Full circle of kindness

March 6th, 2008

Read on and then give yourself another chance at love.

Nearly two years ago as I was wandering the wilderness in search of readers (yes, we not only have to write books, we have to find readers) I found a little something that led me to Wendy Cook. I sent her one of the first copies of my book. Authors like me have to buy and send a lot of freebies that don’t amount to much. But Wendy responded. She sent me the kind of heartfelt message that you wait your whole life to hear. And she didn’t just tell me. She ran out and posted reviews here, here, here and here. Then she began dousing her blog with my quotations. And she interviewed me. Wendy is a veritable nest of kindness, and I wondered how she came to be so generous. Then I realized that she too is an artist and understands the role of the circle, the community, in making us whole. Because she has been so personally merciful to me, meet Wendy, my soul sister, who wears kindness like a bracelet, a bracelet that would look good on you too.

Every month on your blog you interview a mom about how she nurtures her creative life. So tell me: how do you nurture yours? Is it a quest? A struggle?

I think of it as one big beautiful juggling act (insert circus music here). I had to reconsider my definition of creativity and focus on projects that I can either complete quickly or work on in spurts. Luckily I don’t limit myself to any one medium, so there’s a lot to play with. Is it a quest? Oh yes. Is it struggle? Sometimes. Most recently I wanted to attend the Squam Art Workshops and really had a hard time asking my husband about it, knowing that it would mean he would have to work overtime so that I could go. I am still struggling with the feelings of joy to be able to feed my soul and guilt for wanting this for myself.

You discover and share a bounty of children’s books and music on your blog. Do you find that your own art is influenced by them?

Yes, because there is a sense of nostalgia at the core of my work. But I mainly do it so I can provide my son Satchel with inspiration. I share my findings to save other moms time because there are tons of children books, but not all of them have wonderful illustrations or beautiful messages. The best of them also teach me to believe in myself, to be myself, to help others, to care deeply and to help Satch do the same. They also show me that the dreams of our youth might very well be our authentic selves.

Do you have a sense of a calling now in your life other than motherhood?

Being Satchel’s mama is the most important thing I can be. That said, I still have an overwhelming drive to create, to work with my hands. When I go too long without making something, I get a bit wonky; I feel anxious and irritable. The remedy is often as simple as making something for Satch -– like felted Easter eggs or a clothespin catapult. Thankfully, my husband is very supportive and will step in so I can do something creative.

Tell me how your family inspires you.

To know that we belong to each other, that we are loved and respected, that we untangle our messes together, share our joys, and ride this fantastic twirling rock together: I’m inspired to be as real and as present as I can possibly be.

What do you want to do with your life now?

As Satch becomes more independent I would like to spend more time producing and promoting my work. I want to inspire others to follow their own creative dreams. I want to grow, evolve, love deeply, laugh often, dance with wild abandon and be a centenarian.

It won’t surprise you to learn that Wendy has donated the grand prize for the week’s giveaway, the Robin’s Nest handmade vintage button bracelet shown above, so please enter early and often before 6 p.m. PST this Friday, March 7. Winners revealed on Saturday. You can read this week’s earlier interviews with my inspirational sisters Jen Lemen and Sally Dworsky. And thank you for visiting this week. It did my soul good.


  1. Oh my gosh – how adorable is that bracelet sitting on that precious little nest and perfect Robin’s egg blue to boot! I love it!

    Wendy seems like a wonderful, genuine and creative person – as charming as her bracelets. Another new blog for me to read…

    Thank you for the introduction!

    Comment by Shalet — March 6, 2008 @ 7:26 am

  2. Oh, and PS – I’m halfway through your book and loving it. I already bought another copy and sent it to my friend. Thank you for your wisdom!

    Comment by Shalet — March 6, 2008 @ 7:27 am

  3. ever since stumbling upon wendy’s etsy link the other day, i’ve been dreaming of her beautiful buttony bracelets! but know what, i’m a lucky mama to be able to call wendy a friend.

    wendy is a wendspiration, truly.

