Books on art and motherhood

Amanda Palmer recently published “No, I Am Not Crowdfunding This Baby,” a post about fan entitlement and her anxiety around becoming a mother. I’ve spent a good deal of my reading year reading books about art and motherhood, so I shared a couple with her on twitter and figured I’d list them here:

Sarah Ruhl’s 100 Essays I Don’t Have Time To Write is my favorite book on the subject. Ruhl is a playwright and a mother of three, and so this book is full of short essays about making art and raising children, and the interesting ways that one influences and provides insight into the other. She also writes beautifully about art’s need for solitude and quiet vs. the constant interruption of mothering:

Sally Mann’s Hold Still covers her long, interesting life and career, but a portion of it reads as a cautionary tale about using your children in your art.

Jenny Offill’s Dept. Of Speculation is a wonderful short novel about art, marriage, and motherhood that you can read in one sitting. The way the text is fragmented replicates the way you think when you’re a new parent. About the book she has said:

Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts got the most thumbs up from others when I posted it yesterday — while all these books are in some way about women coming to terms with being both an artist and a mother, there’s the added complexity of Nelson being a queer-mother-artist, and an older one at that:

If you’re interested in the subject, you can read more about all of these books here and for perspectives from both moms, dads, and the child-free, browse my parenting tag.

Of course, I’m sure I’m missing many favorites. Please feel free to leave your favorites as a reply or tweet them to me.

Austin Kleon is the author of Steal Like An Artist and other books.

Author of STEAL LIKE AN ARTIST and other books. I make art with words and books with pictures:

Author of STEAL LIKE AN ARTIST and other books. I make art with words and books with pictures: