Creative Mothers

    πŸ”–πŸ“š Read This Is Dedicated To Anyone Who Ever Left - Kelly McMaster interviewed by Lyz Lenz.

    πŸ”–πŸ“š Read “I think, like marriage, home is a fantasy” - Kelly McMaster interviewed by Amanda Montei

    Here are all of my intellectual intentions and here is this adorable, smiling, chubby baby, swallowing it whole.

    When writing real life, there is always going to be a connection between what is happening at the breakfast table and how you are showing up on the page.

    πŸ”– How Does Motherhood Impact Your Creativity? It’s Complicated


    My inhibitions were methodically ripped to shreds by the pure chaotic energy of the small children and carers around me. I stopped caring about whether what I was doing made me feel silly, and that is a huge boon to anyone wanting to express themselves creatively.

    πŸ”–πŸŽ¨ Read On growing alongside your artistic practice (The Creative Independent).

    Mother-artist Bailey Elder talks about growing as an artist and being a mother. Elder is starting a blog to interview other artistic mothers!

    πŸ”–πŸ“šπŸ“Read Is Parenthood the Enemy of Creative Work? by Kim Brooks (The Cut)

    That’s one of the major things parenting is teaching me, the balance between letting go in writing and practicing craft, the balance between being ferocious with my imagination and rigorous in my practice. Shape and chaos. Learning to shape chaos.

    πŸ”–πŸ“š Read The books that help define motherhood – for mums everywhere to read

    Is it ever possible to reclaim yourself without endangering your child?

    I don’t know. Because for me it’s been more about reconstructing myself rather than reclaiming myself.

    πŸ”–πŸ“š Read Art or Babies.

    you can make your art without being an art monster: You can do it as… an art mother.

    πŸ”–πŸ“š Read Why are we only talking about β€˜mom books’ by white women? by Angela Garbes (The Cut).

    I love Angela Garbes’s writing. This is another old one.

    πŸ”–πŸ“š Read The Stranger Guest: The Literature of Pregnancy and New Motherhood by Lily Gurton-Wachter (Los Angeles Review of Books)

    Another old bookmark.

    How will having a baby disrupt my sense of who I am, of my body, my understanding of life and death, my relation to the world and to my sense of independence, my experience of fear and hope and time, and the structure of my experience altogether? Dr. Spock is silent on these topics.

    By the time a new mother has the time (or free hands) to write again, the most extreme experience is beginning to fade from her memory.

    πŸ”–πŸ“š Read Maggie Nelson: Inflections Forever New by Ariel Lewiton (Guernica).

    We’re all human beings with bodily needs living within a system. We don’t need to prove that we’re not a part of the fabric of the culture in order to want to change it.

    πŸ”–πŸ“š Read Why All the Books About Motherhood? by Laura Elkin (The Paris Review).

    Another bookmark I’ve been sitting on for years.

    These new books recast motherhood not as the reactionary choice, the choice made because it’s what’s socially expected, but as something hard won, intellectually demanding, a form of creative labor. Not something that takes you away from your work but something that is now both frame and canvas for it.

    πŸ”–πŸ“š Read We Need to Talk About Whiteness in Motherhood Memoirs by Nancy Reddy (Electric Literature).

    I bookmarked this 4 years ago & am only reading it now. Reddy points out admitting you’re struggling carries a different risk for moms of Color.

    πŸ”–πŸ“πŸ“š Read The parent trap: can you be a good writer and a good parent? by Lara Feigel (The Guardian)

    Feigel writes about motherly ambivalence.

    πŸ”– Read Writer Moms: Can We Do Deep Work While the Kids are Home? by Sara Bates.

    Before we do… the practical things we need to do in order to create space for deep work, we need to cultivate theΒ beliefΒ that our creativity is worth all that trouble.

    πŸ”–πŸ“πŸ“š Read I left my baby to write this. How do artists balance creativity and the ache for their child? by Rhiannon Lucy Coslett (The Guardian).

    Coslett has as many questions as answers and mentions a lot of books I’m keen to check out.

    πŸ”– Read How Writing and Motherhood Coexist for Author Taylor Harris by Ravynn K. Stringfield (Shondaland).

    Great interview! I need to go track down Harris’s work.

    πŸ”–πŸ“šπŸ“ Read The Mother, the Artist, and Me by Caroline Hagood (Elle).

