:: 10 Things I Realised About Creativity When I Went On The Radio (& A Recipe for Corn Chowder)


Yesterday, Rachel Power (author/editor of Motherhood & Creativity), Clare Bowditch and myself were on the radio to talk about juggling parenting and creativity, with a bit of a focus on Rachel’s (great) new book. I love doing radio. There is none of the stress of looking nice and all of the opportunity to talk about things that are important to you. Jon Faine’s program, The Conversation Hour is a bit of a Melbourne institution and I felt very lucky to get a chance to be part of it.

We all got to speak about our own creative lives and the juggle that parenting can be, but as callers and text-ers began airing their views, it became clear that people either understood how important creativity is to humans or… they didn’t. There was much talk of us being idealistic (we’re not) and one person even remarked that children should always come first (perhaps implying that women shouldn’t have creative aspirations at all?!)

Justine Clarke’s partner messaged in, in solidarity. (Later we decided to try to force Justine to have lunch with us). Someone I used to work with messaged in too. #sonice #helloBrendan

Another lady phoned in to talk about just how hard parenting is when your child has a disability. To her, our efforts and juggling were best filed in the ‘first world problem’ basket because not only was her daily experience so difficult, the concept of even contemplating a creative life seemed totally out of reach.

It’s terrible, terrible, terrible that so many people/parents are so isolated. Whether their child has a disability, or there are other issues like low-income, mental health problems, other health problems, relationship issues… the result can be the same. Daily survival becomes the priority and I can understand why hearing us talk about trying to write books or paint or make music whilst still being an adequate/awesome parent seemed like a bit of a slap in the face.

I always learn a lot from experiences like this. When I reflect on how the program went, I think this:

1. Too many people are isolated. There have to be ways to reach out – whether it’s those people finding the strength to ask for and receive some help OR whether it’s us looking for opportunities to lend a hand when people are overwhelmed or alone.

Having a nice life is NOT a luxury. We need to find ways to give marginalised or hidden heroes like yesterday’s lady-who-rang-the-radio more opportunities to do the things they want to do – while still being great parents. And we need to give them a voice, because yesterday showed us that they do not feel (or are not being) heard.

2. Being creative or seeking fulfilment and meaning are not  ‘first world problems’. Everyone deserves to live a full life, whatever that means to them. If we’re not here to make the most of things, what the heck are we here for? Someone? Anyone? Monty Python?!

3. Trying to make things better is not idealistic. It’s pragmatic. If things aren’t working, let’s work out why and fix them. Hoping for more is not a lofty pursuit it’s a vital ingredient in leading a meaningful life.

4. Diminishing others’ experiences because they don’t mirror your own is doing us all a disservice. Surely we want the best for everyone, whatever that means? Better to change the language and talk about the fact that we either don’t understand the experience, are not really that interested or even admit we wish we could have a turn at the thing the others are doing, too.

5. Creativity might not look the same to everyone. Being creative may mean painting a landscape, playing an instrument or writing a book, but it also might mean making creative decisions about how you live your life, taking the time to cook something beautiful, reading a wonderful book and pondering its pages, knocking up an awesome BBQ made from roadside finds, encouraging your kids to make up songs. It comes in many guises and does not always indicate a creator who is covered in glitter and rainbows and grinning beatifically.

6. Creative careers don’t denote entitled, wealthy, misguided or deluded individuals. Nor are they just a hobby. It appears that some people think that is the reality of what creatives do! It’s really not. The panel of 3 creative women not only work super-hard at their chosen pursuit (even if I do say so myself), we still have to pay the rent, cover the bills, look after our families, make ends meet – just as a plumber or PA or accountant or tram driver might.

7. The language around creative pursuits scares some people, while others relish it. Some switch off whilst shouting ‘lefties!’ whilst others pull up a chair and a cup of tea and try to knit a sock.

8. The ideas around making room/time for creativity is a discussion we need to keep having, despite the fact that it makes (some) people cross. There are other discussions too  – around the isolation of many people in our community and around the role of women and why we’re constantly reminded our children are ‘our priority’ (ask any mother if her children are her priority and she’ll look at you weirdly because… DUH! No sh*t, Sherlock. Preaching to the choir!)

