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The Village: Lori Landau

The Spirit of Creativity and Mothering

I have decided

I have decided to find myself a home
in the mountains, somewhere high up
where one learns to live peacefully in
the cold and the silence. It’s said that
in such a place certain revelations may
be discovered. That what the spirit
reaches for may be eventually felt, if not
exactly understood. Slowly, no doubt. I’m
not talking about a vacation.

Of course at the same time I mean to
stay exactly where I am.

Are you following me?

-Mary Oliver

Penguin Books; Reprint edition (September 24, 2013)

 

How do you feed your creative spirit when there are diapers to change, dishes to be done, and a thousand little details pulling at you? This is the dilemma of a yearning mom. As human beings tend to do, we moms divide our lives into sections, like oranges. This wedge is parenting, this one is cooking & cleaning, that one represents our creative selves. We divvy things up, prioritizing the “have-to’s” feeling squeezed for quality time. And in immersing ourselves in the tasks, we find ourselves desperate for space to experience more soul in our busy lives. We fall asleep and our dreams are full of longing. And then the alarm rings, or the sick child beckons, or there’s a snow day and broken glass to be cleaned, and our longing is swallowed by the sheer demands of mothering. This is what happened to me, until I realized that I was the only one who could change it, and that whatever change I made would become the juice that ran in the blood of our lives.

My perch in front of the fireplace by Lori Landau
My perch in front of the fireplace by Lori Landau

***I am sitting on the leather chair in our family room drawing, entranced by the muse, immersed in forming lines to shape eyes and the bridge of a nose when the aroma of burning food comes to me. Distracted, inattentive to anything but the portrait in front of me, full awareness rides the molecules slowly.

 

by Lori Landau
Portrait in the journal I keep by the fireplace photo by Lori Landau

The wind is howling outside-the temperature is sliding downward, snow is wheeling through the sky, dropping in the shape of stars.
There was a time when a snow day would mean less time for creativity. But I have restructured the way I approach both parenting and time. Granted, it’s easier to do now that two of my three kids are in college. However I have learned some tricks to make it easier. That’s because the T.S. Eliot line: “we measure out our lives with coffee spoons,” runs through my mind like a warning. Eliot-like, we divide our lives by days, and months instead of focusing on this one moment in front of us. We forget that time is a mystery, that the future is tied up in the choices of the present moment, that time is an illusion, that before we know it we are packing our kids off to college, wondering what happened to their entire childhoods. It’s something we’ve all experienced on a macro-level, for instance, during a Facebook binge, when we sign on to check the latest posts and look up from our computer an hour later, blinking, wondering where the last sixty minutes went.

I have learned tools (meditation) to re-focus on the present moment, and in doing so, stretch it, to find the spaces in-between the moments, to make it more meaningful, to make it last longer.
I have structured my life around my practice, built it in to my home life, rather than relying on somewhere else to nourish me.

Of course, like everything else, I do it imperfectly. Right now, as the snowflakes fall, and my pen moves across the page, I am content to draw as I wait for the chicken that I lovingly drizzled with a marinade of olive oil, lemon, white wine and mustard and sprinkled with herbs to be ready. Yet as I sit, I am unaware that the oven, known to run hot on a good day, is somehow cranked up to 500 degrees, instead of a slow and easy 300.
I can often be found here, in the red shaker rocker in front of the fireplace, or if the fire is throwing off too much heat, in the leather chair set a few feet back from the hearth.
This is the room where I winter. I spend most of the day here in front of the golden fireplace, while the kids come in and out (when they’re all here), where their friends hang out playing chess and pool, where my oldest plays piano and my daughter practices her ballet. Where my middle son reads philosophy and plans meals with me. It’s an inviting space for my husband; we often sit in front of a fire on cold mornings talking over coffee. Or to be honest, he talks and I try to cultivate a little more quiet before the details of the day drag me out of silence.

