• Robin Martin

“And it is here that Adah makes the decision that seems to me impressive and important for all artists with children. She reasons that since her children will someday be adults, she will fulfill the ambition of her life not only for herself, but also for them. The ambition of her life is to write a novel, and on the first day she has her oldest child in a nursery and her youngest two down for their naps, she begins writing it. Since this novel is written to the adults her children will become, it is okay with her if the distractions and joys they represent in her life, as children, will become a part of it….

In this way, she integrates the profession of writer into the cultural concept of mother/worker that she retains from Ibo society. Just as the African mother has traditionally planted crops, pounded maize, and done her washing with her baby strapped to her back, so Adah can write a novel with her children playing in the same room. …

The notion that that this is remotely possible causes a rethinking of traditional Western ideas about how art is produced. Our culture separates the duties of raising children from those of creative work…. It raises fundamental questions about how creative and prosaic life is to be lived and to what purpose.”

~ from Alice Walker’s 1976 essay, ” A Writer Because of, Not in Spite of, Her Children.”

Author: Robin Martin

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  • Oooohh…I must read this!

  • Marie

    I like this. I’ve definitely been guilty of separating the idea of raising kids and creating art. I think the truth is that for the artist, life and art are too intimately linked to separate certain types of life and life activities from the overall project.

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