A guest post to motivate, encourage, and inspire
Mothers, Daughters, and Permission To Create
Six months after both my parents had passed on, I dreamt that they came back. I didn’t like it one bit. They were ostensibly there to support my brother in his new career as a stand-up comedian, but I knew they were up to no good. Waiting in the green room, my mom started baiting me. “I suppose you plan to take your boyfriend’s book and publish it?” She said it as if it were a terrible accusation, but clearly she was just as demented as she’d been in her last years of life. She didn’t even know I was married, of course I didn’t have a boyfriend. “I have no intention of publishing any book,” I said, haughtily.
I woke up laughing at myself, until I remembered I had recently started writing a novel, which I absolutely (secretly, audaciously) intended to publish. An insightful friend interpreted that I felt that to do this work meant being unfaithful to my husband and family.
She was absolutely right. Where did I get this idea? From my mother, of course. She had been a painter, but went into graphic art so that she could make a living. Her art adorned the house, but as I thought about it, I realized that I had not one single memory of seeing her paint, or draw, or make any kind of art, unless it was a paid job or volunteer work for a non-profit. All the paintings hanging in every room had been created before she’d had children.
Once I asked her why she didn’t paint, and she said she’d take it up again when she was retired. When that time came, I asked her again, and she said it just seemed like work.
The novel is done now, but I’m dragging my feet on self-publishing. It’s never been easier, or less expensive, but the bills eat up the money every month. I have technical problems. The house is falling apart. Getting the kids to their activities, appropriately attired, and well-fed, takes as much time as a person would be willing to give to the job, and my book is a piece of crap nobody wants to read anyway.
But we are creative beings, and not to respect the creative impulse is to starve the soul. When I think about giving up and tossing my flash drive in the garbage disposal, I imagine the wonderful paintings my mom might have made, if she’d given herself permission. I think of how incredibly proud I would have been, as a girl, to see a show of my mom’s art. I think of my daughters, who don’t particularly appreciate the hours I spend at the computer, not playing with them. I’m doing this for them, too, because I want them to see me writing. When I come back from the dead to haunt their dreams, it won’t be to squelch them, but to inspire them, to urge them forward, to follow their visions, to write, paint, design buildings, be free. I will tell them, Let your soul sing, it’s the greatest gift you can give to your daughters.
Join our After Page One series. We’re looking for 300 to 500-word guest posts that motivate, inspire, and encourage other mama-writers, and we’d love to feature YOUR thoughts about getting started, getting back to a writing project, integrating writing with motherhood, reading, or having a positive attitude. The list is endless, but here are some questions that might help you get started. We’ll publish a short bio at the bottom of your post so readers can learn more about you and your projects.