I watched the tail end of Master and Commander after I got home from a dinner party in Washington Heights last night, then read myself to sleep with the last chapter of David Herbert Donald’s Lincoln. That, I regret to say, was that. Outside of a late-morning session at the gym, Tuesday went up in the smoke of a freelancer’s chores and an afternoon nap. I didn’t have time–or, rather, I didn’t make time–to experience any art, save for the Chopin nocturnes and Mozart arias playing in the background at the dinner party. Not only did I see no plays or ballets, but I didn’t listen to any music, nor did I read any new Isaac Bashevis Singer stories in between returning phone calls, answering e-mail, and fussing with my schedule. I wouldn’t say it was a wasted day, but neither can I say that I stopped very often or smelled many roses. Saddest of all, I didn’t even remember to knock off for a half-hour in the afternoon, sit down in my living room, and look at the contents of the Teachout Museum.
Why am I telling you all this? To remind myself that each day offers a new chance to strike a better balance. I have to write a Wall Street Journal review this morning and plan to make a start on another piece in the afternoon, and I’m taking Steph, my research assistant, to an early-evening meeting of jazz archivists (I’ll tell you about it tomorrow). All that will surely keep me jumping from breakfast to bedtime, but I hope I remember to leave at least a little time in between for spiritual refreshment.
I live and work in an apartment crammed full of books and CDs and works of art. Outside my office window is a beautiful green tree, and a half-block east of my front door is Central Park. How can I possibly spend a whole day with my face turned from such things? I don’t know, but I’ll try not to do so, at least not today. Tomorrow can take care of itself.