to be to pursue knowledge. I’m going to read voraciously, to attend lectures, to join Netflix and rent lots of documentaries. I plan to audit a course this spring and hope to avoid choosing something practical, instead taking some random subject that piques my interest. I don’t know what courses are available yet, but something along the lines of a religion class on Buddhism, a literature course, a film course, a history course in a topic I know little about, a course taught in Spanish, or perhaps a scientific course taught for non-scientists (I’m a secret lover of geology) would be great.

When I was on leave with River, I went to all kinds of lectures and public talks – from academic talks on the incarceration rates of fathers by race or the real rates of women dropping out of the workforce, to author readings to lectures about how to choose healthy foods or how to best drink and enjoy tea.

I tend to focus on what I’m going to do with information. However, I don’t want to limit myself to learning for the sake of producing. I want to give myself this time, or whatever little chunk of this time I can find beyond sleeping, breastfeeding and managing daily existence, to just learn.

I’m going to rejoin my Spanish-language fiction bookgroup. I’m going to attend any and all talks that sound interesting and that I can make it to – regardless of whether or not I have a practical purpose for the subject matter. I will have a large supply of audiobooks on hand, to listen to while walking or breastfeeding or doing things around the house.

It’s a modest goal for me – to purely take in information. But years of work and then motherhood have made me recognize this opportunity of flexible time for the luxury it is. I’m excited about it. It gives me something to focus on beyond the baby.

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