Charlie Park is an indie web developer and family man.
He builds simple apps, like Monotask and PearBudget. He spends the more important parts of his days with his wife (Sarah) and their three daughters. He posts links and whatnot here, and throwaway thoughts over at Twitter. He also blogs about digital distraction, focus, and doing good work, at The Attention Management Blog. He would love to hear from you, at email@example.com.
I’m scrambling an egg for my daughter.
“Why are you always whistling?” she asks.
“Because I’m happy.”
And it’s true,
Though it stuns me to say it aloud;
There was a time when I wouldn’t
Have seen it as my future.
It’s partly a matter
Of who is there to eat the egg:
The self fallen out of love with itself
Through the tedium of familiarity,
Or this little self,
So curious, so hungry,
Who emerged from the woman I love,
A woman who loves me in a way
I’ve come to think I deserve,
Now that it arrives from outside me.
Everything changes, we’re told,
And now the changes are everywhere:
The house with its morning light
That fills me like a revelation,
The yard with its trees
That cast a bit more shade each summer,
The love of a woman
That both is and isn’t confounding,
And the love
Of this clamor of questions at my waist.
Clamor of questions,
You clamor of answers,
Here’s your egg.
If I kept thinking, “I am doing something that could shape the character and virtue of a child, redeem the brokenness of their world, teach them important lessons about life, etc.” the playing would stop, the grown-up mind would reassert itself, and the art would end. All of those other things are happy byproducts if they happen, but that is not my business. My job is to play with the pieces of the world I’ve been given, find the delight inherent in them, make something delightful out of them. Even if the only one delighted is me.
Late last night, inspecting Santa’s handiwork, a simple thought occurred to me. A decade or so from now, when, say, I’m waiting for my son to come home from college for his winter break, and, when he does, he wants to spend his time going out with his friends — how much will I be willing to pay then to be able to go back in time, for one day, to now, when he’s eight years old, he wants to go to movies and play games and build Lego kits with me, and he believes in magic?
How much then, for one day with what my family has right now? How much? Everything.
I know a bunch of you are in/around Manhattan. I’m in town for a few days, and would love to meet up with you (that’s the singular “you”, but that goes out, individually, to all of you (plural)). I’d especially love to come cowork with you wherever you do your thing, but even if you just want to meet up for a drink, that’d be cool, too.
If you’re around, and free, let me know (e-mail or Twitter). I’d love to connect.
In this town I’ve always said “Don’t ask for permission, because the answer’s always no”. If you think about our work, when we started Dischord we didn’t register the name, we didn’t copyright the name — we still haven’t. We didn’t get a business licence, we didn’t get a lawyer — we’ve never had a lawyer. We didn’t have contracts, we just made records because that’s what record labels do. We didn’t ask for permission, we just did it. If we had asked for permission, and we tried to do it formally, then I don’t think we’d be having this conversation now. Being 18 years old, starting a record label and asking someone how you do this and they give you the formal structure? That would have taken the air outta that fuckin’ thing right away! I would have quit immediately. But instead we just went in and did it. With Fugazi, we just played so many shows in D.C., and with the exception of the shows that we did on Federal property — the park system, where we had to get permission from the park police — by and large we never asked for permission or a concert licence or anything. We just did the shows. It’s not hard to do! You need to learn that lesson — don’t ask, just do!