The Opposite of Spare Time

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

The opposite of spare time is, I guess, occupied time. In my case I still don’t know what spare time is because all my time is occupied. It always has been and it is now. It’s occupied by living. An increasing part of living, at my age, is mere bodily maintenance, which is tiresome. But I cannot find anywhere in my life a time, or a kind of time, that is unoccupied. I am free, but my time is not. My time is fully and vitally occupied with sleep, with daydreaming, with doing business and writing friends and family on email, with reading, with writing poetry, with writing prose, with thinking, with forgetting, with embroidering, with cooking and eating a meal and cleaning up the kitchen, with construing Virgil, with meeting friends, with talking with my husband, with going out to shop for groceries, with walking if I can walk and traveling if we are traveling… None of this is spare time. I can’t spare it… I am going to be eighty-one next week. I have no time to spare.


Ursala LeGuin

10 thoughts on “The Opposite of Spare Time

  1. sarahsbookreflections

    Your post made my day. I was feeling guilty for letting my husband share what used to be my wifely share of the load. But since I do write and market my books now, and he is truly retired, he does give me time to ruminate.

  2. Deb Miller

    Deb here again, to tell you I bought a whole stack of The Stuff of Stars from my local bookstore to have on hand to give as birthday gifts to young friends. We had a dinner party with six couples Sat night and one of the guests, noticing the book, held everyone spellbound as she read it aloud to the group. Truly spellbound, complete with the telltale moments of awe and breath-letting after the last line. Now they have all gone home to order it for their grandchildren. It’s an award winner to be sure. The perfect combination of stunning words and art, sublimely matched. I predict the Caldecott!

  3. Deb Miller

    Appreciating your recent posts on aging, especially since I started late and truly have no time to spare! Thanks for the great Ursela LeGuin passage.


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