There is a most gorgeous, yet searing, short story written by Tillie Olsen titled, I Stand Here Ironing. Whenever I think of artists, women artists, women artists who are also mothers– I think of this story and my heart aches.*
Somehow in a world where everything is supposed to be easier– the challenge for women to carve out time, space and fortitude to create is still at a premium.
Of all the lovely notes, hugs, and whispered words of appreciation we have received over the years, the gratitude from mothers has always had a particularly fierce quality.
Their thanks is often delivered with a frisson of danger, as if they had been teetering at the very edge of the abyss and this time at Squam — the opportunity to sink into artful activity, the invitation to connect with other kindred creatives — operated as a kind of life boat.
If all things are possible, it would be really nice to live in a world where time for creativity and self-expression was given the same priority and respect as the most ordinary aspects of daily living that we know make us healthier human beings. To normalize time and energy spent on creative pursuits so that we might release the crushing belief that actions which cannot be commercialized or made profitable are somehow less valuable than earning money.
Imagine if we could reach a collective understanding that for many of us, to make things is to connect with our core self and therefore, an integral part of how we can most easily grow into the person we came here to be.
*I Stand Here Ironing is from a collection of short stories called, Tell Me a Riddle. If you have never read it– it’s worth seeking out — heartbreaking, wrenching and oh, so beautiful.