Tuesday, October 8, 2013

the welder in the basement

All of you who have been around woodbird for a while will know I'm kind of obsessed with the balance between motherhood and the making of art (two things which are, in my life at least, often at odds with one another).

Which is why I was so delighted to read this Modern Love piece in the New York Times last Sunday.

I admire Janet Benton's honesty, tender acceptance, forgiveness, and ultimately, admiration of her mother's drive and dedication to her politics and her art (which sometimes led to neglect).

Janet also happens to be dear to me. Ty and I moved to Philadelphia in 2005 to play music but my secret pact with myself was that I would begin sharing my writing, too. I found a writing class on Craigslist that took place in some stranger's home in Mount Airy. Other than one less-than-successful fiction writing class in college, I hadn't shown anyone my work before. I drove to that house in the rain one fall evening, terrified and nearly turning back. But I didn't. Janet gave me, over those months, the green light to do this writing thing. I like to think of her feminist mother's welding torch as lighting a flame that has reached many others, myself included. I'd like to be another conduit for that flame. What better thing to do with our lives?