Fifty women artists and writers gathered this weekend in Saratoga Springs, New York to explore, revel, meditate, release, and cherish. We journeyed in to new territory to discover, inspire, laugh, sing, share, witness, build community, connect, eat spicy delicious raw chocolate, make art books and paint and compose poetry, make light drawings, promote our work online, while creating sacred space.
Acknowledging our beauty and bounty, we generated new ideas.
I am the light, light, light of my soul.
I am beautiful.
I am bountiful.
I am blisssssssssss.
Song shared by artist Diana Domingo of www.centerforsong.com.
This is a mantra from the Kundalini tradition.
I woke up Sunday morning singing it, then as I stepped in to my studio I saw this:
Something surprising was in store for me that day.
Something that is kind of magical. I will write more about it within the next days, but first I must invite you to two events,
aimed solely at increasing the magic in your life.
One is a writing retreat at which I am presenting a workshop called Gathering Words and Warmth on a Winter’s Day. Hosted by the International Women’s Writing Guild on February 8-19th at the Edith Macy Retreat Center in Briarcliff Manor, New York, it will be a weekend of fire side cocoa and readings, art making and writing with some amazing teachers like Myra Shapiro and Heather Summerhayes Cariou. Here is a link to the event.
The other is an Introduction to the School of the Womanly Arts in Manhattan. I am a five time graduate of that program and the impact it has had on my life is huge. Here is a link to that event on January 26.
If you have a longing for connecting with other women, if you have a yearning for more joy in your life,
or you’d just like to curl up next to a roaring fire and read me something you’ve written,
then please consider both of these opportunities for winter magic.
I will be at both of these events, with bells on.
Do you wonder what the heck the Laundry Line thing is about?
I feel compelled to tell you a few things clearly, because today, my art day, is when my husband covers the home front and I have long hours to contemplate, write and work.
There are hours in my life, when I am wrangling some issue with my kids, when the ticking of dinner hour’s approach clashes with what I’d rather be doing, when the wash and the piles of cares weigh in on me and I’d rather toss my dreams and turn back to the kitchen sink and go back to simply and only being a mom. Not a woman with a voice urged by the Divine or My Muses or my itchy itch to speak up- who in speaking up is giving voice to the inner life of one mother and holding space for other mothers to speak up.
When I feel this conflict, this rub, tears welling around the corners of my eyes and my throat thick, I turn to my friends. Here are some of the writings on the World Wide Web that buoyed me.
My friend Gina led me to this blog where a woman named Susan wrote this:
Am I different because I’m a mother? There’s no way you can’t be. I don’t know that I’m a better person. I could not imagine losing my children and surviving, but I can easily imagine never having had them.
Once you have children, what shifts is what you have to lose. That is different about me. I can’t say what I think a lot of other mothers say, that it’s made me deeper, or better, or kinder, or more loving, or more self-sacrificing or anything like that. I think it’s made me more aware of what I have to lose.
As much as it’s a hard thing to admit, I am at best ambivalent about motherhood. On my worst days, I regret motherhood. On my best days I’m ambivalent.
I take good care of my children and I love them to the best of my capacity. I know I’m not a great mother. I work towards being a good enough mother. But I think a lot about what my life would be like if I hadn’t had children, and I know it’s not the best thing I ever did. It is the only thing I ever did that I can’t undo.
I learned this about myself because of Susan’s truth telling.
The permanence of mothering- the indefatigable nature of this job I find myself in, has re-wired me entirely.
Most writers I’ve met are passionate, creative and have the ability to take a deep look inside themselves and dissect their very being into whys, what’s and how do I make that part of me better. It’s refreshing really, to meet someone who sees all their flaws, still loves themselves and their lives, and can laugh at themselves to boot. I dig that. The writers I’ve met put themselves out there for all to see and there is very little left unseen or unsaid, and I admire that honesty.
Then, my friend Jan Phillips tore me up with her writing on the Huffington Post:
The creative force is rumbling through the cells of every female, a cacophony of ideas, urges, manifestations. It is falling like rain, roaring like a tsunami, boiling like water for afternoon tea. Who we are is what we create — our furies, our despair, our ecstasies become the poems, the novels, the operas and plays that melt a heart, change a mind, stamp a culture with its indelible ink.
So, I must add my voice to this mix and become the balm I seek.
My Common Purpose
I write. I make art. I am a mother who has been raised by motherhood. I raise my children to know the caress of the sun, to feel the press of moss underfoot, to sniff the baking apple and to tell the story from inside a decision to make joyous. This is no small task. No one believes that what is joyful will sell. I do. No one believes that the ordinary is extraordinary. I do. My prayer, the way I live my life is to create and live the vibrancy of the first breath of morning and the glow of Orion’s belt at night. My prayer, the decides to do all day long, to put my attention here here here back in to the lap of this mother, this person who feels pressed to express. I live so I will be not be forgotten, if only by two people who laid their heads down on sun dried pillowcases each night to dream in a house not riddled by anger or fear. Because I know in raising them as citizens of this home they become citizens of the world. They will see pain and know the confidence of moving towards love. This I write. This I invite.
There is much to celebrate here on the Laundry Line.
My next writing workshop in The Powder Keg Sessions is this Sunday November 18 at 2pm.
And, March 1, 2013 we open the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers with ‘Out of the Mouths of Babes: An Evening of Mothers Reading to Others’ at Dewey Hall in Sheffield, MA. I hope you will mark your calendar for that night will also be a book launch for ‘An Anthology of Babes: 30 Women Give Motherhood A Voice’. This is a crazy fun project I cooked up to raise funds for producing this event and to support two important organizations that benefit women here in Berkshire County.