9. Most people are supporting the creative arts, even those who say creativity is piffle. You might be poo-pooing the creative ladies on the panel, but you’re singing along to the radio later, you go home and watch a TV series based on a script someone wrote, you’re buying products in packaging designed my someone, you’re booking tickets to a show… HELLO! You’re a creative philanthropist, Buster!

10. If in doubt, make some soup.

Thanks to Rachel and ABC Radio for a great day yesterday. Hopefully the podcast will be up today and you can have a listen. (Or subscribe to The Conversation Hour here).

x Pip

corn chowder two


Corn, Bacon & Potato Chowder

Serves six

2 400g tins of creamed corn
2 400g tins of corn kernels, drained
1kg of peeled, diced potatoes
250g of bacon, diced – omit if you are a vegetarian – it will still be delish!
1 onion, diced
1.5 litres of milk
30g butter
salt and cracked black pepper
optional: parsley to garnish

In a large pot, melt the butter.
Fry off the onion until translucent.
Add the bacon, fry for a minute or so.
Toss in all the other ingredients (except the s&p and parsley).
Simmer over a low heat for 30 minutes or until the potato is tender.
(Don’t let it boil madly or it will not be nice!)

Serve with lots of cracked black pepper, salt to taste and some parsley to spruce things up!


  1. Oh Pip! I’ve finally listened to the podcast and I’m mad! I feel like the conversation was high jacked. Instead of focusing on creative women the conversation ended up being about support for parents with disabled children. It was,and is,an important conversation to have,but not the point of THIS conversation. You all handled it beautifully, and this post is again thoughtful and gentle.

  2. I just had to add my voice to the comments here to say such a great post, you have voiced so many things that I am currently feeling.
    I live in the UK and think there is the same isolation for many people here too. Until recently I had a role as an artist and facilitator working with families and young children. Parents/carers and children could come and socialise, learn, develop and be creative together- making visual art, music, dance…but the funding has gone for this and it was with much sadness I said goodbye. Creativity is not a luxury it is part of what makes us human.

  3. So beautifully and inspiringly written, thank you. I’ve found that after many years of working full time that first year of maternity leave gave me the opportunity (amid breastfeeding, crying – kid or me – and all the other joys of that first year) to launch “fully” into my creative work, and the moment realising I could make a career from it wouldn’t have happened without the time spent away from work, and with my daughter. Resigning from work, setting up a business (in my mind and practically!) made me realise creativity and parenting are completely linked, wonderful and messy. Thank you. x

  4. Hi Pip. I love this discussion and love that you are getting into more serious topics again on your blog, I really missed that. I think you are AMAZING when you write about this sort of stuff and put yourself out there (even though you get attacked). Thank you !!! Xoxoxo

    1. Yeah… that’s the thing. No one likes getting attacked, especially when your blog is your very own kind of positive ritual! Thanks for reading and for understanding, too! x

  5. That was a great interview Pip, so many interesting topics arose. I think Brett Whitely said making art was ‘difficult pleasure’. And so it is being creative at times. But struggle we do to find our voices, particularly as mothers, where we are always diverting our attention to the needs of others. My Gran had nine children. She was always creating. And while she didn’t work outside of the home she certainly worked inside it.

    She sewed all the clothes, knitted all the jumpers and cardis and knitted and crocheted blankets. In her spare time she painted and did crafty projects such as rug making, and other things. She loved her garden and sang and played the mouth organ! I suppose my point is being creative was a way of life for her. It wasn’t a luxurious life, but a rich one. All through my life she has inspired me. For me, being creative is the thing that nurtures me and allows me to keep going. Life is indeed tough and messy , but I like to think of creativity as the thing that heals, to find that space is possibly the best thing you can do for yourself as a mother.

    I love your blog and what it is doing for people. Being part of the conversation is heartening, I’m enjoying everyone’s comments- thanks so much Pip,
    Julia x

  6. This is such a good post. I am going to listen to the podcast soon. You are so thoughtful and articulate. I am sorry you were made to feel that your creativity and success is a first world problem.

    I can definitely relate to this – to this: “Diminishing others’ experiences because they don’t mirror your own is doing us all a disservice. Surely we want the best for everyone, whatever that means? Better to change the language and talk about the fact that we either don’t understand the experience, are not really that interested or even admit we wish we could have a turn at the thing the others are doing, too.” Sometimes I feel that people can bring down success or hard work or experiences because they haven’t experienced that. And it can hurt.

