In a world in which jobs, family, writing career, and family consume every waking hour, the word “hobby” sounds like a luxury most writers can ill afford. However, after faith, family, and writing there are things in my life that still just demand to be done, at least now and then. They are the interests I can’t let go of, or perhaps ones that won’t let go of me. “Hobby” seems like too mild a descriptor and “interests” is even worse. Let’s just call them obsessions.
I admit to having a few. Here they are in no particular order.
- To begin with there is travel. It is the one big luxury of my life, one I share with Beloved. When we were raising children we had neither the time nor the money to indulge in it. After our nest emptied and careers advanced, we plucked up our courage and signed up for a trip we thought was insanely expensive, a tour of ancient Roman cities in Turkey and Greece. On the way home money no longer seemed important. Our only question was “Where are we going next?” (Answer for 2017? Scotland) I am as restless as ever.
- Genealogy didn’t grab me at first. I confess to giving Beloved’s initial interest a librarian eye-roll. Yes dear, your great grandfather fought in the Civil War…yours and everyone else’s. I agreed to get him started. I clearly remember looking up the great grandfather and reading off the dates. When I got to “promoted to sergeant July 4, 1863,” I gasped and began frantically paging around. The man was promoted at Gettysburg! That one connection of one person to the broader history hooked me and never let go. My conceit is that Beloved is a genealogist, but I’m a micro historian. Who am I kidding? Lately I’m obsessing on the first ten years of Detroit and squeezing Ancestry.com between Mailchimp and WordPress.
- I came by my other obsession naturally. I grew up in a family of bird lovers. Readers who follow my posts know I particularly like owls. That interest is purely literary and dates back to the first time I read The Once and Future King, by T.H. White. I am fascinated by all birds, actually. They come in a glorious variety of size, shape, and color. They flit in and out of sight, come and go at will. I can’t control them, I can only attempt to attract them and/or lay in wait for them. This phenomenon has always struck me as a metaphor for grace. We can’t force it; we can only make ourselves open to it. Living on migration route helps. Bird feeders help. Office windows overlooking the windows help more. I’ve counted as any as 19 distinct species in my yard in a single day. And yes, I’ve stood in the cold or the heat or the damp with binoculars searching for that illusive bird.
What are you passions?