(GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass.) – Suzi Banks Baum was deep in the wilds of raising two healthy teenagers when she realized she was engaged in a major act of creativity. In talking with other mothers, however, she realized how few of them shared her view. Most dismissed their smaller, everyday creative acts as inconsequential, whether they were planning meals or quilting. In Out of the Mouths of Babes: An Evening of Mothers Reading to Others, on Friday, March 2, 2012, from 7 to 9:30 p.m. at Blodgett Hall, Simon’s Rock College, Baum seeks to redress this oversight by bringing together several writers who, in the process of raising children, found richness, solace, and even an artistic identity in the details.
“No mother is lacking in creativity,” says Banks Baum. “Whether she stays at home with her children, or works outside of the home while someone else looks after her kids, she is using major creative muscles to make it all work. My desire is to provide women with a vehicle to discuss the importance of creativity in their daily lives; to witness the beauty of words written by other mothers; and to emerge from this event inspired to celebrate and engage with their own creativity.”
Readers will include:
• Poet, author, and op-ed columnist Michelle Gillett, whose accomplishments include awards from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, several collections of poetry, essays, and recipes, and two grown daughters
• Award-winning playwright Jenny Laird, who finds inspiration on the axis of child-rearing, epilepsy, developmental and learning disabilities, literature, and Buddhism
• Alana Chernila, a Great Barrington selectman, mother of two young daughters, and author of The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying and Start Making, which is due in the spring
• Author and editor Gina Hyams, co-editor of the anthology Searching for Mary Poppins: Women Write About the Relationship Between Mothers and Nannies and specialist in “mysterious and confounding subjects” such as pie, incense, folk art, death, and room service
• Janet Reich Elsbach, a sheep farmer and mother of three who writes about Tolstoy, pickles, gardening, and “assessing the real chances that we the people will come to our senses in time to save the bees, the oceans and the last vestiges of true democracy”
• Blogger and event coordinator Suzi Banks Baum, who writes at Laundry Line Divine about seeing and celebrating the sacred in everyday life, and whose forthcoming book recounts the “wild adventure” of raising herself as she raised her children.
Banks Baum and Matthew Tannenbaum, of The Bookstore in Lenox, Mass., will facilitate a discussion following the readings.
To celebrate the event, Banks Baum is also hosting three months of posts around the topic of mothers and creativity at her blog, Laundry Line Divine.
Out of the Mouths of Babes: An Evening of Mothers Reading to Others is part of the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers.