Women at Work

Some of you may have noticed my flashy new banner. Well, maybe it's not flashy, but it's new - and I think it's perfect. I must give all the credit to my friend, Sarah, who is a talented graphic designer. The red Lego stuck in the keyboard was her idea, and in my opinion, is a stroke of genius. Sarah has been in my house enough to know that I find Legos everywhere, from my washing machine to my morning coffee. That Lego has "mom trying to write" written all over it.

Sarah did my banner for me just because she's nice. Her actual professional pursuits are more along the lines of graphic design, magazine layout, and the like. She also makes beautiful, funny, and creative pamphlets, holiday greetings, birth announcements, invitations, event programs, and hand-made books. (Can I repeat that? On top of everything else, the woman is a book artist!). If you have the need for any such thing, you can find her at sarah@serifstudio.com.

By the way, aside from being a talented artist, Sarah is mom to two boys, wife to one man, a tireless volunteer at church and school, and a devoted friend. This is a woman who would just drop by to change all my beds or weed the garden or provide lunch when my illness was at its worst. She still does all kinds of little and not-so-little things to help me. How she had time to make a banner for my blog amidst her many other commitments, I do not know, but it got me to thinking about the amazing things that happen when there are Women at Work (okay, men too, but today I am thinking about several incredible, multi-tasking women I know).

I was feeling a little down about my writing this week, after having discovered a poet who, apparently, has already done my life's work. With three (yes, three! all of which I covet!) advanced degrees, a professorship, and a 20-year head start on me, he has written the poems that I wanted to write. At least, this is how I felt as I heard him read his work last weekend. But, Sarah, ever wise, said this to me:

"There will always be fabulous people in the world, but they won't be you. Only you can write your poems."

And only Sarah can make her cards, books, announcements and designs.
And only my mom can make her beautiful, delicious, nourishing meals.
And only CitricSugar can make her quilts (scroll down).
And only Amy can write her poems.
And only Kay can write her accounts of the lives of her children.
And only Deirdre can take her photographs.
And only Pam can write the stories of her family.
And only Muriel can provide her brand of spiritual direction and paint her paintings and craft her mosaics and write her calligraphy and knit her tea cozys, purses, and sweaters (Okay, Muriel's making all of us look bad, here, isn't she!?).
And only Susan can homeschool her children while also writing scholarly articles for reference books.
And only Holly can put together just the right outfits for her clients.

You get my drift. Each of us (man or woman) has a Life's Work to do during our short time on the earth. Only you can do yours, whatever mix of pursuits it is. There is some sacred responsibility in that, I think. So, I don't know about you, but I'm going to try not to worry too much about all the fabulous people out there. They might be fabulous, but they're not me, and I have some poems to write.

(In the Litany of the Women above, names have been changed to preserve anonymity.)

P.S. If you want to see some of Sarah's work, here it is (click to enlarge):


CitricSugar said...

Thank you, Molly!

I think there's something very Greco-Roman in seeing an artist, writer, poet or graphic designer you admire and determining that they have already written what you wanted to write... On days where I have a moment (or day) when I feel somehow inadequate about my own writing or endeavours, I try to think about Virgil. The Iliad and The Odyssey had already been written for ages (literally) when Virgil came along but he wrote the Aeneid which thrilled me in university for its combination of the works into some even greater poem. Then enter Joseph Conrad, who works threads of all of them into Heart of Darkness. I also think of Raleigh's Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd, which helped me understand a poem written more than a hundred years before. They all add to our collective understanding of the world at large and each other. And now, I suspect I'll remember this post in those moments.

Thank you for being Molly!

shaunms said...

How did I miss this before? (Was it the sick kid and the moving?) I remember in high school seeing a one-woman show about the life of Emily Dickinson, and then standing in the hall outside the theatre sobbing. When some kind person (drama teacher) found me and asked me why, I told her, "I will never be a writer like that."
She smiled and basically patted me on the head (being used to drama, I suppose), saying something to the effect that the depth of my desire and my intense sense of kinship to E.D. meant that I would very likely be a writer.
I don't know if I am a writer yet or not -- you know, somehow when you want to be a writer, nothing you have actually written "counts." But I still think she might have been right.