Indeed, to relocate the heart of existence in the home and in motherhood is an inherently subversive artistic act. If Kim Brooks worries that the job of art is to unsettle and the job of a mother is to soothe, perhaps there is no more unsettling solution than to insist she can do both, that there is, in fact, no conflict there, that motherhood itself is dark and uncharted and frightening. What if, in fact, motherhood is a boon to the artist? What if writing motherhood is the frontier, is the uncharted territory into which we must step if literature is to advance?Mother, Writer, Monster, Maid, Rufi Thorpe, Vela
I am simmering the idea of creating a collaborative art project about art & mothering & spirituality. There is just so much stuff to be examined, probed, and just simply understood in the daily struggles of being a mother. So much… but all the evidences and data evaporate as quickly as our memories just in the same way I can’t remember what we had for dinner last night. It’s just that my brain can’t hold them all. Its foremost priority is to make this day turn, so it must employ itself to the thought of what I am going to make for breakfast and what I need to stock up in the fridge.
As I am allowing this time to myself I realise the stuff from last dinner is still there in the mind somewhere. With an intention I can let it emerge. I was fighting my reluctance to step into the kitchen at 6PM. I made my body to move and stand in front of the sink and open the fridge, by the force of complaining to my partner that I already spent three hours cooking in the morning and no-one else in the house worries about what to eat next…. there is actually a long story to tell.
So I want to collect these stories from people who are doing the work of mothering everyday. Together we want to make the time for ourselves to remember some of the details in our quotidian world and turn some of these stories into tangible materials. The working title of this project is Mothering Our Varied Lives.
To make the most of oneself is not to forsake one’s identity as a woman or as a mother. It is not to become an art monster if the monster in question is nothing but a drunk asshole. But it is also not to bend entirely, to flap hinge open to your children and your husband and the underwear that may be nestled behind a door, and give up the terrible, wonderful, furtive dream that is the self. To come second entirely, to be only mother, maid, cook, wife, is also not to make the most of oneself. One must learn how and when not to bend. It is this, the balance between selflessness and selfishness, that is so difficult, but also, I would like to believe, worthwhile.Rufi Thorpe