little flower, erin j bernard, ejbwritingstudio, terrible creative blog

The Burden of Time: Holding your own as a creative freelance parent

Anyone who’s raised a toddler knows that toddlers get sick with astonishing frequency. Like, it’s almost sort of insane. My babe, for instance, has been sick since last Halloween. It is now May.

And if your toddler attends daycare, this presents an instant, recurring dilemma: who will skip work to stay home with the snotty little darling?

If, like me, you’re a creative freelancer and your partner is not, this burden probably defaults to you. And it’s probably sort of what you’ve chosen, even if you resent the imposition.

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What Labor Teaches (Or: How the Taffy Gets Made)

In the sweltering summer of my sixteenth year, I scored my first-ever full-time job.

It was a taffy-making gig, paying $5.25 an hour and entailing 40-or-so hours per week of light manual labor at a modest factory in Portland’s Inner Industrial Eastside.

The person who hired me was a petite and perky woman in her early 30s who reeked perpetually of flower-scented mothballs and preferred to wear her hair in a tight, high ponytail. She looked just a bit like Phoebe from “Friends,” and she lived in my dad’s condo complex with her six-year-old daughter. (I’m fairly certain he was attempting to date her, which never really worked out, though she did consent to a couple of rides on our jet-boat the week before she hired me, by phone, through my father.)

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Erin J. Bernard, erinjbernard.net, analog clock, time, broken clock, black and white clock

Bitter Gifts: Meditations on Using Your Time

There’s something bracing and just a little bit wistful about the sticky thick of summer.

It makes me think, inevitably, about time, and how fast it passes.

When I was a kid, man, summers lasted forever and ever. They were endless! Day after perfect day, stacked high up to sweaty infinity.

And when you hate school as much as I did, you live for those months of calm and ease. You rely on them and their plodding slowness to sooth and embolden you, to sand down the edges of memory enough that you might greet the crisp hustle of September with a bit of optimism and cheer.

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