Thursday, March 3, 2011

"Personal Business"

When my sister and I were little, a year apart in age, we had a favorite game, if you can call it a game, called "Personal Business." We each had something called a pegboard box: it was a wooden box about the size of an 8 1/2 by 11 pad of paper, with a sliding cover that had little holes in it - that was the pegboard. Inside the box had originally been the pegs, and you were supposed to use them to make peg designs on the cover. But at this point in our childhood, I don't know where the pegs had gone. All we had were the two boxes.

Into each one we'd each put whatever we wanted to "work" on that day: something to write, a book to read - I'm not sure what other kind of thing it would have been - maybe one of those potholders to make with cloth loops on one of those little metal loom? Then we'd take our pegboard boxes and climb back into our beds and work on our "personal business" happily for hours.

That's how I feel when I start out on a short trip for work, like my trip to Cincinnati today for the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics conference. My backpack is my pegboard box stuffed full of appealing little projects to do on the plane. In mine right now is my work-in-progress on my novel, of course, and the book I'm reading for my book group this month - Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand - and another book I'm reviewing, and a colleague's manuscript to read, and three essays I'm judging for a university writing contest, plus the special notebook where I write down my goals and dreams.

The fun of the trip starts the instant the bus to DIA pulls away from the Park and Ride, and I take out the first tempting item from the stash and launch into blissful hours of "personal business." In two hours, the game of personal business will begin!