Saturday, January 14, 2012

Statement of Rationale (and a disclaimer)

Every once in a while, I search the inter-webs with the words ‘mother, artist’ to see what they will bring up. I’m looking for blogs written by women who have a life’s work, a calling, and become a mom, in spite of it. I’m hoping to find someone who has written a how-to guide that I can follow. They’ll be able to explain how to fully immerse oneself in one’s art and still be a really good mother. My biggest worry about not having found these women yet is that maybe they don’t exist; that to attempt both is quixotic. Out of this fear began this blog. Here, I reckon I can become what I have been looking for. Maybe through writing about my own journey, I can create a manual for it.

“But, Amy, so far you’ve written about fairly disparate things, leaving open ends, left out parts. Not all ‘mother’ and not all ‘artist’ and sometimes neither.”– Fictional Follower

I’d like to offer some justification for my actions here. Not that you require it. I’d just like to provide it:

First there’s this—I live in Berlin, Germany. By my account, Berlin is an experimental city that continues to find and reinvent itself, over and over. The people who migrate here, in my experience, usually share the same ethos. They come to make bold, incongruous moves, artistic or otherwise, without the fear of dramatic repercussions found in other cities. One can’t do that as easily in places like New York or London where the expectations are as high as the rents. But Berlin is cheap and nonchalant. There is no dream too ridiculous for Berlin and if the dreamer decides to take a detour, Berlin will still be there for them when they return. In fact, Berlin will have even gone so far as to forget there was ever a dream to be had, offering the opportunity to find a new one without anyone the wiser. Folks here truly embrace Berlin’s carefree nature and end up living many lifetimes within its walls, unburdened by consequence. I’ve become accustomed to the ethic here insofar as I know what to expect, but, in truth, it runs contrary to every fiber of my being. That’s not to say what I’ve written is meant to be a criticism of Berlin or its inhabitants. Really good art is created here by really remarkable people. It is just often done in a way in which I have never been able to work: with abandon. You see, I’m serious business, folks. I show up on time and I stay late. My dreams loom heavily and I’m always working towards them. I am earnest and I do not deviate. Failure is not an option (see: The Traumatic Terrible.) As envious as you must be of my austerity, rest assured, it can be a big bore. I want to change. I want to be more like Berlin. I hope it rubs off on me. The format of this blog is a start. I’m just going to write what I am inspired to write, devil may care style, until I have the answers I seek. If I leave ends untied and questions unanswered, please forgive me. I see this as a necessary part of the process.

Then there’s this—One thing I’ve learned from being a mom is that I can’t also be a perfectionist. It’s not compatible with childrearing. Children are messy, literally and figuratively. Their brains and their bodies are not yet organized. The second you have them figured out they change. Also, as I’ve mentioned here, you are often required, by the very heart beating in your chest, to drop everything and just ‘be’ with your child. That means all else stops, including time, until you are done. The worst damage to your meticulousness comes when you realize that none of your schedules or your blog posts or your how-d’ya-dos matter one iota next to those moments, gone too soon. What was once a well calculated plan of attack on your next five years as an artist becomes unpredictable, catch as catch can. Like Berlin. Maybe like this blog. Maybe like what it is I’m looking for.

Photo source found here.

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