Creativity needs room to breathe. But for people like me, creativity needs boundaries and structure too. A desk with a straight-backed chair and a strict teacher.

Over the winter I decided that enrolling in a class, with deadlines and a syllabus, would be just the tonic for my creative inertia. Stanford has a drool-worthy catalog of Continuing Studies courses, and I confess I lost my head, signing up for two classes in the same term. Darn shiny objects.

Two classes. Two volunteer commitments. One marathon training schedule. One full-time job. One lonely dog. One sleep-starved intern-doctor husband. Friends and family who undoubtedly wonder what rock I’m hiding beneath.

I’m afraid I’ve said yes to too many things.

I boarded the late train home after my photography class on Thursday feeling like week-old laundry, stale with excuses. My assignment had been lackluster, a hurried attempt to check a box on the to-do list. Chips and salsa were my dinner; I haven’t cooked a proper meal in nearly two weeks. Mike arrived at the hospital for the emergency room shift at precisely the moment I walked through the front door, the two of us passing like ships in the night.

When will I learn?