Honoring Your Child AND Your Muse

"Muse" by Marisa Ross

How do you honor your muse when you put your children first? It’s a question every art-inclined parent surely has weighed. This blog chronicles my return to an art-committed life, but it generally avoids looking back on the choices that kept me off-road. It’s not always easy for me to look back, but it’s part of the story.

I share some of that back story in a short personal essay, “Oxygen,” that has now been published on Creative Flux. The online journal is published by Sirius Press and curated by polymath artist Terre Britton. Terre (@TheFourOrders) is a visual artist, a science fiction author, a graphic design firm owner, and a vice president with Sirius Press. I assume I was fortunate enough to be invited to contribute to a site “where ideas gestate and mutate” because those many muses occupying Terre’s time didn’t allow her to conduct a more extensive author search. I thank her muses for those distractions.

Please enjoy “Oxygen,” and join Terre and I in conversation below the post on the Creative Flux site. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the challenges of honoring both your children and your muses.

11 thoughts on “Honoring Your Child AND Your Muse

  1. She Started It

    Great piece, Patrick. About two years ago, when my daughters were 8, 6 and 21 months, I made the decision to devote myself to writing. Since then, I have churned out a 100-page book proposal, written several essays, 2 picture books, and a full-length novel. I have become a far better parent, but most importantly, by observing my devotion to my art, my kids have followed in my footsteps. (Life really does imitate art.) My oldest (now 10) writes poetry, short stories, and is working on a novel. My second child (now 7) draws, paints, and writes short stories. My third is only 3, but I hope she someday embraces creativity as her sisters have.


    1. Kudos to you for your commitment, for your productivity, and for your positive modeling of creativity to your children. Have fun on that first college visit with your budding novelist in a few short years!


  2. Congratulations, Patrick! I just left a comment at “Creative Flux” on your wonderful essay. It is an important essay for all parents to read, and I thought your images, honesty, and passion for both your children and your art were very powerful.
    And thanks for introducing me to “Creative Flux.” What a cool site! I read several other essays while I was over there.


    1. Hi Callie! Thank you for your kind words. As you know, I’m not naturally inclined to share that way, so it’s very helpful to receive encouragement like this. And yes, Creative Flux is indeed a cool site!


      1. Callie, so great to see you over at Creative Flux! I’m glad you enjoyed browsing around and hope you will return.

        Hey, Patrick; I appreciate you spreading the word about CF. The writing quality of work, by you and the other contributors, is impressive. And the impact? Equally provocative.



  3. Patrick, you tip the scales of honor with your kind remarks. And, trust me, my research criteria was modeled on your talent.

    Thank you for always sharing the best of yourself.

    And a special thanks to your daughter, Marisa—a true photographer with an exceptional ‘eye’—for capturing the lovely, meditative ‘Muse.’

    All the best,


  4. Well, I guess I should have left a comment over at Creative Flux, but I didn’t realize I could until I came back here! As a parent myself, I loved the essay. I was just thinking this morning about all the things that lead us away from our creative callings, and often they fall into two categories: the need to make a living and the need to pay attention to one’s children. You’ve made an admirable return to your writing, Patrick, bravo! And you also have a very wise daughter.


    1. Those two reasons, Charlotte, would seem to cover a lot of ground–income needs and children. I think a third might be loss of confidence, although perhaps the presence of that makes it easier to instead put more time into parenting and paid work. And yes, my daughter is wise, but I can’t tell her that too often, she needs to learn wisdom doesn’t necessarily translate into good grades without studying! 🙂


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