Out of the Mouths of Babes is an ongoing discussion of mothering and creativity. Guest bloggers Coleen Davidson, Rachelle Panagarry, Sou MacMillan, Serene Mastriani and Raina Rose and more, are here. The Out Posts
Powder Keg Sessions
Ignite your voice in the next Powder Keg Sessions: Writing Workshops for Mothers and Others. On Sunday, October 27 from 1-4pm at 11 School Street in Great Barrington. Follow the fuse
Be the change you want to see in the world. Share your work online in an appropriate way that supports your vision and expresses your care for the world. I lead Rampant Sisterhood workshops and keep a roster of resources here. Sisters?
Anthology of Babes is here.
An Anthology of Babes is available at The Bookloft in Great Barrington, The Book Store in Lenox, The Kripalu GIft Shop in Lenox and the Museum of Motherhood in NYC. Or, on Amazon. Overseas orders welcome. Read all about it.
right at that moment, this laundry line appeared. Not from thin air, but it came in to my view.
It symbolizes for me the long line of women, who since the beginning of time have stepped outside to hang the wash, to air out the furs or rugs or pillows or panties of their families. This legacy includes pretty much all women, even those who haul the wash to the Laundromat and dry it in giant tumblers or who have someone come in to do their wash. Laundry. It is an archaic but persistent metaphor for me of what connects women to the daily act of caring for others.
The Anthology and Out feature writing by women who are caught in the act of creating and their stories of mothering are filled with yearning and sweetness, with perspective and insight to which everyone can relate.
These stories stand on the legacy, the ancient line of women who have stopped in the act of wiping a kids’ nose and seen the moisture on an eyelash capture a reflection, what, of a tree top or of her own face? And that woman has to stop and look at her red cheeked, sloppy offspring, dripping and panting, and see with wonder, that this life she has created from the stuff of her own body mixed with the stuff of the body of a man is part of her work, but not all.
This wonder makes her see that being a mother puts her on the inside of awe. Awe and an eternal ache to get back to the thoughts she was having right before that miraculous chemistry happened within her body. She is sure there was something she was going to say.
But now, she finds-however this child has come in to her life, that she has more to say, something new to say.
And that desire is burning her up.
But she continues with this being who pushes and pulls, tugs and breaks her heart over and over again, she is sure she must continue, or at least most mothers will continue to wipe and caress and stop and stare in humble glances of joy and maybe even pride.
It is a double whammy, raising kids while being called to create.
I think all women have creative yearnings whatever their job description.
I am interested in the stories told, in the art made, from inside that awe.
I am interested in the stories told from inside the ache.
I am interested in women who create.
It is not easy to set your life on fire like this, to mother and be changed by the burning.
It is not easy to nurture the yearning to make things, to express that awe and frustration while caught in the immediacy of caring for others, to feel the compression of desire that happens while wiping or cooking or folding or chasing or guiding.
But we do it.
We are many-armed goddesses.
We are multi-tasking wizardesses.
We are simple, ancient and new, all at once.
So, tomorrow, I am bringing an armload of stories in to the Museum of Motherhood in Manhattan. Lori Landau will read about her daily creative journey, Joanne Tombrakos will read about the work she births daily, and Cheryl Paley will read about the combustion that has brought new passion to her days as a mother. I will be reading about my love affair. With chickens.
Send us love between 5-7 EST tomorrow. We will be making FeMail Mama Mash-Up mail art with Pippa and Penny Best of The Story of Mum, from Cornwall, England. Yes, international bloggers meet tomorrow to make art, read from the Anthology and maybe meet you.
I know you readers all don’t live within the reach of my laundry line.
So, for me, enjoy some simple act of your daily life today.
Maybe it isn’t the laundry for you.
Maybe it is the glittery stuff in the asphalt as you drive home from the office. Whatever it is, find that awe and let it move you.
