Sunday, December 20, 2009

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

-Robert A. Heinlein

This morning, standing in front of the yet-to-be-built kitchen backplash area, I made this to-do list:

  • outline the final chapter for my novel
  • finish designing a new writing workshop I'll be giving in January
  • catch up on laundry
  • clear out dead plants from the garden
  • wrap Christmas gifts
  • buy Christmas gifts

In addition, I'll be on call as assistant construction monkey while my husband builds our new kitchen backsplash today.

What I've done so far:

  • outline my chapter
  • one load of laundry
  • breakfast with my husband
  • chat on the phone
  • stand in my garden and daydream about the spring planting
Later I'll go to a Christmas party at a friend's house.

Like most people, my to-do list is far more ambitious than I am. But while I was daydreaming about the next garden I was also thinking about non-specialization, about the coming year in which I hope to build more skills, learn more things, embrace more self-sufficiency. I want to keep this list do-able, though, unlike my daily lists tend to be. Here's what I have so far:

learn to really sew -- not just hemming, mending, straight seem stuff like I do now, but from a pattern
learn to really knit -- not just scarves, potholders, and washcloths, like I do now, but actual patterns

What else?

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