A moment before five
Oil on canvas
By Lily Mae Martin
61cm x 57cm
Merry birthday my little pickle xox
It’s summer 2010 and I’m sitting on my bed trying to read a book, it’s the first book I have attempted to read since having my baby. The book is The Divided Heart by Rachel Power, recommended to me by an old work mate from Melbourne. I read interviews from women whose work is familiar to me, less familiar and unknown. I read how women with more than one child balance their creative lives and parenting. I think how the hell do people have more than one? Am I ever going to do life things again?
A week prior to this I had been in hospital – where we had to stay for much longer than most due to many, many complications – and I recall a midwife asking me “So, what kind of artist are you?” It was one of the first times someone had addressed me and not my body parts. I remember out of the blur I focused on her expectant face.. I literally had no idea what she had just said, I had no idea what artist meant. “Artist? What?” And she said “Your notes say that you’re an artist. What kind of art do you make?”
I think I just shrugged and went back to sobbing.
That moment always sticks out to me. Artist had been a definitive part of my identity for as long as I could remember and I had had this experience which pretty much stripped me bare. I am forever thankful for my old work mate reaching out to me, her child a little older than a baby by then and she would have known or at least had an inkling, of where I was at. She gave me something that I would continue to go back to on this journey, it’s a bit like a reference guide. But you know, people’s stories and experience rather than statistics..
So, it is now 2015 and Rachel Power has rereleased this book with new interviews, including one with yours truly. I feel so incredibly lucky, I am so incredibly lucky, to be part of this.
Next week the book will be launched at Readings in Carlton, Melbourne by Clare Bowditch. Details of the event are here: linky
Rachel Power will also be appearing at a number of literary events which you can read about over at her blog The Rachel Papers.
I will be at the Williamstown Literary Festival with Rachel Power, Sally Rippin and Lisa Gorton in June, details here: WILLY LIT FEST
And the last handy link I will leave you with – you can buy a copy of the book here. Even if you have read it, maybe there is someone you could purchase it for, like my old workmate did all those years ago!