Are there hours when you are fully yourself and other hours you channel Lucille Ball as Lucy?
For me, there are hours when I am Glinda the Good Witch and others when I am a SheBear roused from a winter slumber. There are days when I feel great with my matching socks elegant frock and jubilant frantic mood, when I am on-time and out of my pjs dressed and underwater capable.
Motherhood presses my buttons…
all of them, not all at once, but let me be honest, there are days when I recognize myself as the calm, centered, happy person I am, and other days when other personalities are in residence.
You will be able to buy copies of the book, perfect gifts for the mothers in your life, for women who create or women who dream of creating. Mandy Steward of Messy Canvas said:
“I think it would make a perfect gift for a baby shower. But it’s also the kind of book you send to the dear kindred mommas in your life when they feel like they’re losing themselves in the midst of mothering and longing for permission to artistically express their wavering emotions and the messiness of it all.”
One-of-a-kind FeMail Collage-a-Day kits will be available also. Oh come on. FeMail art. International bloggers. Authors who are real women making real lives and art from those lives. This is gonna be a blast.
Right now my heart is jumping out of my chest beating with joy as I type these words, eager frantic to get this work done before I make order out dinner.
Please do come. Please bring your girl friends.
Please know that your voice, your creative spark is alive and well and will sustain you in the dark hours of this season of panic good cheer.
Suzi…sometimes Lucy, sometimes the She Bear…always me
P.S. This event is free. The Motherhood Museumis on East 84th Street in Manhattan. The link includes a map. Please help share the word.
My friends, do not lose heart. We were made for these times. I have heard from so many recently who are deeply and properly bewildered. They are concerned about the state of affairs in our world now. Ours is a time of almost daily astonishment and often righteous rage over the latest degradations of what matters most to civilized, visionary people.
You are right in your assessments. The luster and hubris some have aspired to while endorsing acts so heinous against children, elders, everyday people, the poor, the unguarded, the helpless, is breathtaking. Yet, I urge you, ask you, gentle you, to please not spend your spirit dry by bewailing these difficult times. Especially do not lose hope. Most particularly because, the fact is that we were made for these times. Yes. For years, we have been learning, practicing, been in training for and just waiting to meet on this exact plain of engagement. I grew up on the Great Lakes and recognize a seaworthy vessel when I see one. Regarding awakened souls, there have never been more able vessels in the waters than there are right now across the world. And they are fully provisioned and able to signal one another as never before in the history of humankind.
Look out over the prow; there are millions of boats of righteous souls on the waters with you. Even though your veneers may shiver from every wave in this stormy roil, I assure you that the long timbers composing your prow and rudder come from a greater forest. That long-grained lumber is known to withstand storms, to hold together, to hold its own, and to advance, regardless. In any dark time, there is a tendency to veer toward fainting over how much is wrong or unmended in the world. Do not focus on that. There is a tendency, too, to fall into being weakened by dwelling on what is outside your reach, by what cannot yet be. Do not focus there. That is spending the wind without raising the sails.
We are needed, that is all we can know. And though we meet resistance, we more so will meet great souls who will hail us, love us and guide us, and we will know them when they appear. Didn’t you say you were a believer? Didn’t you say you pledged to listen to a voice greater? Didn’t you ask for grace? Don’t you remember that to be in grace means to submit to the voice greater? Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good.
What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. We know that it does not take everyone on Earth to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale.
One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these – to be fierce and to show mercy toward others; both are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity.
Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do. There will always be times when you feel discouraged. I too have felt despair many times in my life, but I do not keep a chair for it. I will not entertain it. It is not allowed to eat from my plate.
The reason is this: In my uttermost bones I know something, as do you. It is that there can be no despair when you remember why you came to Earth, who you serve, and who sent you here. The good words we say and the good deeds we do are not ours. They are the words and deeds of the One who brought us here. In that spirit, I hope you will write this on your wall: When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But that is not what great ships are built for.
Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D