    And working in a non-creative day job can sometimes mean that my passion for creativity is not taken seriously. It’s tough.

    Thank you for all the thought provoking words here. <3

  7. Hello Pip, Thanks so much for this post. I’m so glass that you followed-up on the discussions from the Conversation Hour. After listening to it, it did leave me feeling/sensing that perhaps it didn’t go quite the ’way’ that folks initially anticipated it would. Your post hints a little at this and I think what you’ve written here in reflection is really good. It is and I admire you for it Pip. In fact I would hug you for it if I could.
    I’ll be honest in saying that my heart lurched when the lady spoke about raising kids with disabilities because that was (and still is deep inside) me. My beautiful daughter was born with a brain abnormality that resulted in significant disabilities that required full time care. She had breathing issues, physical and feeding issues too (fed through a PEG). I’ve always been the crafty type who likes to have a crack at new things but my strong urges/need to engage in creative pursuits (especially those that took place outside the home) were met head-on with the deep-down, unspoken, ever-present question: what if something happens while I’m out?
    Here I am perusing an op shop for fabrics. What if she (my daughter) starts crying and the carer can’t work out why? What if they don’t feed her correctly? What if she stops breathing? What if she dies?
    Part of this is also about the dear person caring for her while I have time out. If something did happen would they blame themselves? Feel responsible? Guilty? I couldn’t bear the thought of putting someone (friends, family) up to the possibility of this happening.
    But Mum came anyway and often. Friends put their hands up to be trained in administering PEG feeds. My local council offered subsidised respite to me for a morning per week. Two wonderful, well-trained grandma-ish carers would come and be with my girl and love her too. I am tearing up now thinking of the love we were shown.
    My trips out were hard at first. Then it got a little better but the question nonetheless remained: what if? When the lady calling into the radio station said the bit about “first world problems” I found myself shaking my head and nodding at the same time. Shaking my head because of all the good, essential reasons you and the other guests mentioned on the show about the importance of keeping well and creative. But nodding too because day-to-day, it takes lots of physical, mental and emotional energy to care for your children with disabilities while also tending to the needs of other family members, running a household and booking, planning for and attending numerous appointments (medical, physio, hydro, OT…). It’s exhausting. Reaching out and organising for folk to help so you can have ‘me time’ just seems like another massive chore that often just can’t be faced. It gets shunted down the list of priorities. It rarely happens if at all.
    Still, the desire for time to oneself (to be), to be creative continues to wander back in. It’s real. Like the lovely neighbour over the fence continually inviting you over for a cuppa. You just know that’s what you really need right now. That’s why I so loved your points about the need for more discussions to take place about disability, inclusiveness, isolation and communities’ responses and active involvement. I smiled big when I read that Pip.
    I’m sorry that this is so long. Just wanted to share really. ?

    1. You know, I loved it that this was long and I loved reading about how it is for you. Even though it’s actually a tough read. We all need more insight into how it is to parent a child with a disability. It’s impossible to grasp if you are not living it, I think? Well. Maybe not impossible, but it’s difficult. I can understand why finding time for yourself becomes too-hard – and I hope that there are times in your day (or night) when all is quiet and you can take a little grab at some minutes just for you. There really are many, many discussions to be had here, but more than that, some reform. I was really surprised by where the discussion went on Wednesday, but kind of glad now to be finding out more about something that affects a large minority. Thanks heaps for listening and for reading and for commenting too (and sharing your own experience). I really appreciated it. Love to you. xx

  8. Pip – have you ever seen the movie “Easy A” with Emma Stone?
    There’s a scene where’s Emma is at a restaurant called ‘the lobster shack’ and her order arrives, and she pulls this awesome face of complete culinary lust at what is placed before her.
    I pulled the same face when I saw your Chowder recipe at the bottom of yet another wicked, thought-provoking and utterly BRILLIANT post.
    I MUST make ti tonight.

  9. I listened and enjoyed… Very much… I found it uplifting and life-affirming and powerful.

    Now, on this insanely cold Friday, that chowder sounds like the perfect comfort food. Thanks buckets. I’m gonna give it a whirl and toast some garlic- Turkish bread to have on the side.

  10. I just LOVED what you said about making your own rules as a family and working out what you want, especially as regards to gender rolls 🙂 I want to make a placard! *don’t pigeon hole yourself!*

    1. Oh! Gee! Thanks heaps for listening and for giving me such great feedback! xx

  11. This Conversation Hour segment sounds fascinating and, since I live in Brisbane, I don’t have the pleasure of knowing it. Your experience sounds both frustrating and enlightening (but also fortifying given some supporters you didn’t know you had came out of the woodwork).
    I think your post, in particular your top 10 list, is spot on. It resonates with me on every level. Creativity is so energizing! In some ways, having a child helps me to be creative because it forces you to slow down and see the world through a child’s eyes – you know, like being enchanted by bees on flowers or spiders spinning webs, or the feeling of sticking your whole hand into a bowl of cold yoghurt, or even blowing bubbles in the afternoon sun.
    But certainly finding the time to actually create something useful or beautiful, delicious or satisfying, is very hard when you’re looking after yourself and numerous other humans (big or small). I think you need to be absolutely dedicated to the pursuit of creativity to make it work. Come at it like a job, put time in regularly, arrange your schedule around it. But most of all, creativity demands inspiration and Pip you are very in inspiring to all us creative souls out there.

  12. “Having a nice life is NOT a luxury.”

    This is so true! I am very lucky to have the life I do, I have worked hard for everything I have today. That said I’m also completely cognisant that I came from a white, English speaking educated family (both parents public school teachers).

    It makes me sad when others try to assign a level of happiness or misfortune (aka First World Problems) which only invalidate the issues and struggles that all of inevitably have in our lives.

  13. It was such a great conversation, and one that we obviously need to continue. Thanks for your wise words Pip, and to everyone else who has commented. To Amna Mehwish above, there were tears here too! A creative life isn’t always financially lucrative, is not a luxury, and a parent (Mum OR Dad) living a creative life is giving a fabulous gift to their children. Follow the song in your heart…. and lead a good life.

  14. Oh goodness, I haven’t listened to the podcast because it’s not up on the site yet, but I have read Rachel’s blog and commented there. The thing about first world problems, is that they’re relative and we all have experiences that should never be taken for granted. I look at and write about and listen to significant big world problems every single day. Big. World. Kids in detention. Child soldiers. Maternal mortality. Child mortality. Humanitarian emergencies.

    I do it from a comfortable and friendly office in Sydney but the colleagues I speak to are often in the thick of it. In my volunteer life the Big World problems I share with the girls and young women I lead, mentor and represent put me much more in the thick of it and they’re curly problems, some of them. Some of them are just life problems and we all have something to contribute and share to make that road a little smoother. The stories of creative mothers are that. Sharing, smoothing, telling it how it is, how they wish it could be and how, with collaboration, it should be.

    I need creativity in my life to balance it. I need to make, listen, read, consume, eat, drink, be merry, laugh, cry, be frustrated, ponder solutions, see beauty, dig, bake… all to be a balanced person. Sometime I bake for my work colleagues and it may be the ONLY truly creative thing I have done in a week of grunt, commuting, meetings, negotiations, strategising… and so on.

    As a parent (all my children are grown now) blogging was my creative kick up the pants and with children grown, I have turned my attentions back to my career and with it my creative outlets, like blogging, have had to be reconsidered and re-calibrated. It’s just how this whole creative thing has to happen sometimes. It’s not about whether it’s a first world luxury or not. It’s about how the things that make up who we are balance and what we sometimes sacrifice for the things we need to give greater priority or attention to.

    I have been dragging along a piece of fine knitting to meetings for almost a year now. It’s a work I will finish and it will have mistakes, loose rows where I have had to track back because I wasn’t concentrating on it and stuffed up the pattern but it’s a creative work wedged in between a lot of not-very-creative work. It gets raised eyebrows, it evokes comment and curiosity but, damn it, the number of people who have come to me and asked what I am making and told me about their own dreams of making is always astonishing. Always. Make and do. I say.

