When a person is married for a long time, habits and routines evolve, and one problem a writer has is “finding time to carve out time for a creative project.” This reminds me of Harriett Beecher Stowe, who wrote to her sister-in-law with a complaint that sounds familiar. Stowe wrote, Since I began this note, I have been called off at least a dozen times—once for the fishman, to buy a codfish—once to see a man who had brought me some baskets of apples—once to see a book man, then to nurse the baby- then into the kitchen to make a chowder for dinner, and now I am at it again for nothing, but deadly determination enables me to ever write—it is rowing against wind and tide.
I am fortunate that my husband has been supportive of my writing. Even so, there are times when it is and was difficult to carve out time for a creative project. It amused me to read Mason Currey’s article “What Women Artists Knew About Work” (March 16-17, 2019) for the Wall Street Journal. She studied the work habits of a group of 143 women writers, artists, and performers, from Virginia Woolf to Martha Graham. She says women have faced a more daunting array of daily obstacles than men because a woman’s life is so very fragmented. “Their male counterparts had to be determined too, of course [to succeed], but very often “they enjoyed extensive behind the scenes assistance—from wives, mothers, or paid domestic help—that enabled them to pursue their work with single-minded intensity “
Anne Morrow Lindbergh also wrote about the fragmented woman’s life, especially if married with family. In spite of the “obstacles,” I have enjoyed the writer’s life. During this time of “social distancing,” when we wait the lifting of the Coronavirus quarantines, I have been going through papers in my cluttered library. I come across goals I wrote out for my writings some fifty years ago. I look them over and reminisce. I have friends who write books, and they’ve made good money at it. They scold me because I lack “marketing skills.” Now is the era of marketing, working from home, social media, and having a “platform” so perhaps there is still time.
Grandma Moses didn’t begin painting until she was 78. The sculptor Louise Nevelson exhibited her works for 25 years without making a sale. She got her big break shortly before turning sixty. Painter Alma Thomas didn’t become a full-time artist until she retired from teaching at 68. I can appreciate what pianist Clara Schumann said about her work: “Nothing surpasses creative activity even if only for those hours of self-forgetfulness in which one breathes solely in the world of sound.” I don’t regret the fifty-four busy, fragmented, chaotic years. I hope I can enjoy a few more. And, I just got an order from four people who wish to purchase my book Justin Was a Terror. Perhaps there is still time.