    Comment by The Whole Self — March 6, 2008 @ 11:06 am

  4. This idea of sisters of the soul is growing on me with each of your interviews.

    Comment by Moanna — March 6, 2008 @ 1:23 pm

  5. I love her answer to the last question. As my daughter becomes more independent, it’s a question that I’m asking myself, too.

    Comment by Mama Zen — March 6, 2008 @ 3:17 pm

  6. i had the pleasure of meeting wendy when she took an art workshop of mine some years ago, and she is a delight – an absolute delight. thanks so much for sharing her with your world and readers! xx nina

    Comment by nina bagley — March 6, 2008 @ 3:38 pm

  7. Hmm, what do you want to do with your life now? The longing, the yearning of finding balance and fulfilling your passions is always echoed in that question for me. Thanks for the interview with Wendy-so inspiring. I have found a wonderful new blog in hers.

    Comment by Robyn — March 6, 2008 @ 5:54 pm

  8. i love a good dose of wendy. she is surely inspirational.
    thanks for this interview!

    Comment by jessamyn — March 6, 2008 @ 7:47 pm

  9. I loved reading Wendy’s interview of you.

    Comment by Jena Strong — March 6, 2008 @ 8:41 pm

  10. I keep doing that – writing a comment and then closing the ox too early. Then I have to write a new one…

    I love Wendy’s blog too. So coll how everyone is connected.

    Comment by Mika — March 7, 2008 @ 12:50 am

  11. (I meant box)

    Comment by Mika — March 7, 2008 @ 12:51 am

  12. I loved reading this. How inspiring.

    Comment by Shelli — March 7, 2008 @ 2:52 am

  13. Me me me! I want to win. (More than I already won in finding your blog and your book.)

    Comment by Jenell — March 7, 2008 @ 3:12 am

  14. this has been a great week of posts, thanks so much, karen!!!!

    Comment by Phyllis Sommer — March 7, 2008 @ 3:50 am

  15. I love these interviews. What a great way to find out about new bloggers. Thanks for doing this.

    Comment by Someone Being Me — March 7, 2008 @ 4:13 am

  16. Wendy had me at the word “wonky.” It’s one of my favorites!

    Comment by Jennifer/The Word Cellar — March 7, 2008 @ 5:23 am

  17. Oh cool! I’m going to go over the explore Wendy’s blog, especially the bits about children’s books and music. I also feel my fingers itching to make something.

    Comment by kathryn — March 7, 2008 @ 5:45 am

  18. Thank you Mae!
    Thank you EVERYONE!
    Your inspiring words touch me deeply.


    Comment by Wendy — March 7, 2008 @ 12:02 pm

  19. Thank you for this whole series. It’s been refreshing to “meet” so many talented, inspiring women. Very cool stuff!

    Comment by Lorianne — March 7, 2008 @ 7:02 pm

  20. Thank-you Karen for this series of inspiring interviews.
    It makes me proud to call myself a woman.

    Comment by bella — March 7, 2008 @ 7:04 pm

  21. Definitely agree with “focus on projects that I can either complete quickly or work on in spurts”. That is the life of a creative mama! 🙂

    I have really enjoyed all of the interviews and links to these amazing creative and interesting women this week. Gets the low creative juices flowing a bit!


    Comment by denise — March 7, 2008 @ 7:43 pm

  22. this is such a beautiful introduction to Wendy.
    i’m looking forward to linking over to her site and soaking up more of her loveliness.
    thanks, karen

    Comment by Kirsten Michelle — March 8, 2008 @ 1:03 am

  23. ps. i thought i’d totally missed the deadline for these amazing draws, but by the grace of time zones, i’m smiling from ear to ear to be scraping in under the wire 😉

    Comment by Kirsten Michelle — March 8, 2008 @ 1:06 am

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