Monday, November 26, 2007

Post-holiday slump; reconnecting with Mojo

The Thanksgiving holiday is over and I feel a fizz of effervescence escaping from me, leaving me deflated. The cap was screwed on tightly all weekend, and now that we are finally back to "normal," a delayed emotional reaction is hitting me. I feel irreversibly tired and more than a little twitterpated.

I've never been able to solve the mystery of why family life is inherently difficult (not even in my head, much less in a way that I can write about). I don't spend a great deal of time with my extended family, but whenever the generations cross paths, we seem to cross wires. There are many complicated threads among all of us, but one that I can share is that just about every female from age 8 to 90 in our brood is tempermentally an alpha female. So put us all together and it's an interesting, insoluble puzzle, as we try to reach a new equilibrium, but never do.

I happen to be reading She Got Up Off the Couch by Haven Kimmel right now. Haven is such an amazing writer that I feel completely inadequate to even describe her brilliance. She's also one of the most unassuming, natural people I've ever met so she'd probably hate hearing me say that. The best I can do is to say that she has been paying attention her whole life, and she has an uncanny ability to find the numinous in the absolutely ordinary backdrop of life, without being sentimental or mawkish.

Haven may be best known for her earlier memoir, A Girl Named Zippy: Growing Up Small in Mooreland, Indiana. Although she doesn't generally believe in sequels, Haven continued telling her family's story in She Got Up Off the Couch, in large part to relate that story of what happened to her mother Delonda after she stirred from her semi-permanent place in the living room, went to college and excelled as an English major, against all odds. I am not finished with the book yet so I haven't seen the full extent of Delonda's transformation, but as I read about her awakening, and anger, this weekend in particular I feel a kinship toward this woman with whom I would have thought I had nothing in common.

My own writing feels like it will be my salvation. As I drove away from my house this morning feeling overwhelmed and frustrated, my mind started to wrap itself around a complicated set of issues relating internet safety and privacy. Just having a new puzzle to work out in the form of a CNET blog post (to be written after this one) set my mind at ease. Even though it's a family and technology blog post, at the core of my being it's still a Mojo Mom activity because it's exercising my brain.

One of my favorite quotes is from choreographer Twyla Tharp: Art is the only way to run away without leaving home. I remain convinced that stressed-out Moms, who have less of natural opportunity for art than just about anyone, absolutely need art in their lives, whether it's through reading, writing, singing, dancing, watching or participating. You fill in the blank: what does creativity mean to you? Keep that flame burning, whatever it takes.

Two of my favorite books on creativity are Twyla Tharp's The Creative Habit, in addition to Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way. Whatever else you do as a mother, please accept the mantle of discovering and becoming the artist that you are meant to be.

This is not meant as pressure or another duty to add to your overburdened to-do list; it is an invitation to come out and play!

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Blogger CK Holder said...

I can totally relate. Only after I started writing as my escape from the confines of motherhood, have I finally found peace.

10:38 PM  

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