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.
Lean toward joy.
Link onto arms that support you.
Lead from your dreams.
Love what you love and who you love.
Listen for sounds that comfort you.
Learn what emboldens you.
And linger over moments that lift you.
This being Thanksgiving and Thursday, I cannot let this day pass without some attention on what we share here and why. Seeing and celebrating the sacred in daily life requires more of you when days are full of family and busyness. Or, perhaps this and these days are full of quiet, but you sense the stirring towards this season of dark nights and bright days. This swirl of activity is exactly where daily life begins.
With these people.
With these pesky attitudes.
With this sink full of dishes.
With all these boots lined up by your back door.
It is these people, this table round-even if it is just you today, reading, potchkeying around the house while the whole nation watches football, stuffs turkeys or has a regular Thursday anywhere but in the USA, it is this action of taking a moment to stop and see, that is your portal, your entry point to falling in love with your own life.
Like my dear Maria Sirois asks of us, “Linger over moments that lift you”…could you do that today?
We ran/walked a Turkey Trot today. I was happy to do something new and outside.
Tomorrow, Friday, we will not be shopping.
And the next days, of Advent beginning, of heading in to the full tilt pitch of December, I am getting ready to host, with Pippa and Penny Best of The Story of MUM, a FeMail art workshop and reading of An Anthology of Babes: 36 Women Give Motherhood a Voice at theMuseum of Motherhoodin Manhattan.
If you are near NYC next Thursday, stop in! Here are details.
And wherever you are today,
thank you, for reading me here, for sharing this site with your friends and for
shedding your own particularly grace-filled light with the people around you.