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Fall 2013
 

What's not to love about New England in autumn? The landscape is putting on its spectacular show; the air is crisp; apples and squash are piled high. But underneath my appreciation for this beauty, a nagging dread pervades. To borrow a phrase from a beloved series, winter is coming.

The older I get, the more I yearn for a warmer climate. Why am I not an inveterate New Englander like all of my local friends? I've lived in Massachusetts for most of my life. I moved here from England when I was five, and aside from brief stints living in Europe, this is the place I've called home.

Maybe I'm just getting itchy for change, instinctively knowing that change is an important part of creative work. Experiencing new people and places is vital for any creative, but especially for writers. Despite my affection for my sweet little town, I'd like to live in a more urban environment. I fantasize about being able to walk to a farmer's market or coffee shop. I imagine how nice it would be to have neighbors in relative proximity -- and to live in a real-estate market that isn't quite so insanely expensive. I crave diversity and yes, milder winters.

I should take a moment to illustrate my desire for warmth. Two weeks ago, I finally turned the heat on after my fierce New England frugality caved to my dislike of cold. The night before last, when I was reading in bed, my husband climbed in beside me wearing his usual bedtime ensemble: boxers and a T-shirt. He looked over at me and laughed. Under our fluffy duvet, I was wearing flannel pajama pants, socks, two layers beneath a wool sweater, and had a scarf wrapped around my neck. "What?" I said, defensively. "I'm going to take the sweater and scarf off before I actually go to sleep!"

I was the one at my third-grader's football game last week wearing a down coat, hat, and gloves while other parents were running around in shorts and flip-flops.

You're probably getting the idea.

Circumstances may be conspiring to support a relocation. My two oldest sons are launched, my daughter starts college next year, and my two youngest children are not yet so socially entrenched that moving would be a major sacrifice. My coaching and editorial work are both inherently portable. Perhaps most significantly, my husband is casting a wide net in search of a new job. We won't uproot my daughter during her senior year, so if my husband lands a position in another state, he might have to deal with a corporate apartment for the short term. But we'll make it work.

In the meantime, we pore over real estate in other cities and research neighborhoods that seem to offer what we're looking for. My eyebrows shot up when an online personality quiz told me my ideal state would be Georgia. It just so happened that at that very moment, my husband was flying home from a job interview in Atlanta. Is the universe telling this New Englander that she belongs in the South?

Whatever happens, it will be an adventure, and will no doubt end up on the page in some form. My task is to keep writing and enjoy the moment, wherever I am (and no matter how much I'm shivering).

If you live in a comparatively warm US climate and love it, won't you drop me a line and tell me about your hometown? I'd love to have your perspective as a creative.

Warmly,
Miranda
STUFF YOU SHOULD KNOW
Lucy Pearce is poised to release her new book, The Rainbow Way. Visioned as the guide and mentor that most creative women yearn for, but never find in their daily lives, The Rainbow Way explores the depths of the creative urge from many perspectives. This positive, nurturing, and practical book will help you unlock your creative potential within the constraints of your demanding life as a mother. I'm pleased to say that I was in good company providing Lucy with advance praise for her book. We'll be running a post from Lucy at Studio Mothers in early November, so stay tuned.

The painter Robert Genn, whose twice-weekly letters have often been reprinted at Studio Mothers, revealed last week that he's been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer -- and can expect "perhaps a year" to live. Robert, who founded the Painter's Keys, has done an enormous amount to build and support the creative community at large. If you're inclined to prayer or sending good wishes, please join me in sending Robert and his family every bit of wellness you can muster.

 

You may have seen Mason Currey's Daily Rituals: How Artists Work at various online venues -- and if you haven't yet read it, do. The book is comprised of 161 miniature portraits of creatives and their work habits. I thoroughly enjoyed this read, although was somewhat dismayed by how few mothers were portrayed. There was little mention of navigating creativity within family and domestic life -- and many of the male artists and writers were essentially exempt from familial responsibility. You'll cheer for Agatha Christie, however (the best-selling novelist of all time), who wrote dozens of books while caring for her family. "I suppose I was enjoying myself so much in ordinary living that writing was a task which I performed in spells and bursts. I never had a definite place which was my room or where I retired specially to write," she said. "All I needed was a steady table and a typewriter." Christie is an inspiring example of how creative motherhood need not require a separation of self. We need many more such creative role models, don't you think? 

FEATURED MEME: HOW TO BE AN ARTIST
The most-viewed Meme of the Week in recent months is the one that we posted last week. I'm not surprised; it's a keeper. Consider printing and posting it where you do your creative work.      

THE CREATIVE MOTHER'S GUIDE
The Creative Mother's Guide If you're an artist or writer with little ones, The Creative Mother's Guide: Six Creative Practices for the Early Years is the essential survival guide written just for you.

My e-book highlights concrete strategies for becoming more creative without adding stress or guilt. This condensed, inspiring guide is filled with the wisdom of 13 insightful creative mothers. It might be the best tool you download all year!


"Highly recommended." ~Eric Maisel
35 pages/$11.98. Available for download here.