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The Muse In Your Pram

Apr
11
2006

By the calendar it’s spring in the Northern Hemisphere, and in many (though not all) places, the weather is cheery. Spring also means tax season, tra la la, so perhaps you need a bit more cheeriness in your life, and if so here’s some from a short-story writer who’s a father.
This interview in the New York Times by Deborah Solomon talking to author George Saunders touches on his writing, which I’m just going to take on faith in the Times and assume is excellent, since I haven’t read a word he’s written, and that, I want to state clearly, shows a lack in no one but me. But I like what he says here:

That for me was the big turning point in my artistic life, when my wife and I had our kids. The world got infused with morality again. Every person in the world should theoretically be loved as much as I love my daughters. It’s that Martin Buber “I and Thou” thing. Even this lowly wino was once somebody’s beloved son. Or should have been.

Besides the boiling down of an attitude to the world that parenthood at its best can provoke, the reminder that children can inspire the artist parent, rather than drag him or her down permanently into a supposedly mindless land of diapers and dishes is always good to hear.
(It’s a point similar to what Katherine Ellison apparently made in her book published last year, “The Mommy Brain: How Motherhood Makes Us Smarter.” I say apparently because it’s another book I, sigh, still haven’t read; whether or not I have more brains as a mother is debatable – the change for the worse in the quantity of my spare time and income is clear, and let’s hear it for book reviews.
(And let’s give a raspberry to that quote – the pram in the hall is the enemy of art, or something.)
Daddies don’t have to work against the stereotype that nurturing negates intelligence. But if men point out examples to the opposite, perhaps the idea can carry over to mommies too. Hey, I’m not saying mothers need to be seen as smarter than they were (although I won’t say no if you ask); just a reminder that it’s possible to concentrate on kids and something else too at times would be enough.

Share  Posted by Deborah Klosky at 3:22 PM | Permalink

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