Tuesday, April 17, 2012

the divided heart - art and motherhood

Four years ago when River was two, with the sun was shining on us in Byron Bay our home away from home where we spend our winters, I was at my limit of being a patient mummy. Yearning for a moment of contemplation that was nowhere in sight I put River in the car and drove to Mullumbimby. River fell asleep on the way. I parked the car under a tall, sprawling limbed tree and stretched myself out across the front bench seat of our station wagon and took a nap too.

On waking we left the car in the shade and wandered into town for no particular reason. The bookshop seemed a good place to start our meandering. As River made his way to the display of children's books I scanned the covers of the latest non-fiction titles and staring back at me from the top shelf was my balm for that difficult day: Rachel Power's book The Divided Heart - Art and Motherhood. Bound between two beautifully designed covers Rachel shares the honest words of 26 Australian women who are  mothers and artists, whose stories I and many others could easily relate to. The interviews capture so well the feeling of mothers loving their children so deeply and simultaneously yearning for space of heart, head and hands to delve into their art form.

Finding this book made everything ok again that day. Not because a vast stretch of time became mine to ponder and write, no. Because reading the book transported me into the hearts and homes of artists whose work I had long admired and introduced me to ones I hadn't heard of, and because whether your art form is photography, painting, composing music or being at home creating a garden or a meal, all mothers have yearnings beyond caring for their children and it is heartening to read others experiences.

Many of you may already know and love this book, but I wasn't blogging in 2008 when it was first published and it is too good so I had to share it now.

Rachel also blogs about 'art, motherhood and everything in between' at The Rachel Papers. You can buy The Divided Heart on her blog. Seek it out.

1 comment:

  1. Hello Nikki!

    I stumbled across your blog recently in my quest to get more whole foods into my life. I have been reading through your archives and this post sealed the deal with how much I adore your space.

    I recently (10 months ago yesterday)became a mother to Anouk. She has changed my life in ways I never imagined and I am a completely different mother to the one I thought I'd be.

    In the beginning I struggled with BFing (it never happened for us) and the fact that this tiny little being was so completely dependent on me.

    I found this Rachel's book and it changed my life. I read it voraciously, underlining whole paragraphs and folding down corners because finally I found women that articulated what I was thinking and feeling.

    I recommend the book to all new mothers, artists or not and am always so glad to hear of other mothers getting peace of mind from it.

    Thanks for your blog, Luna.


Thanks for your comments. I read every one!

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