part of a vast and communal enterprise

As a parent, you do have to grow up – or at least moonlight as an adult. It’s a truth that terrified me at first. I figured that “parent-mind” – preoccupied with schedules, routines, logistics, crossing chores off lists, and caring for others – would be bad for the work, and in some ways of course it is, because it devours so much time and keeps hauling you out of the sacramental mode and back into the logistical/secretarial.

But on the whole I was wrong. As with any parent who doesn’t hate the job, my vision of life and, hence, my imaginative scope have widened hugely with fatherhood. Being a parent, and thus an adult, alters your vision of time and mortality. You can’t help starting to see yourself as part of a vast and communal enterprise, instead of a discrete, isolate being (i.e. an eternal child enwombed at the navel of the cosmos). Eternal children can write nothing but lyric poems until their lyric source is depleted; or else they write self-focused, first-person Bildungsromans, one or two at the most, till that source too dries up. A child who becomes an adult – even if an incomplete, part-time, sometimes grudging one – is inducted into the world’s larger life and can never run out of material.

-Steven Heighton, in interview with Evan Jones over at Partisan. You can read the whole thing here.

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