I'm telling the truth when I say that I have started at least four blog posts in the last week, and have only gotten through two or three sentences before losing steam and deciding I am too tired for my thoughts to make sense here. I have written several times in my journal where I feel more free to let my mind wander unhindered from deeply personal things to the more reader-friendly subjects I might have posted online. I like blogging, but my biggest enemies are the back button and the little red "X" in the upper left hand corner of this window. I'll try to make this short and succinct before my motivation runs dry.
I am currently reading Traveling with Pomegranates, a co-authored memoir by Sue Monk Kidd and her daughter, Ann Kidd Taylor. The memoir walks readers through major life transitions of both mother and daughter, set against the backdrop of a richly feminist view of Ancient Europe. Sue is a 50-something woman coming to grips with the end of her youth and the beginning of her writing career. Ann is a 20-something woman coming to grips with the end of her undergraduate studies, and subsequently her plans for graduate school, which have been rejected by the only university she applied to. Ann has no alternative plans and has fallen into a deep and nearly inconsolable depression while Sue has fallen into her own state of despondency as her body begins to exhibit premenopausal effects.
As Sue passes the torch to her daughter and Ann hesitates to accept it, both experience spiritual awakenings and personal enlightenment that are heavily influenced by divine feminist figures, from the mythical mother-daughter connection of Demeter and Persephone, to Athena, to the Virgin Mary and Joan of Arc.
This read has challenged, inspired and comforted me as I find my own struggles reflected in those of the characters. Sue, who is best known for her fictional novel The Secret Life of Bees, describes in sincere and raw detail her struggle to augment her lofty dreams of being a novelist into a tangible work. Ann pours out with frank, but almost lyrical honesty the inner pain, healing, and growth that led her to what she is now- a writer. Both women discover the necessity of drawing inspiration from wherever one may find it- the earth, recurring images, one another, and oneself. As I continue to read, their experiences both validate and soothe my own insecurities as a woman, as a wife, as a writer and as a daughter. To recognize inspiration and allow it to change one's life, Sue and Ann avow, is truly divine.
"You must learn one thing. The world is made to be free in. Give up all the other worlds except the one in which you belong." - David Whyte (quoted by Ann Kidd Taylor in Traveling With Pomegranates.)