It’s the first place I go upon waking to do my meditation and drawing practice, and then write a bit before anybody even gets up. It’s where I eat my lunch, and where I sit down to write and read. Everything I need is at my fingertips here except my computer, which I don’t generally keep right in the same area because I don’t want the distraction. It’s the place where I ignore the dirt on the floor from the logs, and the dirty dishes which that I put on the floor next to me as I create.
To be truthful, it is just one of the places in my house that I turn a blind eye to, because if I looked closely enough I would see all of the flaws-I would stir the embers of self-judgment, I would feel compelled to clean instead of make art.
I have been thinking about random things as I draw—the shape of eyes, how red looks when it’s right next to yellowish green, and wondering why so many artists squint when they are drawing. My wandering mind has made me deaf to the subtle alarm going off on a more primal level, but suddenly the smell of charred food reaches critical mass, breaking my reverie and I bolt up and run to the oven. When I get there, a cloud of steam puffs out of the oven door when I crank it open, and when I lift the lid to the brand new dutch oven that I waited three years to buy, I am dismayed to find that the chicken has burnt to black and so has the pot. It’s the kind of thing that can derail my day. A ruined dinner, an unexpectedly sick child, a schedule change. There are times when I let it pull me under when I lose whole chunks of time lamenting things that already happened, things I can’t control, choices that didn’t turn out the way I planned.

 

by Lori Landau
where ritual meets habit Meditating at home photo by Lori Landau

In fact now, a thought flares in my mind that I didn’t sign on for this. For the trillionth time as a mom I miss the life I don’t lead: some nomadic existence that involves mountains and travel, oceans and fields, and a lot of silence and meditation. A lot of revelation, the kind that Mary Oliver talks about in her poem. But when it comes right down to it, as much as I dream about meditating on a whim in a peaceful spot where my spirit can touch what it reaches for, I know that I mean to stay exactly where I am. I have learned that this is what monkey mind does. It throws up resistance, tries to convince me that enlightenment is somewhere else, when I have learned that the possibility of it is right here in present moment, in how I respond to what life throws at me, in the choices I make about what’s actually happening now.
It took a long time to realize that, and it’s a practice that I can’t always access. But I spent a lot of years vacillating between gratitude and restlessness, slicing up my insides into quarters, this part of me is mom, this other one is artist, and so on. Over the years I have come to fully understand that as it teaches in the philosophical tradition that I study that “that which gets in my path is my path.” Instead of constantly mediating between the spiritual pull of creative mystery and the mundane demands of mothering, at my best, I remember that they are one. The imperfection of overcooked chicken becomes the perfection of healing chicken soup; broken plans become the pieces of whole day to make art. Everything from my meditation practice to my mothering, to my art and everything else is part of a cohesive, imperfect, glorious whole. I don’t have to wait for “me” time to be me. It is inseparable from family life.
It’s something I came to when my kids were little. I decided to blur the boundaries between the tasks between “mom” and “person.” Sometimes I feel guilty about the dishes in the sink, or the laundry piled on the dryer instead of folded neatly in drawers. If you saw the inside of my linen closet I would be embarrassed. But for the most part I don’t care. If life is short, then I plan to make the most of it. I have a bucket list running in my head, and having a perfect house isn’t on it. Sometimes I have to remind myself to put myself first. That isn’t as selfish as it seems. Putting myself first means prioritizing creativity. It means including my kids in my process.

 

My (now 21-year old) son who was allowed—even encouraged—to use himself as a canvas
My (now 21-year old) son who was allowed—even encouraged—to use himself as a canvas

 

by Lori Landau
Drawing on skin portrait (drawn on my daughter’s foot) and photo by Lori Landau

It means letting things get messy. It means letting my kid smear (washable) paint all over his face, and it means painting his face at four turns into me painting portraits on skin years later, or me reading poems to my toddlers becomes me writing a poem at dinner, turns into my son writing a book of poems in college. It means drawing the sugar bowl and teacup while someone is doing homework because that’s what’s right there, making found poems from the newspaper while a cake is baking, and using the old dried flowers to decorate the cake. It means reminding myself of what I want for not only myself, but for my kids- remembering that I don’t want their lives to be about having spotless homes either. I always figured that if they saw me feeding my soul, they would learn to do the same. And in fact, they have. Because I meditated and did yoga with them, they all meditate now. If I had chased inner serenity in an ashram (not that there’s anything wrong with that,) my kids might not have learned to develop their own practice. If I hadn’t rolled my yoga mat out on the carpet in the bedroom and let them do downward dog right under me, they might not know what it is.
Because I let them paint their faces and draw pictures in my own journal as kids they now keep journals, and draw. Because we listened to music constantly, and because impatient, tapping hands were taught about drumming, they now make music. Because art was offered as balm, as salve, as connective tissue, we all seek it out together and separately.
While I purposely avoided some household arts, like learning to fold a fitted sheet, or folding every pair of socks, I’m not a slob. My house is not chaotic-if it was, I couldn’t create or be organized enough to get my kids where they needed to go. But I have found ways to marginalize housework, yet still get the most important stuff done. Ever since they were able, I included the kids in the housework, so they’d grow up knowing what it’s like to take part in the work of community. I do dishes early in the morning while the oatmeal is burbling on the stove, and start dinner prep just before driving to school. I give myself permission to have “me” time as soon as I get home from drop-off. I give myself permission to leave piles of books of counter-tops, dirty glasses on dressers and beds unmade for days at a time. In other words, I put my own oxygen mask on first so that when things get challenging, I can breathe.
There are times when it doesn’t work and the tasks pile up and I feel overwhelmed by the lack of organization and the sheer demands of it all. But I have learned to use that tension as creative fuel. I carry a notebook with me and make the most of in-between times. I jot down ideas while on line for school pick-up, draw portraits on napkins in restaurants, write down three small observations about what’s happening around me that later get folded into poems or blog posts. I make lists and set intentions early in the morning, and then hold myself to it. Now that my kids are 21, 18 and 15, I look back and think that if I had it to do all over again (and oh, how I would love to)! I would let more dishes sit, let more clothes go unfolded, keep the “shoulds” at a minimum. I would spend even more time outdoors, lying on the grass with my kids and talking about the stars, more time melting crayons to make candles, more time counting the raindrops and looking closely at flowers.

There’s a saying in yoga that you need to root to rise. Being a vibrant, spiritual, creative mom is what roots me, it’s my mountain. But I’ve come to learn that it’s also what makes me rise, what makes me see that everything I need is right here, where I am. Are you following me?

by Lori Laudau
Cake? by Lori Landau

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please find Mary Oliver’s poem here.

 

Lori Landau is an artist, photographer and writer who uses a variety of mediums to explore the nameless force that seeks connection between self and other. She is intensely engaged in the hidden emotional structure of things, and her work investigates the poetry of the ordinary, the tension and soul that’s concealed beneath the obvious surface. Landau views her pen and her camera as a third eye, to intuit what she cannot put into words, and as an ear to listen deeply to what often remains unsaid.

The Village: What happens when you show up?

 

 

The Permission Slip, the pink chair and Terry Wise's painting

 

This post is a love note.

 

First, to you, for showing up here on Laundry Line Divine to read. I know you are there, your eyes taking in the images and words, your heart melting like icicles in warm late winter sun. I know your breathing slows a bit. Maybe you read to the end and your fingers tingle a comment out and on to my screen. I love that you are here.

 

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Second, for myself, for showing up to write back in January 2007 with my mentor and friend Jan Lawry. Those first steps have led me here and lead me forward. I love that I took those steps of beginning to express from inside motherhood.

