I’ve received several inquiries from readers asking what I do in my spare time. At the moment, with a baby, I would have to say sleep —but I do have a few minimalist hobbies I try to pursue (or would like to pursue) when I have a few minutes to myself.
1. Walking. I love, love, love to walk. I don’t do it for the exercise, but rather the sheer pleasure of being outside, on my feet, and a spectator of the changing seasons. I can’t tell you how much I miss the public footpaths of England; the weekends my husband and I spent rambling through meadows, pastures, and the little villages in between are some of the happiest memories of my life. Although back in the US, we’re fortunate to live near a large, beautiful park, and routinely do 5- to 10-miles a week. I also take Plumblossom for daily walks through our neighborhood whenever the weather permits.
2. Jewelry making. I’ve dabbled in jewelry making, off and on, for many years. I stick to what I can do at my coffee table—no torches, heavy equipment, or harsh chemicals required. What I love about this hobby is that everything is so tiny. All of my supplies (gemstones, findings, and small tools) fit into a pencil case.
3. Digital art. This is a relatively new one for me. Sure, I’d love to have a little art studio where I could paint (and make a mess) to my heart’s content. But with an infant, I have neither the time nor space for such an endeavor. Therefore, I recently bought a Wacom pen tablet and Corel Painter software, and am trying out digital painting (the effects are surprisingly realistic!). My daughter is a catnapper, so I can only work in 30-45 minute spans—but with no setup and cleanup involved, I actually have a bit of time to create something. Another advantage: no toxic chemicals to worry about with a wee one underfoot.
4. Haiku. Writing haiku has been a passion of mine for years. I love the ultra-compact form, in which every word is precious, evocative, and chosen with the utmost care. And since they’re so short, I don’t even need pencil and paper (or laptop) on hand—I can compose them in my head when I’m on the train, in traffic, or waiting in line at the post office.
5. Reading. I think just about every writer is an avid reader. And even though I don’t have as much time as I used to, I still try to steal a few moments with my iPod Touch if Plumblossom’s asleep in my arms. My preference is nonfiction, on whatever topics interest me at the time. And every ten years or so, I do a Year of Great Literature—re-reading as many classics as possible, to see if my life experience brings a greater understanding and appreciation of them.
So those are my minimalist hobbies—a few leisure and creative pursuits that don’t involve the acquisition or storage of a lot of stuff. I’d love to hear yours!