I am lying on the couch trying to read a book from the library. There are constant interruptions, even though in theory, this should be a fine time for reading. I really want to read this book. I am re-reading the same paragraph for the fifth time when…
‘Mum can I have an orange’?
‘Yes you can have an orange’.
‘Mum is this a mandarin or an orange’? two millisecond pause… ‘Muuum is this a mandarin or an orange’?
Thump, a large orange object summits the couch and lands on my arm and yes it is indeed an orange…
‘Mum will you peel it’?
I find myself reflecting that if it is that hard as a parent just to access someone else’s creative outputs, (ie, read a book), how much harder it is to find the creative space to write your own.
‘ The Divided Heart ‘ by Rachel Power explores the struggles and triumphs of trying to combine creative work with being a mother, through a series of interviews with Australian artists and with her own narrative woven through it. The divided heart in the title refers to a split self; the sense that to succeed at one thing means to fail at the other. It is an honest and intimate book. After reading the book I feel that these women are friends. I want to give them a hug and in some cases offer to babysit.
This is a topic I have put thought into. Some insights could have been written by me (on an extremely eloquent day), others hit me anew, ‘that’s right!’ Something in the ‘that’s right’ category came from single father Chester Eagle.
‘ It sounds impossible but, after all, even the most hard-pressed parent usually manages to brush teeth, iron the odd garment , make a bed or remember to buy tomatoes, so why not write as well? I mean it. Why not’
His comment opens up questions about priority and worth and perceived selfishness. I wonder whether there is a gender bias to the ability to even say that. Or I could just take it at face value, say ‘ that’s right,’ stop questioning and sit down and start writing.