I am a real mother / I am a real artist.


I wake, I roll over and admire a beautiful calm six year old boy soundly sleeping. I hear Patrick get out of the upper bunkbed. Whilst our friend is staying we are all attic dwellers, sharing sleep space with the children. It is cosy and snug, I like our attic existence. My friend has gone out for his morning drive. My neighbour walks up the street in his work jacket.

I wake, I roll over and wish I could go back to sleep, but instead I reach for my phone and I read the newspaper, squinting at the tiny text on the electronic screen. I place the duvet over Naoise to keep him warm. I read several articles in The Guardian. I read Thousands have died after being found fit for work, DWP figures show  by Patrick Butler. I read the latest about migrants fleeing war torn countries and dying during their journeys. I read Keith Arnatt is proof that the art world doesn’t consider photography ‘real’ art. by Sean O’Hagan.

There is no milk. There is no bread. I walk up the road to the local shop. My friend “holds the fort” its easy the children are sleeping.

I walk up the road with Patrick and talk about the articles that I read. Its a beautiful morning the sun is shining. Patrick walks up the ramp to the train station. I walk home with my carrier bag of provisions.

Back at home I am met by my friend on the doorstep, he departs on his car ride. I am home alone with teenager and small boy. I haven’t any plans for today. Is it good to have a plan or is it good to let a day unfold?

I stared reading Naoise Matilda by Roald Dahl now that I have completed reading James and the Giant Peach. I am are trying to read lots of longer stories to Naoise over the summer break as I had got stuck on picture books.

I had got stuck.

I am a real mother/ I am a real artist.

Am I an artist ? Between these words and images and lack of images there is something. A disorganised something that might be art. I can only work in-between, snatch moments, hope that snatched moments become significant records. Significant records of daily mundane life that capture monumental moments of importance.

Naoise ran around the front room with a sanitary towel stuck to the underside of his jeans declaring I am mummy, I have my period. I am mummy, I have my period. Syd thought that this was mean and told him off. I said it was ok he was just playing. I said it was ok to have a bit of fun, to normalise periods.

Naoise turned away as I was changing a sanitary towel in the bathroom. Why are you turning away Naoise ? I asked. The blood is horrible, he said. I can see that it worries him. The blood is normal Naoise, its not horrible, but I can understand why you don’t like to look. I reply.

The buzzer sounds on the oven clock. I had wanted to write about so much more. I had wanted to write about feeling like a shadow as in the Keith Arnatt photograph, I was interested in the photographs that he took of notes that his wife wrote to him left around the house.

I feel like a shadow. Am I an Artist. Do I give this up, this life? How do I find a way to negotiate this lack. Lack of funds. Lack of feeling valued. Lack of time to do what it takes to make it work? Lack. What keeps me going? Is it worth carrying on or is it better to throw the towel in and become a consumer of art rather than a producer? Is it best just to muddle along and not decide and to let other factors to decide for me?

I am a real artist/ I am a real mother.

I wanted to write about the picnic in the woods with Naoise my friend and her children up on the hill. I wanted to write about playing pretend dinosaur school. I wanted to write about lying in the grass and feeling the sun on my face. I wanted to write about these idillic moments of childcare where you can escape into a fantasy world and believe it to be true. To play is to live.

I am a real artist / I am a real mother.



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