Friday, 16 May 2014

Women artists

I think I went slightly mad today, cooped up inside the house, sitting at the kitchen table, orchestrating Billy Whistle from Brass. I haven't left the house, I haven't spoken to anyone. I've simply stared at a computer, finely tuning about half of the ten thousands dots in this particular document.

When Nathan got home this evening from rehearsals, I did nothing but talk at him for about thirty minutes. On and on I went, relieved that I'd finally found an opportunity to exercise my mouth, which had hitherto only been engaged to scoff large quantities of food. I can well understand why some lonely people in under-populated areas rush out into the street and try to engage random passers-by in chat!

We had tea and then sat down to watch a documentary about female artists in medieval times. It was really quite fascinating, but full of the type of conjecture which irritates me with these sorts of historian-led documentaries. I find discussions about women's roles in society and the arts, often conveniently overlook the question of childbirth, and how that can take a woman out of society for a large chunk of her potentially most productive years. Of course the problem was a great deal more intense in the past, but there's no question in my mind about the link between the relatively high degree of female creativity in medieval religious institutions and the lack of children in those places.

Much as it's unfashionable to say, I maintain that certain of the more passionate vocational careers, which are based on sparks of genius and long days of hard, hard slog, are necessarily compromised by children? Perhaps I'm not the greatest person to forward this argument. I am a self-confessed workaholic, but am aware that this is born more out of necessity because I'm not one of life's most naturally talented diamonds.  I can claim with certainty, however, that I simply wouldn't be doing what I do now if I had children. I wouldn't be able to provide for them for starters.

That's an incredibly contentious thing to say isn't it? I'm sure there are many readers who will instantly claim I'm being anti-children, or worse still, anti-woman. I'm equally sure that there are many supremely talented women who buck the trend. But, as a rule, I'm just not altogether sure it it possible to be a truly successful, part-time creative...There simply aren't enough hours in the day!

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