  15. damn, i jumped out of the car to go shopping just as the conversation hour began, or I would have contributed positively. I find that, working as a Nurse i have to have about 14 days off work before creative things begin to stir. I am constantly struggling emotionally to be able to get to that place where I can be my true creative self and the rest of the time I am just giving it a half go. I had 10 days off and was invited to my friends Birthday and bang with only 2 days notice i made a crate(with help from my husband after i gave myself a fat lip with the hammer) and i filled it with mini gardens and painted rocks and other cool stuff i created. i was so excited to give it to her i almost wet my plants !!!!

  16. Great post! I don’t have kids (yet) but I still find that it is a struggle to fit in a creative life since I currently work a non-creative day job (hopefully that might change someday). I appreciate your thoughts here, they ring true for me as well.

  17. Such wise and well-considered words, Pip. I recently chatted to my mother-in-law about creativity and she said she’d spent years trying to find some creative outlet, before realising that the way she expresses her creativity is through cooking. She’s passionate about it, super inventive, does it every single day, and it is a big part of her identity. Creativity doesn’t have to be about making great art or a successful or lucrative career, but it does enrich our lives and is crucial to what makes us human beings, capable of solving problems and communicating complex ideas. I am so looking forward to reading the new edition of Rachel’s book – my copy of the original is well-thumbed and underlined, and has been read by several friends too! xx

  18. Would it be awful to admit that this post made me cry? Yes, I am an artist, a mother, a home maker and too often I find myself in complete isolation…and yes I express my creativity through so many things from baking birthday cakes to “inventing” new soups, dressing my kids up and finding treasures in op shops…the list is literally infinite, just like creativity itself. Why it is so hard for people to understand that? Why is there still stigma attached to creativity and the importance of finding time to make art ? I know it’s a feminist issue. First world problem it’s not!!
    Thank you so much for writing this post Pip.
    Much love

  19. Thanks, Pip, this was a really interesting read. I am someone who has found it hard to get back my creative side of life since becoming a mum. My pregnancy did not go very well and has left me with permanent health issues. As a result, I have a lot less energy for mothering (and everything else) than I had imagined. Just getting through the days can be hard sometimes, but three years on, I’m finally realising how important it is for me to prioritise creativity (and myself) in whatever small ways I can, and I am making some progress! That said, I wouldn’t be able to do it (or certainly it would be much harder) if I didn’t have a supportive partner and my very helpful parents on hand. And I still feel guilty every time I spend time on my own when I could be spending time with my daughter, but I’m working on that and I know deep down that doing different things is good for BOTH of us.

    I think all mothers (and fathers too) have barriers to pursuing creativity, some more significant than others, but it’s equally important for all of us to be able to access a creative lifestyle, or whatever kind of lifestyle makes us happy/fulfilled/healthy. It would be great if there was a bit more structured support in place for those whose barriers are that bit more insurmountable. You’re right that we should consider that and help if we can.

    Hmm, lots of food for thought!

  20. I was listening to your spot on Jon Faine and loved listening to you all. I agree with everything you say. Of course motherhood is hard, but at the end of the day we all have to take responsibility for our lives and if something is not working, we have to change it. Not resent those who have. There is no shame in asking for help. Nor should anyone feel shame for wanting to honour their creative outlet. It is not a waste of time, but something perhaps for sanity. It’s a matter of priorities.

  21. Great post Pip! Your response is so balanced and hits all the right points. Love it! I do think we creatives need to talk more about what we do. What I realise when I talk to parents I haven’t met before about my work is that they didn’t know a creative career could be an option for them. And that lots of the things they buy in shops or design they see on products or in print is something just a normal person like you and me have created. It can be a great way to support your family if you run your own creative business, as you have the flexibility to spend time with your family. It’s hard work and it’s scary at times financially, but it is possible, and it is a great option for those willing to take the leap. Many of the businesses can be started on little money, and done from home. Let’s spread the word!