 

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Thirdly, I love the circle of women who have shown up to participate in the live event, Out of the Mouths of Babes: An Evening of Mothers Reading to Others. For four years now, the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers has hosted this event. Every year, a slightly different constellation of brave, hilarious, courageous, deep-river women write in to the theme I present and come up with unique material that changes them in the writing of it, changes me in the receiving of it and makes major waves in the lives of the audience who show up to take it in. I love the entire showing up-ness of these Babes. I love it. I bow to it. I am filled with gratitude to be here and see just what happens when one woman claims her voice and the ripple affect that has in the world.

 

Fourthly, I love the help I get to produce this event. Lynnette Lucy Najimy and I made a short movie called The Permission Slip with footage submitted from a variety of women from the Out community, including Ingrid Wendt reading her poem, The Simple Truth and Terri Bocklund playing her guitar solo, Aurora. You will have a chance to see it this month here on LLD and in a live event in Great Barrington. Lynnette is my sounding board and reality checker and the face at the back of the audience that grounds me if I need it. Her eyes and heart on this event make a major impact. This year I hired an intern and in a few short weeks, Heather has offered me an honest reflection on this work from her perspective. And Todd Mack on sound this year, provided a major love beam from stage left. I love this diversity of support.

Fifthly, I love how my family shows up for me with this event. My husband is here for the days and nights of my writing and dreaming and planning and gnashing of teeth and candles burning prayers in to each decision made. He is the one loading and unloading our pink armchair on to the stage, setting up the chairs and sweeping up afterwards. His is in the unglamorous role of “with the band”, as in, he does the work but gets no glory. He models this kind of self-less support to our kids. This year, Benj showed up from school to surprise me. And there he was, pushing the other broom around Dewey Hall at the end of the night and taking me out for a beer and a burger. I love that they are part of this event.

Sixthly, the audience. We fill Dewey Hall every year with a variety of people from the Berkshires and beyond. This year, there were more men in the audience, and more people who were drawn not by the fact that the event is mothers reading as much as the sense that this is a very exciting showcase of original bold work and they wanted to be here. Lynnette’s mom, Cheri, who has been in the front row with her friends four years in a row, holds the heart of the audience. She beams up at each of us, claps and cries and grins. I can tell how we are doing by watching her face. This year, there were more people that I didn’t know in the audience. And more women who came to me to say, “Thank you.” I love that this event touches people.

 

Cheri Najimy Out 2015
Cheri Najimy and her crew from Pittsfield

 

 

 

Painter Christine Casarsa
Out of the Mouths of Babes painter, Christine Casarsa and her mom

 

 

 

Seventhly, the artists. First, Terry Wise, whose tabletop paintings capture the spirit of “The Village: Who Else is here while you mother?” so perfectly. And, we got to have her large painting on stage with us all evening. It felt more like a family, with 8 readers, the pink chair, the Permission Slip and Terry’s painting. Five other artists, Jennifer Currie, Camille Roos, Laurie May Coyle, Michelle DiSimone and Rose Tannenbaum brought work to show. Having visual expressions by women who mother gives the audience a fuller perspective on what is possible. We illustrate Jan Philips’ mantra, “if she can, I can.”

Gathering
Wouldn’t you love to live with this painting by Terry Wise?

 

Painter Jennifer Currie, Out cast member 2012/13/14 Jenny Laird and Amy Humes
Painter Jennifer Currie, Out cast member 2012/13/14 Jenny Laird and Amy Humes

 

 

Eighthly, the wider community support of this event. Articles in the Berkshire Edge and the Albany Times Union and my radio interview with Johnny Segalla all add to the wave of attention. Let me tell you right here and now, producing an event takes miles of energy, love, dedication and money. Feeling the support of people who are out in the world, mentioning our event on live radio shows, inviting friends on Facebook, calling a pal to meet you there, this is a perfect example of The Village: Who else is here while I mother this event? I know Dr. Jennifer Browdy, the director of the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers and her board carries this event everywhere they go, in every conversation they have, this event is there. The entire month-long Festival is a work of love that I am honored to be part of and I accept this call to do my best work. I know that there are people who make dates for this event with friends or family that they want to share this work with. You must know how much this means to me. I love that you love this event too.