    This is a great essay about what can happen when we bring our kids into the work of art with us, when our kids become part of our creative community.


    Raising Us Wrecked Her Career But My Mom’s Thriving In Her Second Act


    My mom was just hitting her second act stride when leukemia knocked her down. I hope that as the treatment side effects are better managed, she’ll be able to get back into it.


    Can Motherhood Be a Mode of Rebellion? | The New Yorker


    An amazing essay in conversation with Angela Garbes’s new book, Essential Labor.

    a person can get paid more to sit in front of her computer and send a bunch of e-mails than she can to do a job so crucial and difficult that it seems objectively holy: to clean excrement off a body, to hold a person while they are crying, to cherish them because of and not despite their vulnerability.

    Her husband’s job provided health insurance and regular paychecks; Garbes writes that it β€œmay take me a lifetime to undo the false notion that my work is somehow less valuable than his.”

    It feels shameful to admit that I don’t have the desire to hustle up that same ladder.

    Parenthood likewise forces an encounter with the illogic of the market: good fortune means getting to pay someone less than you make to do a job that’s harder and probably more important than your own.

    parenting toward a more just world requires more than diverse baby dolls and platitudes about equality.

    She quotes the writer Carvell Wallace, who, after the 2016 election, told his children, β€œOne of the most important questions you have to answer for yourself is this: Do I believe in loving everyone? Or do I only believe in loving myself and my people?”

    How can mothering be a way that we resist and combat the loneliness, the feeling of being burdened by our caring?

    motherhood has also granted me a chance to see what my life is like when I reorganize it around care and interdependence in a way that stretches far beyond my daughter.


    “This is the Book I’m Meant to Write Right Now”


    This interview is huge. Life-alteringly huge.

    Angela Garbes, who usually line edits as she writes:

    I can’t revise an idea, no matter how good it is, in my brain. I can’t revise it if I don’t write it down.

    Interviewer Sara Fredman says:

    I personally feel torn between feeling like motherhood is the most significant thing I do and that I’ll ever do in my life and also feeling like that’s a trap of some sort.


    Angela Garbes Is Reclaiming Realistic Motherhood


    It’s out! The latest issue of Genetrix, a very occasional newsletter curating stories of creative mothers!

    πŸ”–"Nobody cares if you're a writer except you." Kate Baer on being a writer who mothers. πŸ“

    I highly recommend Sara Fredman’s Write Like A Mother newsletter, in which Sara interviews writers who are also mothers. Some bits from the recent issue with Kate Baer resonated especially with me, so I thought I’d share them here.

    Mothers were so punished in this pandemic.

    This. I’m playing the pandemic on easy mode - working part-time from home - and I still feel this. The social costs and lack of a village are what’s hurting me most. For the first time since the start of the pandemic, I hung out for a long time with other parents while our kids were at the park and it was huge. Pre-pandemic, M & I spent every weekday morning at a co-working space with a Montessori school on-site. My co-workers were almost exclusively fellow parents of young children, mostly moms and non-binary primary caregivers, and at the time I didn’t really appreciate how special it was.

    …nobody cares if you’re a writer. Nobody, nobody cares if you’re a writer, except you. If you want to be a writer, then you have to take control of the situation. You have to think of yourself as a writer, you have to treat yourself as a writer. You have to treat this like this is a job… I have to be the one who cares so much about being a writer. And so I think part of that is just filtering out that noise and just taking yourself super seriously, taking the work super seriously.

    I have only recently claimed the title of writer for myself, despite having written all my life and having my first paid byline 10 years ago, and I feel this so hard. I’m still working on taking myself and the work seriously.


    Portrait of the Mother as an Artist – Guernica


    To think of the mother as artist does not necessitate a conflict, nor does it require a choice between passive domestic surrender or total domestic rejection, although for a long time the world demanded that it did. Such frames only reinforce hierarchies, limit her to merely a fragment when, of course, she is com posed of many pieces.

    Craft β€” a designation used to subjugate many art-making practices that have been the domain of women: needlepoint, pottery, quilt making. With their connections to the home, these mediums have been historically dismissed, supposedly lacking the rigor and intellectual complexity of high art.

    β€œI have drawn my children and painted them endlessly and I cannot distinguish them from my soul…"

    she sometimes wonders why an artist must inhabit turmoil or drama to be taken seriously.

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