Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Number Two Daughter

Helena Clare Marsh, known to all and forever as Henny, was the ugliest baby at birth you ever did see but, it's true, Ugly Ducklings do grow up to be Swans. She developed belatedly her innate artistic talent and enrolled as a mature student at St Martin's, the Oxford of art teaching. She interrupted her course twice to nurture each of her sons but was each time allowed to resume because of her consistently high grades.

She makes her appearance on this blog now partially because of her appearance in the preamble to the post about yesterday's tutorial but primarily because of her involvement with blogs in her final year project.

She has not yet given this project a title, and it is easy to see why not. She wants (if I understand her correctly) to compare the idealised view of motherhood, traditionally associated with caring, nurturing and selflessness, with what she believes is the unspoken reality, which is that conscious manifestations of these qualities are balanced by subconscious feelings of rage (or worse) at the loss of personal autonomy as the result of giving birth.

She thinks that the conflict between these two viewpoints in artists who have recently become mothers is the primary reason for the dearth of art works by such people. To seek evidence for this thesis she has started examining blogs, particularly the category known as 'Mom [or Momma] Blogs'. Googling these brings up 314,000 and 15,800 references respectively: finding evidence to support her thesis in this way is clearly going to be an arduous process.

Her professional interest in blogs meant that, when she came to deliver her sons to us for a brief visit this past weekend, she showed more than filial interest in my term project about autobiography on blogs. She reacted positively to my tentative suggestion that you might be able to graft your life story onto your blog, which often is a sequential diary of current events, with a series of flashbacks linked to past events.

I'll be discussing this idea of flashbacks more fully later this week.

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