  22. Thank you for your wise words Pip! I agree with everything you’ve said about people doing the things that make them happy, whether that’s something creative or something else. I think we can only be at our best if we’re doing things we love. It doesn’t have to be all the time, but I think it needs to be sometimes. I also agree with what you said about isolation. And this doesn’t just need to be physical isolation – it can be emotional / spiritual isolation too…

  23. yes yes yes… and a big yes to Kate’s comment on it being self rescue rather self indulgent too! ‘
    love ya work Pip! x

  24. My sentiments exactly Pip. I’m glad there are people out there talking about how being creative is important and that creativity encompasses so many things – as you say, cooking, reading, gardening whatever. It shouldn’t be put in a box and classed as being a pursuit for people with ‘too much time on their hands’. Looking forward to listening to the podcast. Thanks for the post

  25. Um, I haven’t listened to this podcast yet, but I hope all these people bleating about kids being the priority are holding Father’s to the same standard.

  26. Rachel’s book literally changed my life, when I read it when Marlo (my 8 year old) was a toddler and I have loved it and have since read it many times. I think it is correct to say some people ” get “creative and some don’t. The need to make/ create in whatever way is is not a trivial activity, like you said, our creativity becomes a business that supports our family and pays huge amounts of GST and TAX and raises money for humanitarian organisations, and unites people to create together for a larger cause- how could that possibly be trivial? Of course women put their children first- but sometimes putting my needs first is for their benefit and I know if I have not had time to doodle daydream and create I am a cranky mother! I feel like Rachel’s book gave me permission to do just that and I have done it ever since.

    Also, I often wonder if you 3 were elite sportsmen would people have questions the merit of your sporty pursuits? Would they have seen them as frivolous? I doubt it. Because men are allowed to have time to pursue their interests and it is seen as ok, where as women are made to feel they need to justify any time ” away from their children” this runs so deeply into traditional roles in society. Look at how sport is advertised in comparison to Art??

    People take the creativity of others for granted because they don’t realise how important it is but if we had no art and creativity in the world that what would it look like? How would it be?? what would be the point of BEING ALIVE??
    Can’t wait to listen Pip. X

  27. Oh wowsers. I have recently come to the conclusion that sometimes people have trouble putting themselves in others shoes. Just because someone lives life differently to the norm, to what works for you or what you think they ought to be doing doesn’t mean that it is wrong for the them. It has taken me 8 long years and 4 children to realise that following pursuits of my own actually makes me a better mother. I’m not doing everything I would like to be doing in a childless world, but I have my own (mostly creative) little projects. These projects – be they online courses, sewing a frock for my daughter or blogging; empowers me, relax me, enlighten me and inspire me. I don’t spend hours chained to the sewing machine, or days tied to the iPad while the kids fend for themselves, but I chose how to spend my time wisely (like now, the kidlets are in bed), or the kids get involved (my 6 year old is busting to start her own blog!!). In return I have more energy, more time, more ideas, more enthusiasm and a whole lotta love to pass onto my family. And I think it is important for the kids to see me doing something I really love too.

  28. Creativity is essential to happiness. It’s a pity that some people don’t realise that. P.S. I agree with all of your points, you’re always spot on.

    1. Thanks heaps for reading and taking the time to leave me a comment, Nicole. MUCH appreciated! x

  29. Thanks for that important post Pip. Creativity is so often misunderstood. Isolation, motherhood and disability-all such important topics to explore. I’m looking forward to listening to the interview. And where would we be without your blog!?

    1. Thank you so much for reading, Julia. I will be sure to let you know when the podcast is up. x

  30. This post is so related to my thoughts of late. I can’t articulate them well (I’ve rewritten this comment a few times) but I just wanted to say thankyou for this post.

    1. Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to comment, Shell. x

  31. What about people who don’t have a choice other than creating? Those silent artists who draw intricate doodles in long meetings that are akin to a school detention, or those who decorate their cubicles with whimsy and sunshine in their soul destroying jobs, or those who write poems in the windowless work lunch room?
    The creative person must create or else they cause destruction inside themselves. They burn to tell their stories with whatever their mode of choice demands and if they don’t; either the fire will go out and they become bitter and a little bit dead inside, or they can’t control the flames and one day, they throw in the ordinary and safe life to create the life they want.
    Sometimes it’s not self indulgent but self rescue.
    Ignore the haters, listen to your inner muse and create your life, whatever that means, with whatever means you can.

    1. So true Kate those meetings would drive me silly and I didn’t bother with the lunch room I’d write at my desk. When I’m out of the office my eyes are always open for that magical photo. Having a camera in the phone helps because you cant always have a SLR with you. But I do keep one in the car because when you are driving you just never know whats going to pop up. Last year I got some amazing photos of the Canola growing on my way home to Geelong on the road just past Werribee, Some amazing photos of foggy paddocks on the Anglesea Road near Freshwater creek. If I didn’t do this Id be half as productive when it comes to work.

