Friday, December 11, 2009

Sixty Years of Stubborn Creativity

Since I will turn 60 on Monday, December 14, I have been reflecting on the creative impulse that has been central to my life and work for so many years.

Like many of you, I do this work because I feel compelled by some inner force. Earlier this year, when I interviewed Isabel Allende for SWAN Day, I asked her how she came to write her first novel, and she said, "I was desperate - there was this stuff that I needed to get out of my soul somehow - to give birth."

I have heard similar statements from hundreds of artists over the years, and it's how I feel about my own work. When I started WomenArts, many well-intentioned people told me it was crazy, and yet, here we are 15 years later. I started at my kitchen table with a few friends, and today women all over the world use our services.

I believe that these stubborn creative instincts are our greatest source of power, especially when we work together. As I think about my next decade, I want to find ways to honor that perseverance in each of us and to build a community where we can cheer each other on.

My mother grew up on a farm, and I was actually named after her favorite mule. My mother often told me that I was as stubborn as my namesake, but since she was strong-willed herself, it was always clear that she loved my independent spirit and wanted me to succeed. Perhaps this is why I feel such a deep connection with other obstinate dreamers. I recognize the energy that feels like home.

People always told me that as you get older you cherish your friendships more than anything else and I am finding that to be true. I want to thank all of you for being such wonderful colleagues and friends for all these years. Keep the faith - the world needs our passionate voices, and I am rooting for all of us to be heard!

Much love, Martha Richards

P.S. I have loved getting so many birthday notes, poems, songs, and other samples of your art. Please feel free to keep sending those all year long!

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