Monday, March 16, 2015

Hey Mom - Where Did Your Creativity Go?

Interviewing people that are creative is my passion, although sometimes a selfish pursuit.  I long to hear about their practices, rituals, and roadblocks, if not to sometimes prepare and make myself a better creator.  Imagine my luck to meet a woman who spotlights mothers and their artistic pursuits.

When I met Larissa Pickens, it was through an email asking if I would like to be interviewed as a featured mom on her website, Mommikin.  A few weeks ago, I got the opportunity to interview her and ask more about her 'real' job, why she had the impulse to interview moms about their artistic endeavors, and how she balances kids and creativity 

The first thing I wanted to do when I started researching was read the Mommikin mission statement created by Larissa and her co-founder, Lina Fenequito:

Our mission is to celebrate creative moms. 

Together, we're creating a community of moms who seek creativity and want to support and inspire each other! 

When I asked Larissa to describe the ultimate purpose of the site, her words were " to be a creative space to gather stories, build community and help moms get a toe hold back into being more creative."  The features and articles are there for moms to see other moms sharing how they get the job done. Not just by being moms, but by being artists, as well.

When we become moms, so much of our former lives has to fall away.  It's hard enough to get our legs shaved, much less think about our long lost creativity.  What Mommikin can do for you is help you find your tribe along with helping you find the impetus to create again.  We worry so much about our kids creativity, what about ours?  

On the Mommikin blog, some of the things you can find are:

  1. Articles that are Creativity Boosters and How To's
  2. Career resources
  3. Featured MOM stories
  4. Workshops - like the current one called Write Anyway
  5. Retail with carefully curated items consisting of kits, accessories and books

Larissa is first a freelance web designer (with a client rooster that has names like Calvin Klein, Estee Lauder and Conde Nast) and thinks of herself as a writer second.  With graphic design, she explains that everything is precise and with writing, she is learning again how to do things free form. 

This free form style reminds her of a creative process she enjoyed in her late 20's - throwing clay on a wheel.  Anything she did in this process was experimental and in a relaxed atmosphere.  She would throw a new glaze on, completely unsure of the end result, and compares this to the thrill of opening a present unaware of what's inside. Interviewing others and pursuing writing has reminded her of how the beginning and the end can start one way and end up with that same surprise at the end.  Writing has also "enriched me as a reader - and made me more aware of how I tell the story."

And how has motherhood changed her?  Does she feel more productive after kids?  "Well, I get a lot more crammed in.  I miss staying up all night and jamming to get a job done or finish the idea that came spontaneously."  Being a mother to a two year old boy and a 4 year old girl, some of the perks of working from home might be to be able to throw a load of clothes in the washer, but it also means working again from 9:00 pm to Midnight, while the kids sleep, in order to meet deadlines.

Since Larissa lives in a 1300 sq foot apartment, I thought she might share my small house syndrome (I live in 1600 sq feet).  By big city apartment standards, my house is rather large, although by Texas standards simply - strange.  I mention this because most of the people I interview have no designated spaces to create, but they never let this deter them.  They taught me years ago, you can't wait for the perfect space to have the pipe dream of 'when you get the space, then you'll create.' Larissa has no designated work area, and does not see this as a challenge what-so-ever, since she's never had one.  She works from her laptop, has one notebook she writes everything in, including To Do Lists, sketches, story ideas, etc.  

When I ask, "Is it the same type of notebook?" 
Some writers are superstitious about these things. 
She says, "Nope. I use whatever.  Right now, I have a kitty cat one that looks like I am about 12."
"Have you ever lost it?"
"Well, sometimes I find it hijacked by my daughter, Helena, buried in her room."

Larissa has not waited for the right time to start a website, she's doing it with a full-time job and 2 young children. She's not waiting for right space to do it from either. I don't know about you, but damn, I find this exhilarating.

Go to her website, get some much needed motivation by the tribe of featured moms, and subscribe to get creative updates in your mailbox weekly.   If you missed the interview she did with me as the Online Dating Cheerleader, you can find it here.  


larissa said...

Thank you for the lovely interview! Love it!

Lina Fenequito said...

Great interview! It's great to see Moms recognized for maintaining creativity despite the rigors of motherhood. Good work!

Gary said...

You did a good job of capturing the spirit of creative moms--good interview! Thanks!