Care For Your Creative: Idleness has value


“Idleness may be a privilege, but that doesn’t mean that some degree of idleness shouldn’t also be a right—to insist otherwise is to insist, perversely, that women have the right to work without the right to leisure.”

-Emily Harnett on Literary Hub

Taking a break in your workday feels like an indulgence, right?

I am casting my vote for idleness today.

When I notice my jaw is tight and I scoot around my people with the terse efficiency of a waitress at a diner at lunchtime, I think my work hours are more important than, say, a set of full deep breaths out in the sunshine. This is when I have to stop and take a break. I discovered this at the laundry line almost 10 years ago. In order to toggle between active mothering and doing a little bit of creative work away from child-raising, I found comfort lingering over the laundry outside. That little bit of idleness out at the line became salve for my frantic urgency about everything and anything. Sure, hanging wash on a line takes effort, but it slows me down.

All that has developed in to my work did not happen, not my book, this blog, teaching and presenting, plus mothering, because I wore my nose away on the grindstone of high expectations and unrelenting effort. Out at my laundry line, I discovered the blessing of stepping away from the fray. I let fresh air ease my daily burden. So many of the women I spend time with, my friends and colleagues, all suffer from this sense of never getting to the bottom of the to-do list.

Rather than being over worked or staking unrealistic expectations for ourselves, I wonder if we are “under idle?”

Today’s Care For Your Creative takes you to the river.


To play.



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  • Julie

    Oh, Suzi! Your post reminded me that it will soon be Mountain Day at Smith College – the President rings the bell at the beginning of a beautiful Autumn day, and all classes and work is called off!-perhaps I will gather my creative folk on Mountain Day this year and have our own local day off for play! Thank you!

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