telling

April 14th, 2013

bracha_amulet_2Every now and then someone will write to me and say, “It feels like you are reading my mind. It’s so comforting to know that I’m not alone. You have a way of writing exactly what I need to hear at the moment I need to hear it.”

Other people will pipe up and say about me, “She is so not me. I can’t relate to her at all. We’d never click in person. I dislike the way she writes as if her story is exactly the same as any mother’s story.”

Whatever people say is revealing, because whether we realize it or not, we are always telling a story about ourselves.

Stories are universal. We think that our story is unique and special. Particularly painful, particularly wise, particularly interesting. What really matters is when we see that our stories are the same, because then we see the invisible connection between us—a greater truth than told in the particulars. For that moment, we stop judging each other and begin sharing what lies beneath the story: love.

Here are two pieces of storytelling I want to share with you today.

Amulet: Spring 2013

First, a community of wildly creative women has collaborated on the spring edition of an online magazine called Amulet. A friend asked me to spread the word, and this is what she said. See if it doesn’t sound familiar.

“We have poured endless love and guts into it, and you know the drill—being mothers and workers and creators—whoa. But we are so in love with doing what we do.

If you aren’t familiar, Amulet is a field guide for seasonal living that includes inspiration to help us keep connecting with the earth under our feet, the world around us, and the universe inside us through prose, DIY, recipes, herbal stuff, book stuff, music, hand made goods—every day life stuff. ”

Sounds like my stuff.

Lost in Living

In January I shared the story of a new documentary about the intersection of motherhood and artistic expression, Lost in Living. Filmed over seven years, Lost In Living confronts the contradictions inherent in personal ambition and self-sacrifice, female friendship and mental isolation, big projects and dirty dishes. The response was amazing. Many of you wanted to know how you could see it. Now you can. While the film makes its way around the country in public screenings, it is also now available on DVD. I have a copy of the DVD to give away to a reader who comments on this post anytime this week.

You will know if it’s your story. All stories are your stories. They tell you that you are not alone.

The winner for this giveaway has been chosen and notified. Thank you for entering.

44 Comments »

  1. We are potters and we have a gallery. I am also a mother of 2 young adult daughters. I juggled. All the time. We once had a show at our gallery that was called Mothers’ Art: Capturing Moments in Time. We were 8 women at different points in our mothering. It was a powerful experience for all of us. I would love to see this film!

    Comment by debra — April 14, 2013 @ 4:21 pm

  2. I would love to see this film and show it to a group of close friends/women/mothers in my area. As you said, with most stories of love, it is our story as well.

    Comment by Laura — April 14, 2013 @ 4:34 pm

  3. FWIW — As someone who loves stories, I put it this way: There is only one story. Seriously, no magical mystery tour … just one story. ‘Yours’ in one moment, ‘mine’ in another. Seriously … check it out.

    And one of the nourishing aspects of coming to terms with this one story is that the need to withhold or keep secret or bite a lip in shame or delight from a superior height dwindles. Not that it becomes bland and serene and boring or that anyone becomes all-knowing … it’s just a pretty good story after all.

    No reason not to enjoy it with empty hands.

    Comment by adam fisher — April 14, 2013 @ 5:15 pm

  4. I feel that I was led to your blog for a reason. And when I saw the trailer for this film, and as I’m exploring your site, everything in me is going “YES! This is EXACTLY what I needed to read/know/learn/feel!”
    My son is seven months old and I am wrestling with feelings of anxiety at the thought of having to go back to work in five months. I’m working to stay present and fully enjoy each moment as it comes, and to find joy in the tasks I have resented in the past. I would love to watch this film and share it with my mom friends (and non-mom friends). I think this movie would help me to know I’m not alone and help give me a fresh perspective.
    I’m SO glad I found your blog!

    Comment by Naomi — April 14, 2013 @ 6:02 pm

  5. In looking back at my own life, while taking a glimpse at the lives of these brave, creative women in the act of nurturing their art and their babies I can’t help but feeling sorry for the creative woman inside of me who’s life I denied. I celebrate a new time and a new day in which my daughters and my grandaughters are encouraged and supported if not by their own, by their piers, and films like these are made, to be shared and to shatter the isolation that suffocates and kills creative dreams. Bravo! to those who produce them, to those who are not afraid and embarrased to expose their “mess”, and to those like you who spread the goodness around,great women of substance, you all are!

    Comment by Daisy Marshall — April 14, 2013 @ 6:32 pm

  6. I am an artist, and I am a mother, so I am curious about this film.

    I do remember the days when my son was small and in my care … when I thought that I was not doing either endeavor as fully as I could, merely because I was trying to do both at the same time. Now I know those assumptions were based on a measure that has nothing to do with what makes good art, or good parenting. Admittedly, this realization doesn’t mean that either endeavor has become easier. So … I am curious about this film.

