Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Book(s)

I am about half way through "The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women" (Gail McMeekin) after seeing reference to it on a number of other blogs I read. It's inspiring, but I think I have to admit that I just can't do it all. So much of it rings true but, I personally can't see how single-parenting can leave me enough time for "becoming" or even "being" much of anything. There is a chapter on Committing to Self-Focus which talks about making your own needs and dreams enough of a priority. Sounds great in theory but....I want to be there these early years of my son's life, these years that he still wants to hang out with me, wants me to help him with things, explain things and answer his questions. I want to spend the time to hear what he thinks, what his day was like, who bugged him or helped him out at school. And you can't get all that in one little bundle of allotted time. It comes out little by little, prompted by other things that are going on, this is information that can't be forced or made to share simply because it's convenient for me right now to listen to it instead of when it's convenient for him to tell me. Honestly, it has left me feeling inadequate as an artist.

A quote, "The problem is the simple reality that the act of writing a poem or a novel, of painting a picture, of sculpting a form, of choreographing a dance, of composing an etude is not a simple or time-bound activity. Rather, it requires a total commitment of energies and attention, and an ability to suspend time and space - eureka, the heart of the problem for creative women, whose total attention would be shifted away from their home and children to their art!" then, "Because of our societal script to care for others, this decision to engross ourselves totally in our creative work, even in time-limited segments, generates more conflicts for most women than it does men." So true. Why is it, if while I'm doing all the other things in my life, a part of my head and heart are in my studio, working away, filing away images and experience and urges, why, when I have those small blocks of time does it take so long to get things down on paper or canvas or completed or at the very least moving along at a clip enough to satisfy?

A little while back I finished Anita Diamant's, "The Red Tent". I had it sitting in my pile for about two years and had hesitated to read it because I wasn't in the mood for something with an old fashioned style of writing. But reading it I felt grateful that as women, we've come a long way since the time of Rachel and Leah. Or have we? Do we have a raw deal now, expected to do even more than before?

Maybe I shouldn't write these kinds of posts when I'm coming down from a stressful time. But what other time is there? Or is it all perception? Rhetorical questions.

5 comments:

oreneta said...

Parenting is a creative act.

No?

Beth said...

I think your reaction to that book displays common sense and an awareness of the reality of and priorities in your life. So many of the books that are supposed to instruct me on how to lead a more fulfilling life simply frustrate me.
And those moments during the day when creative thoughts and ideas come to you? When that happens to me, even though I can’t act upon them right away, I consider them to be part and parcel of the creative process.

Kim Mailhot said...

The only expectations that matter are the ones we have of ourselves and some times, those need some major adjusting ! As oreneta said, you are working so hard right now on the greatest creative act of your life - raising Riley and being a family. The other stuff is just gravy ! Revel in those small, incredible moments of being fulfilled right where you are...

I hope I don't sound to preachy here...spent the evening with Patti Digh last night and a group of unbelievable people...I don't even have the words to explain it but I am a new person today...in this moment, right now...
Sending love to you !

sherry lee said...

I loved "The Red Tent" but you bring up a good point...we are further ahead in some ways but do we carry an even harder burden now?

As for your latest read on creative women...(I'm going back to front here)...not every "self help" book is a good fit for everyone. Don't be so hard on yourself if you didn't find it a good fit for you. If we all marched to the same drum all the time, how dull would our lives be??

Carolyn said...

Like you said - you can`t do it all .Does having read it then you realised it - make you feel worse than you did before ? It shouldn`t do , it`s a guilt thing for most women -trying to fit and do everything , it`s not feasable and impossible most times . You need to do what you want and not take the book as gospel - so to speak , some self help books work for some , or maybe take small elements away from it to incorporate it into your life.
At least you gave it your time - there are plenty more out there - if you want to try another one.