From our News Desk: It takes real dedication to find the time to write when you are raising a family, and many women do it, even holding down a couple of jobs at the same time. Being a mother may be a full time job (so says the cliché), and then some, but despite the constraints, there’s time for creativity. A simple concept can take on a life of its own and then grow into a full fledged event.
So say hello to Suzi Banks Baum who you see in the picture, a pretty down to earth mom, but a bit of a Renaissance woman who writes, photographs and creates collage art. She was deep in the wilds of raising two healthy teenagers when she realized she was engaged in yet another major act of creativity. Raising children. In talking with other mothers, however, she realized how few of them shared her view. Most dismissed their smaller, everyday creative acts as inconsequential, whether they were planning meals or quilting. Suzi sees it differently, and wants to hear from other mothers.
I think she is on to something.
In her March 2nd event, “Out of the Mouths of Babes: An Evening of Mothers Reading to Others,” she brings together several writers who, in the process of raising children, found richness, solace, and even an artistic identity in the details.
Exceptional mothers, fascinating people
For the gathering, Suzi Banks Baum has invited some interesting authors. People like poet, author, and op-ed columnist Michelle Gillett, whose accomplishments include awards from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, several collections of poetry, essays, and recipes, and two grown daughters.
Award-winning playwright Jenny Laird, who finds inspiration on the axis of child-rearing, epilepsy, developmental and learning disabilities, literature, and Buddhism.
Alana Chernila, a Great Barrington selectman, mother of two young daughters, and author of The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying and Start Making, which is due in the spring.
Our colleague, author and editor Gina Hyams, co-editor of the anthology Searching for Mary Poppins: Women Write About the Relationship Between Mothers and Nannies, and specialist in “mysterious and confounding subjects” such as pie, nannies, incense, folk art, death, and room service.
Janet Reich Elsbach, a sheep farmer and mother of three who writes about Tolstoy, pickles, gardening, and “assessing the real chances that we the people will come to our senses in time to save the bees, the oceans and the last vestiges of true democracy”.
And herself of course, blogger and event coordinator Suzi Banks Baum, who writes at laundrylinedivine.com about seeing and celebrating the sacred in everyday life, and whose forthcoming book recounts the “wild adventure” of raising herself as she raised her children.
Banks Baum and Matthew Tannenbaum, of The Bookstore in Lenox, MA, will facilitate a discussion following the readings.
To celebrate the event, Banks Baum is also hosting three months of posts around the topic of mothers and creativity at her blog, www.laundrylinedivine.com. “No mother is lacking in creativity,” says Banks Baum. “Whether she stays at home with her children, or works outside of the home while someone else looks after her kids, she is using major creative muscles to make it all work. My desire is to provide women with a vehicle to discuss the importance of creativity in their daily lives; to witness the beauty of words written by other mothers; and to emerge from this event inspired to celebrate and engage with their own creativity.”
Part of the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers
Out of the Mouths of Babes: An Evening of Mothers Reading to Others presents as part of the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers on Friday, March 2, 2012 from 7:00 – 9:30pm. The location is Blodgett Hall, Simon’s Rock College of Bard, 84 Alford Road, Great Barrington, MA. Bedtime snacks will be served, and pajamas are welcome. For more information, please visit www.outofthemouthsofbabes.org or call Suzi Banks Baum at (413) 429-1799.
About Suzi Banks Baum
Suzi Banks Baum has been a full-time mom for the last 17 years. Her formative experiences include performing with Actor’s Theatre of Louisville, sewing costumes with Martha Graham, and graduating from Mama Gena’s School of the Womanly Arts in New York City, where she has also served as a Big Sister. She is writing her first book, Laundry Line Divine: A Wild Soul Book for Mothers, and lives with her husband and two children in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts.
About the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers
The Berkshire Festival of Women Writers (BFWW) was created in honor of Women’s History Month. Throughout the month of March, BFWW hosts events at local libraries, bookstores, theaters and schools throughout Berkshire County, all of which are open to the public. Major funding for the 2012 Berkshire Festival of Women Writers is provided by the John A. Sellon Charitable Trust, Bard College at Simon’s Rock, and local cultural councils of the Massachusetts Council on the Arts, including the towns of Alford-Egremont, Pittsfield, Richmond, Washington, and West Stockbridge.