  32. An interesting and thought-provoking post. Creativity is so important for quality of life I think, it is always very sad when people aren’t able to have time for this, my heart goes out to the woman with the disabled child. Too many people are in that situation, it’s so hard for them. I’m trying to find time for writing at the moment, and it’s hard to schedule it into a day that is filled with children and home, but I know I’m lucky to be in this situation. Just wish there were more hours in the day! Hopefully I’ll find a routine that works for me soon. Not until after the Easter holidays though… CJ xx

    1. Honestly, I can’t even begin to imagine the challenges that lady must be facing. All I know is that she brought up a really important, related issue, and that isolation and lack of support are a HUGE problem for many… I think the fallout from that can be pretty fraught… all kinds of trickle-down effects that are not good. It’s blinking awful, really…

  33. Thank you Pip for saying all the things that have played on my mind after I listened to your (sensational) interview yesterday. We can’t build ourselves up by cutting each other down and it is high time we as a society valued artists more. We are all valuable

  34. Pip, I love THIS! I want to give it to my whole family/colleagues/students to read! Raises some great questions about what/how we can help our isolated peers….what happened to the coffee and craft clatches from when we were growing up? Why is creativity not valued as a sanity saver? All the good stuff! Xx

  35. Sounds very interesting Pip…off to listen to the podcast right now, thank you x

  36. Pip you are such an intelligent woman. I really admire the way you see people & the world x

  37. I listened to the program yesterday and I have to say, I really hate it when people use the term “first world problems”. I think people who say that come across quite judgmental themselves. I think you nailed it when you said in your post “Diminishing others’ experiences because they don’t mirror your own is doing us all a disservice.” Just because we’re not bringing up children with disabilities does not mean that we don’t have our own struggles with motherhood and trying to do things for ourselves.

  38. Loved this post. I’ve never considered myself creative but looking back I have always been making stuff with yarn or in the kitchen. In the last 3 years my family has been through some really tough stuff, & still moving through it & crafting at the end of the day is what got me through. My head & heart were hurting too much for even my meditation but crochet & knitting gave me that time to be still & forget just for a moment all the bad stuff. I now see the value & importance to me but I still struggle to be open & upfront about my creating as though I’m ashamed of my need to sit & make. Like I should be doing something more worthwhile.
    I’m off to have a listen to your podcast now.

    Cheers Kate

  39. I think the callers comments say much more about the type of people listening to a day time radio segment than they do about the women who honestly spoke about their experiences. As I think your reflections say a lot about you Pip – instead of dismissing them as radio call in crazies, you’re doing your very best to understand their world view.

    I’m looking forward to listening to the podcast soon, just as soon as I can find the time in my first world, privileged, over scheduled, working mother lifestyle. I’m hoping to learn plenty about how you do it, and gain some inspiration and ideas for finding more time for my creative practice!

    1. haha! Thanks for your comment, Natalie. Hopefully they get the podcast up soooooon! It’s taking ages!

      1. Depending on who is doing the IT work it can take up to four days to load the podcast. When that happens they tend to load up to four at once.

        1. Thanks for that insight, Patrick. And thanks for listening and commenting too. I am working my way through everyone’s thoughts, slowly but surely. x

          1. Hi Pip, I’ve just checked and the podcast is up. Its Friday night 27/03/2015 at 10pm or so Go to http://www.abc.net.au click on radio, select local radio, then select Melbourne, then programs then conversation hour and there it is. Happy listening folks.

  40. Pip, I listened to the program and tweeted whilst you were on.

    The one thing that I found sad listening to the program was indeed the number of people who were isolated by circumstance. be that isolation physical, financial, health what ever it may be. That isolation as you said led some people to diminish the lives of others and view creativity as a luxury. A nice life as a luxury and being undeserved.

    As a keen amateur photographer and writer who doesn’t get to explore that side of my creativity often because I need to work to pay the bills I sort of understand that but also feel that by diminishing we curb our own creativity.