    Comment by Clare Kirkconnell — April 14, 2013 @ 6:33 pm

  7. I love stories. We find meaning in the stories we share and relate to. Thank you for sharing yours!

    And I am so excited to see the movie. I hope Netflix picks it up.

    Comment by Stephanie Rayburn — April 14, 2013 @ 7:18 pm

  8. Hmm…you’re the second person to bring Amulet to my attention this week. I’m sitting up and taking notice. I had the Pasadena screening of the film on my calendar but being mama kept me home. I’ll look forward to watching it at exactly the right time. Thank you for bringing it back around.

    Comment by Alana — April 14, 2013 @ 8:41 pm

  9. I am super interested in seeing this movie. Love your books and your blog.

    Comment by Lindsey — April 14, 2013 @ 9:00 pm

  10. I just downloaded Amulet, and it is stunningly beautiful. So happy to see you mention it here!

    And this film? It helps me, and will help so many women, remember I am not alone. What a gift. Thank you.

    Comment by Christa — April 15, 2013 @ 2:59 am

  11. yes, we are truly storytelling animals. thank you for sharing yours with kindness and honesty. grateful to and for you. thank you also for this exquisite offering.

    Comment by melissa — April 15, 2013 @ 4:17 am

  12. What I love about your writing, Maezen, is that you showed me that being a mother isn’t just about having children, which I do not. Our stories are the same and they are different yet they are the same as all of us. It is the love and connection that your writing brings that makes it a wonderful companion to this journey. The friendship of the written word that you can carry with you in a book and in your heart.

    I feel fortunate to have met and spent time with you and be able to see and experience that love in real time.

    Comment by Debra — April 15, 2013 @ 5:22 am

  13. oh wow. this is everything i need to see and say.

    Comment by amy bowers — April 15, 2013 @ 6:02 am

  14. Your blog reminds me that we are here to connect!
    and ooo thank you for this trailer… I needed that. soo great.

    Comment by Jocelyn Chorney — April 15, 2013 @ 6:31 am

  15. Thank you, Karen, for bringing my film out into the open to so many wonderful people. And Amulet looks like something I will just love. Downloading it right now! It’s wonderful to make something that connects me with people in such a meaningful and gratifying way. Thank you again!!!

    Comment by Mary Trunk — April 15, 2013 @ 6:39 am

  16. I would love to have the film, for myself and my mother’s renewal group! Thank you, and have a wonderful Monday.

    Comment by Meghan — April 15, 2013 @ 7:00 am

  17. I very much look forward to the movie! I am a writer tangled up in the fear of being seen. Slightly hindering! Well, that and the littles. The elves never show up or if they do, they don’t want to clean and cook either!!!
    Blessings to you, Karen Maezen Miller.

    Comment by Brenda — April 15, 2013 @ 7:17 am

  18. I was so happy to have been introduced to you through featured shoot. Now I will enjoy introducing you to my students!

    Comment by Jenn — April 15, 2013 @ 7:39 am

  19. You always know what I need somehow, and lost in living speaks to that. Can’t wait to see it

    Comment by Stephanie — April 15, 2013 @ 8:02 am

  20. I have a five month old daughter and am very interested in seeing lost in living. Even while pregnant I was struggling with how to balance my creative life and becoming a Mother.

    Comment by Shannon Amidon — April 15, 2013 @ 8:53 am

  21. Not all those who wander are lost. ~ J.R.R. Tolkien 🙂 I’ll enjoy this movie. Thanks for sharing.

    Comment by Lena — April 15, 2013 @ 9:14 am

  22. Clearly, someone took the time and energy to produce something that was true, genuine, and honest–with all of the pain, sacrifice, and downright goofiness that comes along with motherhood. I would love to see these stories.

    Comment by Amy — April 15, 2013 @ 9:28 am

  23. Thank you for sharing your stories and the stories of us all.

    Comment by Allison — April 15, 2013 @ 9:43 am

  24. I watched the trailer, nodding my head the whole time. I can’t wait to see this film. Right as my photography business was taking off, I had a baby. I’m currently grappling with “what now?” “what next?” and how the heck do serve myself and my daughter (not to mention my amazing husband) in the best way? Some days, it seems impossible!

    Comment by darrah parker — April 15, 2013 @ 9:44 am

  25. I have been wanting to watch this film since you shared about it here. Thank you for the opportunity. Much love and gratitude.

    Comment by Shelby — April 15, 2013 @ 3:04 pm

  26. ‘Every speaker at the conference reminded us that what our kids need most is a mother who is living a passionate, fulfilled life’

    To create is more than a choice. It is a need. It may sit quietly beneath the surface for many years. It may roar in your face while you are cooking the dinner. It is there and it always will be.

    Listen.