Dr. Jennifer Browdy, Ph.D, Festival Director
Dr. Jennifer Browdy, Ph.D, Festival Director

 

 

 

Ninthly, my friend Tina Lane who takes these photographs. She is a consummate professional, funny and articulate and visually intrigued by so much. What she frames and captures helps me see what we have created from another perspective. And her photographs help carry this work out in to the world, to you, there on the other side of this screen. I love Tina’s eyes on this event.

 

Tenthly, I love all that I don’t know, all that I am learning, all that is being made possible by this event that I cannot yet describe. I love the promise of doing this event again next year, of laughing until we are rolling out of our chairs in the Green Room and of hearing the audience sit in absolute silence while a woman shares what she has never said before. I love the inquiries in to real life that are revealed as we support the value and integrity and importance of the stories of women who mother. I love learning more about myself, about my family life, about my mother, and about the community of this event.

 

Janet reads while we crack up
She may be serious as all get out, but we are having a hard time staying in our chairs.

 

Eleventh, because there is always an 11….as Nigel says in Spinal Tap, “This one goes to 11,” the bloggers of Out of the Mouths of Babes. These are women separated by geography but tethered by love and devotion to this project. They share their writing and art with you here, as an expression of women’s voices in other parts of the world. The blog series will continue until Mother’s Day, or near it, as I have weeks of great material to share. This week, Lori Landau’s post will be live tomorrow.

 

 

The Village: Who else is here while I mother?

All of these people.

This Village.

This event.

Both of us here, right now.

 

 

Miles and miles of gratitude.

xoS

 

 

 

What Do Mothers Make? Delight

SBB and CBB by Becky Moulton summer 1998

“One of these things is not like the other”- do you remember that song from Sesame Street?
While interactions on social media are never the same, there is a common thread that runs through what happens on Laundry Line Divine and on the other platforms I participate in, like Twitter and Instagram. I am fascinated with connections. I am intrigued by the stories of mothering. I am intrigued by the patterns we make in our lives, what we return to again and again and when and what we learn new and relish, a new vista, a new flavor, a new photography app.

There are things that happen on Face book that I never imagined enjoying.

This month the building I lived in for six years in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan was demolished. As the nymphs of social media would have it, a woman who was in my Powder Keg Sessions, who happens to live in Portland, Oregon but was in the Berkshires on a certain Sunday last fall, got wind of this small factoid as it scrolled by on my news feed. Well, this woman, Margaret, has a good friend, who lives opposite my old apartment building. While she was in Manhattan this week, Margaret snapped a photo of the space that was the building in which I lived with my former beau. There has been quite a funny banter on Facebook including this man, who I love being connected to in the Face book way we are- loosely but within a distance to enjoy his humor. Now, the place where we once made Thanksgiving dinners and fed cats and organized a rent strike is a pile of rubble.

 

Margaret Barton-Ross 25th Street

Without Face book, this connection would not have been made, linking my former life on 25th Street and 8th Avenue with a new writing student who has a penchant for laundry lines and vintage stamps and sends me little missives full of gifts. Nor would I have found a comfortable social relationship with my former partner. Aside from a funeral for a common friend perhaps, I don’t know where we would have connected.

I have met many amazing women on social media. Many of the contributors to An Anthology of Babes: 36 Women Give Motherhood a Voice and the Out of the Mouths of Babes blog series are women I met through Twitter or on other blogs, or on Huffington Post. One such author, Amanda Magee, who lives with her family in the Adirondacks and worked at the Williamstown Theatre Festival for several seasons, writes today’s Out blog post. She and her husband have a set of Huff-Po blog posts written together that are cause to get up off the couch and go hug your partner. You can read Amanda’s response to “What do mothers make?” post here. I will include links to her Huffington Post pieces there.