    I feel that this feeling that those who are marginalised by circumstance and who may be receiving some sort of benefit from the community purse or who need some help to get by shouldn’t have a nice life and be grateful for receiving “Tax Payers Money” has really taken over in this country. The theories of the deserving and the undeserving poor and user pays etc started back in the Howard years as a w edge politics argument and have taken over. Things like the “intervention” and Centrelink “Income Management” contribute greatly to this negative attitude.

    As a community we need to foster creativity, support and encourage that creativity because it invigorates community. A community with out creativity becomes grey and filled with automatons leading sterile gray lives. We need to be reinspired by people like yourself who express their creativity. On a social platform we need to look to the Scandinavian countries were this might is right user pays mentality is not their. Where the community cares for each other and encourages individuals to express their creative talents for the good of the entire community.

    Former Victorian Premier “Dick” Hamer truly understood the value of creativity ensuring that the National Gallery and the Arts centre were built. He knew that culture and the arts enlivened the community gave relief to the daily monotony and inspired new thinking.

    Thank you for your participation in the program with Jon yesterday it was an engrossing hour and when it was over I just went and hand a look through my portfolio and emailed a few photos to a friend over seas who missed the South West Coast.

    Thanks and Ciao,


    1. It’s a pretty tricky balance, isn’t it? Empathy, openness and understanding whilst trying not to feel dismissed or diminished – especially when the isolation and difficulties someone else is going through are so challenging. I’m not sure of the best response really, except to listen and try to understand… and keep the discussion going.

      Perhaps we all need to be creative scouts – nipping out ahead of the pack when things are a bit cynical and unwaveringly talking about the importance of living a meaningful and good life…

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the discussion and that it sparked some nice reflections and actions!


    1. Hah! Thanks for giving it a read, Sam! Thank you!

  42. I would literally shrivel up and die if I could not make things. I once tried to go on holidays without taking knitting and had to have a mercy dash to spotlight in Adelaide for some wool and knitting needles. I can’t stop the ideas. I can’t stop the urge. Not that anyone would call what I do “making a living” but I still have aspirations in that direction. I cannot understand people who AREN’T creative. Very suspicious in my book. Potential terrorists I reckon. lol and maybe even liberal voters. (aaaaaaah! )

    1. I actually can’t NOT pursue creative projects. Even if I work full time on something less creative, I will be cramming stuff in before and after hours. It’s a drive, not a choice, very often. x

  43. I loved that radio interview, and I got a lot out of listening to it.

    I used to work for an arts organisation trying to raise money through sponsorship and donations and this belittling of the importance of creativity to the community was a common theme in our quest to raise funds. “Who needs it? Give the money to hospitals/sick kids/whales/cancer research.” A big part of my job was to explain the importance of creativity for everyone. It’s a part of being human. I feel sad that people don’t understand this and are are missing out on something that to me, is intrinsically human.

    Such a great, thought provoking post Pip x

    1. I guess some of us take our creative hankerings for granted, while others think it’s just indulgent piffle. And yet, you don’t catch me telling plumbers or clerks that their way of life is unimportant… I love plumbers and clerks (and others too!) I think those piffle-thinkers might want to rethink their approach…

    2. What a great comment Michelle! I am an ambassador for Layne Beachley’s Aim for the Stars Foundation – Layne grants young women money to help them achieve success. She made a point last week that fundraising can be hard when there are disadvantaged people that need money, but she wants to support people who are reaching for the stars. Thanks for raising this.

  44. As the mother of a disabled child, I would be lost without my creativity. It is s terrible thing that people feel isolated, although, as you say, parenting a disabled child is not the only reason that people become isolated, but having an outlet is so vital, and finding the space for that is by no means a first world problem, but a great source of therapy and healing.

    1. Dani I think you totally hit the nail on the head!

    2. I don’t have a child with a disability – but I have experienced my own health issues and I know that making things has been so important to riding out those times. It’d be presumptuous of me to recommend creative work to people who are obviously completely disillusioned with their lot, especially when I don’t know them, but I really wanted to! x

  45. I am looking forward to listening to the interview. I wish people would stop trivialising creativity as indulgent and view it as a cornerstone of human experience. I think it has a place in every single person’s life and perhaps even more for those who are struggling. It gives so much solace and so much hope.

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