How Becoming an Artist at 53 Helped Me to Grieve–and Find Joy

All my life, no matter where I was or what I was doing (including earning an undergraduate degree in mathematics), I thought of myself as a writer, mostly a poet, but one who would venture into other literary arts, from personal essays to short fiction. I played guitar, but did not consider myself to be a musician. And I knitted, but would hardly cLiam to be a fiber artist. In my personal and professional lives, I wrote: happy, sad, busy, engaged, exhausted or exhilarated, from the moment I could first spell my name, I wrote.

But when my 94-year old grandmother died last winter, I had no language but tears. The fact of her very long life, and its profound connection to mine, did not mitigate my grief. When I went to write about it, my usual way to cope with emotions, good and sad, I could not.

Instead, inspired by something I had observed among the visual artists in a creativity group I belong to on Facebook, I thought  I might try to draw. The artists had introduced me to something called Zentangles, so I went to Michael’s craft shop to buy pens and paper. While there I was drawn—of course—to the pens, which included a gorgeous collection of watercolor pens. I bought two packs.
Milestones

I have since published a book, a tribute to the women who made me, entitled  What Are Mothers For? On sale now via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/dp/0692562370, it is a cheerful gift for any mother, or anyone who has ever mothered you.

Proceeds up to $500 will be donated to Reading Partners Baltimore
Learn more about this effective program and how it changes the lives of children and volunteers. The volunteers participate in schools throughout the city, working one-on-one with children ages 5-to-8 who struggle to read.

This post originally appeared on Architects of Change by Maria Shriver. For the complete story, click here.

I Came to Live in Color

I have spent so much of my life seeking to connect and be connected with others, that it rarely seemed worth the effort to connect to myself. I had so much invested in other relationships. And adulthood, with its usual joys, challenges, demands, losses and more, left little time to do much more than keep the trains running (or the house standing) as my husband and I raised our six children.

From "What Are Mothers For?"

From “What Are Mothers For?”

My longing to be connected is rooted in the oh-so-human need to love and be loved. For some of us, it takes a lifetime to understand that this means loving ourselves, too. And for most of my life, such connection has come through the roles I have played, first as a daughter and sister, and later as a lover, wife, mother, and grandmother. But most of all, as a writer.

From the moment I wrote my first sentence, I decided I was a writer. I have written ever since, moving from childhood limericks and lovelorn adolescence to a master’s degree in creative writing, and a career as a writer of essays, articles, and more. I have shelves full of journals that date from 1974, when I was 12.

– See more at: http://www.disruptivewomen.net/2015/12/03/i-came-to-live-in-color-reaching-the-age-of-audacity/#sthash.1kWx8D7W.dpuf