    Comment by Janeb Ziemons — April 15, 2013 @ 5:16 pm

  27. I’m a person who liked to say that whatever happens time will always unfold. I’m now the mother of two beautiful, loving, challenging children but time has stopped and I’m living the same nightmarish day over and over again. The title of the film resonated with me as I have expressed my current life as ‘living on empty’ not a far cry from ‘Lost in Living’. I’m looking for a new way to approach my feelings of isolation, frustration and emptiness. I have your books on my wish list and even though my creativity is not as flourishing as the artists the film follows I can draw inspiration from their lives too. Thank you

    Comment by Emma Thörn — April 16, 2013 @ 10:06 am

  28. I watched the trailer awhile back and the different stories/voices have stuck with me. Thank you for the opportunity to see and share the dvd.

    I feel like I have been so busy trying to tell my story, it really is a great gift and lesson to realize I can listen to others and in their stories, find myself. That, to me, is the power and potential of community.

    Comment by Lis — April 16, 2013 @ 12:25 pm

  29. just last night, before i read this post, another blogger mentioned this documentary and i was so intrigued. i sent the link to my two best mother friends and said ‘i want to watch this with you beautiful women’.
    and then i want to pass it on to another artistic mother seeking peace and creativity.
    xo

    Comment by Hayley — April 16, 2013 @ 5:05 pm

  30. OMG! Amulet is wonderful! Thank you for sharing this.

    Comment by Jessica — April 16, 2013 @ 9:09 pm

  31. SO excited to see this. It is good to feel not alone.

    Comment by Alyssa — April 17, 2013 @ 10:03 am

  32. Wow–I made it in time to post! Maybe this will be my lucky week! Best.

    Comment by Tara — April 17, 2013 @ 1:49 pm

  33. I saw the trailer for this film awhile ago and have been trying for find a way to see it ever since. 3 young kids + husband’s long, unpredictable work hours = mom home (a lot)

    Comment by Kristine Poterbin — April 18, 2013 @ 6:14 am

  34. SO wanting to see the film. have been following it and am in love with its honesty. I always said I have this small pocket of time in between my son being in diapers and then my parents being in diapers. if you are a mother it is the hardest and most rewarding gift of all. if you are a caregiver it falls in the same category. and I still long for the day when I will have pockets of time for myself. have a wonderful thursday! ciao!

    Comment by nadia — April 18, 2013 @ 6:23 am

  35. I have danced with a group of women for the past13 or so years. I feel compelled to keep dancing, even though I feel broken so often, even there never seems to be enough time. It is the connection to myself, to the women with whom I dance, and to our audience that sustains me. In those moments of creativity, connection is the life-blood that brings me back to my core. I feel the breath within the breath – the force that is within all of us. I hoep to see this film! Sounds so lovely!!!

    Comment by Susan — April 18, 2013 @ 6:32 am

  36. This struck a deep cord with me. Since becoming a mom, I’ve struggles with these same issues. And yet it’s only since becoming a mom that I’ve become truly inspired as an artist. It is vital that we have the opportunity to share our stories and hear those of others so that we can give voice to what’s in our hearts and know that we are not alone.

    Comment by Miki DeVivo — April 18, 2013 @ 7:17 am

  37. i am a woman and a mother, finding my way slowly in to a new relationship with myself and my son as a lone parent.

    i live in the uk so will not be able to get to a screening ~ would love to watch this film! <3

    Comment by ella — April 18, 2013 @ 8:13 am

  38. ack!!!
    that film…oh.

    Comment by pilarkristine — April 18, 2013 @ 5:06 pm

  39. Hi Karen; I first read about this movie here: http://www.kerismith.com/blog/to-all-creative-moms-watch-this-right-now/
    I think the most difficult lesson to learn in mothering -for me- is that it is all good. When I was not a mother I had a very outspoken idea about it and about my working in relation to it, but unknowing what it would be like, or need from me. When I found myself throwing up for 7 months of my first pregnancy (while trying to work as well) I just gave up and surrendered to what it brought me (I did get fired from my job after that). I think for me it is best to have a serial relationship to the things I am doing rather that having different things beside each other.
    I would love to see the film. Because I live in Holland it is quite difficult to lay my hands on it. If I win I promise to organise a screening at our children’s school. I think more mothers here will appreciate it.

    Have a wonderful weekend and wisdom in selecting your winner.

    Comment by Simone — April 19, 2013 @ 2:29 am

  40. THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Comment by LIbby McFarland — April 19, 2013 @ 5:14 am

  41. Loving the trailer, I hope I win.
    Loving your blog too
    bendiciones y muchas gracias

    Comment by Jimena — April 19, 2013 @ 6:35 pm

  42. first year working full time as a teacher with my young school children talken care of more and more by dad and grandma. it was all I could do to scrub the kitchen floor today…i miss my friends, i miss my babies.

    Comment by claire — April 20, 2013 @ 5:04 pm

  43. Your books help me to stay grounded in my life. I want to see this movie!

    Comment by Allison Evans — April 24, 2013 @ 12:27 pm

  44. I wanna be an artist/mother, too. I wanna see the movie. 🙂

    Comment by Mrs. B. Roth — April 29, 2013 @ 7:23 am

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