I'm taking the summer off from writing, so please just consider this some kind of non-written written form of communication. You know what I mean. Or you don't. Read on regardless.
I just stumbled upon some treasure to share with you creative mamas out there. Last night i finished up Elizabeth Gilbert's book on creativity, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. It's great. Lots of good stuff in there. A great summertime read for those among us who like to make things.
Today I had a bunch of hands-on projects to take care of around the house while the kids are at their morning camp, and so I thought I'd find a podcast. "I wonder," I thought to myself, "if there's some kind of Elizabeth Gilbert podcast? Maybe I can search her name and see if she's been on Dear Sugar Radio or something?" And so I typed "Elizabeth Gilbert" in to the podcast search bar and found out that she has her own podcast based on Big Magic called Magic Lessons With Elizabeth Gilbert. So I played Season 1, Episode 1 and stumbled into the perfect words for this time in my life and this web magazine's life.
The episode is called "Do What Ignites Your Soul" and features a former English teacher, writer, and stay-at-home-mother who is renewing her own creative work by beginning to write a book while her children are both at school for the first time. She is dealing with the fear of beginning a huge new project, the guilt of engaging in satisfying creative work that has nothing to do with her family, and the potential conflicts that may arise as she writes about personal experiences in a public arena (Oh, hi, Kirsten!)
In short, she is a Smarty. She is us.
The podcast is short and sweet, and so I'm extra excited that it's part of a larger series featuring this particular writer as she begins to more actively combine creative endeavors and being a parent and family member. I need this now as my kids head off to school in the fall and I get to dive into my own work in earnest.
Even if podcasts aren't your thing, or if the earnest use of the term "The Universe" (I mean, this is Elizabeth Gilbert we're talking about here. The Universe is strong with this one.) rankles, listen for this quote by A.S. Byatt:
"I think of my writing simply in terms of pleasure. It's the most important thing in my life: making things. Much as I love my husband and children, I love them only because I am the person who makes things. I, who I am, is the person that has the project of making a thing. Well, that's putting it pompously - but constructing. I do see it in sort of three-dimensional structures. And because that person does that all the time, that person is able to love all these people."
Did you get that? She is who she is - and she is A.S. Byatt for goodness's sake - because she makes things. And she loves who she loves because she is who she is, a person who makes things. She can't love those people without making those things. Ya dig?
And this is important to remember. And that's why I'm writing this quote down and posting it prominently in my office. And that's why I'm going to listen to the rest of Magic Lessons through its current season. Because I have to remember as I embark that I am who I am when I create, and I love who I love only when I am who I am.
Yeah, that sounds like Popeye. I don't care.
What I care about is remembering this during the hard times, the distracted times, the guilt-ridden times, the busy times, the dry and barren times.
And you should, too. Whatever it is you make, whoever it is you want to be in addition to your parenting or as a foundation to your parenting, remember this. You can't love who you love without being who you essentially are.
No you go do you. I'm going to go do me. I'll see you again in the fall, or when I stumble upon more treasure.