In December of 2018, I started a project under the beautifully generous structure of Lenka Clayton’s An Artist Residency in Motherhood. I wrote the following as part of my planning document:
My creative practice has dwindled to a tiny ember. It’s nearly burned out completely, but not quite. It exists in glimpses. Moments in my mind. Occasional 30-second noodling. I have no dedicated space or time for it. That seemed ok for a bit. I needed a break, but now I’m finding that I miss the work. There’s a space in me that aches without it.
Parenthood has impacted my working practice in infinite ways. Some are simple/logistical (and equally impacting are the fact that I started a business around the same time that my son was born). But other impacts of parenthood are vast and deep. My brain is different. My sense of priorities are different. My world has become both smaller and more focused on basic things like food and sleep, but it has also become bigger as I learn to see the world through the new eyes of a growing mind. Parenthood has been a gift to my heart and creativity, but a challenge to my time and energy capacity – in terms of making performance work.
Also, it’s just tough to feel like performance matters right now. The world is on fire. Even before all of the current situation, I was feeling like it really wasn’t necessary for one more artist (me) to put one more show out into the increasingly capitalist art market. How can I make something that feels healing/grounding for me, connective for others, and not part of all the fame-chasing?
I want to work on something about parenthood. And about loss. About the grief of miscarriage layered with the joy of building a family. I want to create space for others to share stories. I have a lot of questions about form.
I did go on to write a piece as part of that project. I read it to some people in a dance studio. Because it’s a dance made of words. I see that now.
During my “residency,” Lenka Clayton reached out to any of us who had signed up as working through her site. She asked us to document our day on July 15, 2019. She asked us to send the documentation to her, and she was going to compile the “Mothers’ Days” into a book. I documented my day, and it was a lovely exercise. I sent it to Clayton, and it faded from my mind.
Today, the book arrived.
My day is there, along with 80 other moms in 19 countries. I’m a bit gobsmacked to hold it in my hand.