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Reinventing creativity: Keri Smith update

explorerIf you read my previous post on Keri Smith, you already know I’m a huge fan. (Cathy is, too.) Recently, Keri posted a lengthy entry on her blog entitled “truthful things about being an artist and a mother” — the second time that she’s delved into the topic, and this time much more in depth. Keri is new to motherhood, and obviously her experience will evolve as her child grows, but I wonder what everyone here thinks about Keri’s perspective. Does it resonate? Keri feels intensely — and I only wish I’d been as passionate back when I had my first child. I can certainly relate to this point, however (and it echoes with what Kelly wrote this week):

“…i get into the most trouble when I am clinging to ‘needing’ to get something done in the time frame that I want it to be done. It is a difficult shift to realize that you no longer call the shots. If I attempt to control how and when, I end up very frustrated. Even knowing this fact I still fight it constantly.”

For most creative mothers, the experience comes down to this mantra, I think:

“and i believe one of the best gifts I can give to him is to allow my own creativity to flourish. Not necessarily in the all encompassing way that it did before. now I have to shrink things down a bit to fit it into the time I have. But it is still a huge part of me and I am excited to share it more with him as he grows.”

Keri also annouced last week that she’s publishing a new book, How to Be an Explorer of the World: Portable Art Life Museum and posted a fascinating preview. The idea of mapping your creativity into the floorplan of a museum is totally genius. I’ve already pre-ordered my copy of Explorer, which will be released in October. I can’t wait to get my hands on this one — and I’ll blog on its arrival in the fall. I can only imagine that Keri’s work will, over time, more concretely address the issues that creative mothers face. Fingers crossed.

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Cathy #

    miranda, i’m so glad you blogged this, and that you included keri’s ‘truthful’ blog. i read it a while ago, appreciated much of it, but especially admitting that she’s ‘winging it most days’ and the bit on fear of changing self after having kids:

    ‘I am the same me, only with a TON more meaning in my life.’

    when i had my first 13 years ago, i felt the whole world shift into a ‘rightness’ and i was so full of ‘meaning’ i felt i was oozing it out of every pore. that hasn’t changed, and neither has the sense of not knowing exactly what to do right now. i have had my challenges in parenting to overcome again and again, but with #3 now, i feel much readier to poo-poo anyone else’s expectations than i ever have in my life. i believe i have #2 and his particular challenges to thank for that.

    while being creative is essentially who i am, being a mother and raising children who are creative, world-conscious and confident in who they are is the single most important thing i’m doing. it’s the single most important thing i will ever do.

    July 29, 2008
  2. I think I had a very different experience, in large part because I had my first child at 21. I was just becoming an adult, and really had no “before” for comparison. All of my adult life I’ve been a mother. So I didn’t go through this shift, or awakening, that many experience. Yes, having a child gave my life a new purpose–which was something I needed and wanted–but I’m sure the experience is very different when you have a child AFTER becoming “yourself.” In my timeline, raising kids and figuring out who I was were concurrent processes. Not that you ever stop growing and re-defining, of course, but in terms of the basics, it was all of a piece for me.

    July 29, 2008
  3. Cathy #

    miranda, i may have had my 1st at 29, but i didn’t really start to ‘discover myself’ until my mid-late 30’s and it’s an ongoing process. i’ve always been a bit of a turtle by nature, slow progress. in my 20’s i boasted i would have pulitzer by 40 and nobel for lit soon after. while i’ve published a poem here, a short story there, no book yet at 42.

    i like your concurrent process sentence a lot!

    i do hear how young you were to start the family thing, but i don’t believe our journeys are all that different through parenting and self-discovery, esp the ‘break’ between older children and younger. i don’t think i’ll catch up to your 5, though!

    July 30, 2008

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