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Mama, I have an ache

Laundry Meme by Suzi Banks Baum

What is true today?

The sun is shining.

I am nervous about the reading at the Museum of Motherhood tomorrow.

I was just walking in the sunlight, talking to two friends about it all and exactly as I was talking about how my work and the work of all the women I have gathered around Out of the Mouths of Babes and An Anthology of Babes: 36 Women Give Motherhood a Voice, how it gives voice to the lives of women who are mothers, who have mothers or who see their mothering as a generative act,

women who are called to create-

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.

Mama Mash-Up #mailart @FeMailArtNews #FeMailArtNews xoS

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.

Xo S

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PS Please share this post with someone you know who might need a boost today. Let her know she is not alone.
Here is a link to the event. It is free. The Anthology will be for sale.

Mama Mash-Up In Manhattan at the Museum of Motherhood

I feel like this. Often.
I feel like this. Often.

What personalities do you have as a mother?

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.

On Thursday at the Museum of Motherhood in Manhattan, I will be playing with Pippa and Penny Best of The Story of Mum in a FeMail Art workshop making
Mama Mash-Up Mail Art. Following this exciting hands-on art experience, we will have the inaugural reading of An Anthology of Babes: 36 Women Give Motherhood a Voice with live readings by Lori Landau, Cheryl Paley, Joanne Tombrakos and myself.


Pat Kelman's photos of the Story of Mum Make Date at The Photographers' Gallery London

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 Museum is on East 84th Street in Manhattan. The link includes a map. Please help share the word.

Tweet about this now.





Independence Approach #3: Art is contact.

‘Some people who make are driven by inspiration, others by provocation, still others by desperation. Art making grants access to worlds that maybe dangerous, sacred, forbidden, seductive or all of the above. It grants access to worlds you may otherwise never fully engage. It may in fact be the engagement-not the art- that you seek. The difference is that making art allows, indeed guarantees, that you declare yourself. Art is contact, and your work necessarily reveals the nature of that contact. In making art, you declare what is important.”

From Art and Fear
David Baynes and Ted Orland

‘Work is a story that needs retelling. When we find ourselves telling the same stories over and over again about work, we are letting ourselves know that there are important things that we overlook every day. No matter how tedious the job may be, people and circumstances are always changing. There is always a new story waiting to be told about some nuance from our daily experience. We need to make myths from our daily lives and ennoble the things that we typically overlook. Mythologize and make heroes and heroines form the deeds of the people you see every day. Elevate their significance and the value of your work environment, and you will find yourself and your imagination rising with them.’

From Trust the Process: An Artist’s Guide to Letting Go
Shaun McNiff

I started writing Laundry Line Divine: A Wild Soul Book for Mothers to share how I am raising myself while raising my children. Along the way, I started this website and began blogging. Laundry Line Divine has become my passion. I realized that it has always been my way of life, gaining density as I named and claimed it.
In January 2012, Laundry Line Divine birthed a project in ‘Out of the Mouths of Babes’ which is an event and a blog series, now in it’s second go round.

I am inspired by these quotes as I work to refine the marketing around my book and ‘Out’ events. I am honing my vision of just what I do here. Everything you see here is made by me or by people I have invited to hang their work on this Laundry Line. The words are spoken and the images captured from the finely woven details of our daily lives.

I am honored and thrilled that you have stopped in here today.
Over the next weeks, I will be making this site easier to navigate. Some of you have told me how hard it is to find the new blog series. That will soon be fixed. I’d love your input on other aspects I could improve.

All these things take time.

As so do the fireflies, who are making a sort of magic in the dark nights here in the Berkshires. If only I could capture them on film.
I will be soaking up their bio-luminescence tonight as I stand along a field where the Williams River runs past. I hope you too can step out in to this pre-Solstice night and see the dark sky reel overhead with the stars winking down at you.

I am going to leave you with this Radio Lab recording, which you must listen to. “Fetal Consequences” opens a possibility here in the context of ‘contact’….my imagination reels.
Please enjoy it.

So, with thanks and joy, I adventure forward with you, my loyal and new readers,

PS I think you may be intrigued by my friend Joanna Tombrakos’ new book It Takes An Egg Timer: A Guide to Creating the Time of Your Life. Joanne has a drawing for free Kindle copies in honor of the Summer Solstice starting tomorrow here.

PPS Next week’s post will be infused with Jan Phillips. I am heading to the International Women’s Writing Guild conference this weekend. Stay tuned!

All a matter of miracles on the Laundry Line

Stopping to smell the roses in Hudson. #laundrylinedivine #instagood #love #pinkflowers #HudsonNY. XoS

Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks. Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle, but you shall be the miracle.

~Phillips Brooks

This is from Maria Sirois today.
Maria has a set of wonderful offerings for you today, including the chance to receive her “Daily Inspiration for the Road”, where I got this quote.

It is a big week here at my house. We are coming to the end of our journey at the Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School with Catherine graduating 8th grade on Saturday. Here is something I wrote about this moment in time.

It is a big day for the planet today, what with Venus passing in front of the Sun later today. Take a moment to state your prayers, requests, desires- whatever it is you choose to place at the portal of grace, this is an extra good moment to do so.

I am heading off to the BlogWorld conference in NYC for 2 days of excitement with my friend Joanne Tombrakos, who has a new book and wonderful offering here.

And this, just hot out of the hands of my 17 year old, the quote from his A+ work in Romantic Poetry…literally, he just handed this to me and I have to include it…well, you will see why-

“Attentiveness to subtle signs and traits, an inward poetic life, practiced senses, a simple, God-fearing heart– these are the requisites of a true friend of nature.” ~Novalis

Whatever bigness going on at your house- astronomic, educational or social-
I must tell you that you, my dear, are the miracle.

Stay warm.
Or cool.
But stay.

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