Social media has it gifts. This past Monday I got to have a real live visit with a dear friend and collaborator, Lori Landau. Familiar to readers of the Anthology and the Out blog series, Lori lives with her family in northern New Jersey. I was passing through her area and stopped for a whole afternoon of slow wandering through a park near her home. Long walk and talk, sharing book forms and parenting thoughts. Her daughter is just south of mine in age and her challenges are ones I have lived with for a year or so. We dove right in to conversation, relying heavily on all the threads we have woven in to friendship through social media, emails, texts, real live mail and art sent back and forth, as if all those lines of intersection weave something tangible. Looking in to Lori’s eyes, I would say very tangible.

Lori

Writing about being a mother is dicey. You write, freely I hope, with no editor on your shoulder, just letting the stories flow. Later, when you look over your writing, you decide whether you have told yours or someoneelse’s story. That is how I decide whether what I have written is mine to share. When I publish something that includes my kids I always run it past them.

Laundry conundrum

So, last night, I had a surprise. In my Powder Keg Ramsdell Sessions we have been experimenting with the blazon, a form of poem that is a list of attributes of another. I learned about it from Monica Devine. In its medieval roots, it was a roster of praise for a woman, starting from the top down. Over time and with a dose of irreverence from William Shakespeare and many others, the form retains is roster of attributes aspect but has come to include wry pathos and revelation.

I wrote one last week that has been simmering in my writing mind. I was itching to share it with you all, as I prepare for teaching a Writing Motherhood writing workshop in June. So, while my girl was preparing to go for a run last evening, I read it to her. I just blasted open whatever reticence I had about exposing my tender heart to her and a potentially personal moment in her abundantly sweet life.

She stood in the doorway to this studio listening. I picked my way through the lines I thought she might take issue with and cruised to the end, expecting her standard, “Oh god Mom, you can’t say that”. But, because she is not standard in any way, her response was a deep flush of pleasure and she beamed at me.

And without asking, she said I was free to share it.

In honor of this week and loving daughters, every single girl, each of us, daughters and sons, and the loving gaze that mothers hold us each in, no matter which realm those gazes issue from, I give you my Blazon for Catherine.

Please be tender with yourselves these days.
Find a live person to go hug and share an appreciation with.
Social media brings us together but what glues us takes breath and skin and the mingling of fingers in to a grip that is unforgettable.

Blazon for Catherine

Catherine the Great.
Catherine the girl.
Catherine my Fluffy Angel who leaves teabags drying into
crispy dead bats in the bottoms of long ago supped tea cups,
her rosebud lips with a staining pale birthmark over the
upper left petal,
that once
drew comment from a very opinionated neighbor, that
oval of color rises when she is furious or
when she is flushed with pleasure as she was
one summer night, arriving after her curfew, confessing to
making out in the parking lot of the appointed place where
she was to meet her older brother and be safely transported home,
he, who texted and paced and prowled looking for his little sister,
Catherine, Cath, Cat, is the little sister, a strong beautiful
quiet storm of a sister, who, that night,
stretched in to the arms of a tall boy
who kissed her til that mark raged red and
here she, Catherine, the young woman flushed at the
foot of our bed apologizing and fearful we will take
away her new found, enpinkening freedom.
Catherine who works harder than most to
overcome what she sees as a lack.
Whose “tiny writing” fills pages of her little books but now,
whose writing, big words typed by long fingers
Catherine the smart, the able, the curious,
the persistent as a raccoon in the trash,
ass over head with her nose in a book
or baking vegan zucchini bread
or sussing out a social conundrum.
This girl is a sucker for a thrift shop.
Catherine is a seller of squash and a bagger of lettuce,
rows of community supported lettuce, spun neatly in to a plastic sack
and sold on sunny summer Saturday mornings.
Catherine is market-fresh, this girl and she is mine.

May 1, 2014
Suzi Banks Baum
Powder Keg Ramsdell Sessions

CBB and me Cape April 2014

Love your friends.
Love your mothers.
Love those kids, Nigerian, Amanda’s, Lori’s, Margaret’s, yours and my own.

Love,
S

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.

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