29 March 2005

Creative Women

I've been poking through Women's Life Writing for a few weeks now, and found these quotes by May Sarton to be quite interesting:
These young women are determinded to have children as a part of a fulfilled life and to do original work as well. I admire them wholeheartedly. But I am always up against my own hard view that it is next to impossible to lead a fulfilled life as a human being and do original work of the highest caliber, if one is a woman.

And, in response to hearing that some former students who were then mothers were writing poetry: "The news made me happy. It also made me aware once more of how rarely a women is able to continue to create after she marries and has children."


  1. Sadly this can be true. Unless you have a supportive spouse who will take on the responsibilty of the children, or even without children, to allow the time required to be creative, it is unlikely to happen.

    Hopefully those who have good spouses, or who have children old enough to take care of themselves, find some time to be creative in whatever field.

    However, I think that sometimes we overlook the fact that raising kids, cooking, and even cleaning, decorating, and gardening, are all creative endevors by nature.

  2. A supportive spouse certainly helps. I know that I am able to do more because my husband wants me to. And I completely agree that many of the things mothers do anyway can be very creative. Why do we have beautifully pieced quilts from one hundred years ago when the women could have simply sewn fabric together with no thought to design?

    But is a supportive spouse a requirement? I've been reading a biography of Harriet Beecher Stowe. She was able to do a variety of things- in spite of a not very capable husband and having a lot of children. I'd hate to have my productivity tied to what my husband is willing to do for me.

  3. Amira, I tend to agree. My motto has been "necessity is the mother of invention". While yes, I have a supportive spouse, I find it was my own motivation that I battled with the most. I truly believe there are those in whom creativity screams to get out, yet the lack of personal motivation, dispells the screams.

    On a side note I am glad to read that you are going to get to go to Kyrgyzstan! What a wonderful adventure! I look forward to reading about your journey and experiences.

  4. I have a real problem with motivation. I have come to the conclusion that I am incredibly lazy. The problem now is that I need to feel bad about that.

    It is very easy when you're home all day to let a lot of things slide. I always figure there's plenty of time for everything, and then realize that several years have gone by with nothing to show for it.

  5. I have also come to believe that certain creative endeavors that require sustained time and attention are difficult if not impossible to do while running a home and rearing children.

    This article about the LDS Women of Faith Art Show had a poignant comment to that effect:

    They walk the ordinary paths of life, struggling like the rest of us, sacrificing much for their families, and perhaps even setting aside, many times, worldly pursuits, such as their art for a time, for their families.

    The reviewer/reporter is a painter herself. Happily, I've saw a new painting by her a year after this, perhaps she is figuring out ways to work it all together.

    I haven't.

    My hope is, instead of having it all at once, I'll have it all in stages.

    Harriet Beecher Stowe had her sister Catherine; didn't Catherine live with her, or was that only before Harriet married? I know Harriet's writings were important family income. But didn't Harriet also employ people to help run her home?

    Harriet Beecher Stowe had seven children.

  6. I try to set goals by the stage if life I'm in and not worry about what I can't get done right now. I'm struggling with this a little now since my youngest is will be 5 this year and I'm getting out of the mommy-all-the-time mode. But I expect I will have to return to that mode when we are able to have children again, so to get a masters degree, etc. now might not be very effective because I might have a baby again soon.

    I think that Catherine wasn't always living with Harriet. And when she was, she caused Harriet problems because she often was coming up with new projects for Harriet that took up a lot of time.