usually i’m the one barking the orders in the house, but today i was the student. my artsygirl came home with a note from her music teacher offering all students the opportunity to be the music leader for a day if they practiced the lesson she sent home. my daughter took this task to heart. she set up her class in our living room which once again has dirty floors, recruited my younger daughter and me to be her students, and she directed us through school chants, songs, dances and scales. when we didn’t stay in our proper places, she ripped up a papertowel and marked our spots with a sharpie to keep her class in order. birdiegirl continued to be a troublesome pupil and was eventually sent to the principal’s office, and i was in danger of a timeout in the red chair when i took this photo. in the end i recovered my standing, learned the chants and songs and scales, and earned a prize.
it was a change to see her take on the role of a leader and enjoy it so much. usually she’s the dreamer — reading in the sink, writing stories, ringing the doorbell wearing speedo goggles and identifying herself as an orphan from minnesota in search of a new home — basically just lost in her imagination, which is her most endearing quality to me. but i think i often just see her through that lens, and it has shut my eyes to the fact that she can step away from the dreamer and do other things, too. it surprised me, in a very good way. it certainly made up for yesterday’s surprise, when birdiegirl piddled a river all over herself at 7th and kentucky and i didn’t have a shred of extra clothing with me. (another lesson, i guess.)
other lessons i’ve been digging this week: 1) cecilia’s tutorial on how to make patterns, 2) jen’s polaroid journal made from glassine envelopes, 3) jan’s painful reflection on hauling too much crap down the stairs, and 4) jennifer’s brilliant article on the struggle between art and ambition, the dilemma of putting your passions on the market, and that tiresome question of “what do you do.” and of course, please visit alexandra, who chose this weekword and always has wise (and funny) lessons of her own to share.
[Re-posted from Aimee’s blog by permission.]
this is what our little one said this morning when i tried to help her with something. she is our leader, the strategist, the tester, the fearless pistol.
this is how our older one spends her days, our dreamer, the experimenter, the one who consistently eats her ice cream cones from the bottom up while she gazes at the sky.
i’m not sure where i would be without either of them. they are my teachers.
Crossposted from Artsyville.
for today’s corner view, i’ll spare you the view and turn on the audio instead. my seven year old has a relationship with the english language like none other and these are just a few of the things she’s uttered over the past few weeks. when she was younger i begged for a translator, but none appeared so i’ve learned to figure out her cryptospeak on my own. some days it puts me in tears of frustration and other days i just grab and hug her to pieces. just reading this makes me want to go yank her and her mismatching socks out of the classroom and give her a huge smooch. she is the muse for so much of what i do, and i worry that sometimes i take her for granted. writing it down helps me not to do that.
say hello to jane for some lovely corners of homes around the world, including her own. if you scroll to her eighth photo you’ll see some familiar magnets, including one very bad word in spanish. hee.
Crossposted from Artsyville, by Aimee Myers Dolich.
Crossposted from Artsyville, by Aimee Myers Dolich.
an EXTRA special thank you goes today to the fabulous jennifer new, who published my artwork this week on her recently started blog mothers of invention. jennifer, who is also the author of drawing from life: the journal as art (a must-read for art journalers), spun off the MOI blog from her series of excellent articles on the challenges that women face while balancing a creative career with the round-the-clock demands of raising a family. she is currently working on a book proposal to give the many creative mamas out there a much needed resource on how to manage those challenges.
jennifer’s articles have put a voice to many of the feelings i’ve had since my first child arrived nearly six years ago. in her words i recognize the despair and resentment i’ve felt from having to abandon a great idea or cut short a creative process because someone won’t take a nap, needs something, is systematically emptying out every dresser drawer in the house, or just won’t let me complete a thought.
her writing has also made me realize how much of my creativity i owe to my children. the urge to create came and went during my pre-baby years, but never consistently, nor with much conviction or purpose. once my girls burst on the scene, so did my desire to create, and that desire fed on itself until it became an essential part of my life, my way of making sense of the world.
just watching my children grow and learn is creativity in progress. they constantly push me out of my comfort zone and i think that’s essential territory for an artist to explore. they approach life with a freshness that cuts to my heart when i stop and take the time to think about what they’re seeing and feeling. life is so new to them; they’re trying to understand things that i expect and take for granted. they say and do things that would never occur to me. their interpretations of the world take my mind in unexpected directions.
my girls have also taught me to live in the moment. with children, there is no tomorrow, no yesterday, only now. because of them I’ve learned to pay closer attention to my surroundings because I have to, and I’m surprised by what I see and what I missed before. i create with an intensity and purpose that i didn’t fully understand before they came into my life. recognizing the significance of those small moments has helped me to be a better mother to my girls as well as my art.
so thank you, jennifer, for your insightful writing on such a complex topic, and for bringing together such a diverse group of women to discuss our common challenge. we are parents, we are creatives — and in order to satisfy both of those worlds, we must be mothers of invention as well.
[Editor’s note: Aimee Dolich of Artsyville is an irresistible artist and a lovely person. Aimee has agreed to have several posts from her archives re-posted here. Enjoy! I look forward to sharing more of Aimee on these pages in future.]
Crossposted from Artsyville
there is a danger in daring to doodle during the day when a toddler is on the prowl, as you can see in this five minute wrath of a two year old. and i don’t even have the heart to show you the toothpaste wrath of a six year old. imagine an entire tube of sculptures on the light fixtures, the wall, the bathtub, the floor; bathroom shelves adorned with crisp stripes, sink knobs thoughtfully painted, the basin a sea of blue. what’s that you say? this and this? OK… i’ll try… but alas, i think daylight creating is out of the question for the moment. back to moonlighting for a while 😉