Paint Schoodic

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Friday, September 26, 2014

Creativity

Maternity, Mary Cassatt, 1890. Cassatt never married nor had children. It would have been impossible in her era to mix her career and a family.
Sorry about the delayed post. I was busy caring for a baby.

Actually, I’m not all that sorry. After all, all other creativity derives from this fundamental beginning of life. The word “create” derives from the Latin creare: ‘to make, bring forth, produce, beget,’ and is related to crescere: ‘arise, grow.’ My etymology dictionary also links the latter to the Greek kouros (boy), and kore (girl), but I’ll take that with a grain of salt.

Most of the artists I know are childless, and the ones who do have children struggle to resolve the demands of their careers with the demands of parenting. Not that this isn’t true of all careers, but there’s something about the creative impulse that seems to channel in one direction or another. I’m an outlier because not only do I have kids, I have a lot of them.

Breakfast in Bed, Mary Cassatt, 1897. 
My daughter had a difficult delivery and I’m back in Pittsfield helping her until I’m sure she’s recovered.

We Americans have a weird attitude toward parenting. In trying to give women equal access to the marketplace, we’ve relegated parenting to the status of a hobby or a part-time job. Done right, it’s difficult work, demanding high levels of organization, energy, intelligence and time. My daughter is a well-paid professional, and I don’t want to see her dump her career to stay home. But having worked through my own parenting years, I also don’t want to see her wandering around in a fog of exhaustion, either.

But enough of this. Junior needs changing and his mom needs her meds before we start the round of doctor’s office, visiting nurse, visiting specialist. This baby stuff is a lot of work.

Baby Reaching For An Apple, Mary Cassatt, 1893
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