Monday, March 30, 2015

Cate Blanchett in Vogue on art and motherhood

As you would imagine, I pretty desperately wanted Cate Blanchett to be in the first edition of The Divided Heart. She was an obvious choice.

I bugged her twice about it -- and her agent very politely declined on her behalf each time.

As I was nearing the deadline to get the manuscript to my publisher, my partner took the kids on a camping trip with a group of friends to give me the space and time to get it finished.

On the way back home they stopped at a small town for a drink and who should be the only other family in the cafe but Cate Blanchett, Andrew Upton and their kids!

They got to talking. My partner told them he was looking forward to seeing what the pair did with the Sydney Theatre Company (they were about to start their joint directorship), and Blanchett found some sensitive way to inquire where "Mum was".

"Funnily enough," my partner told her, "she's at home trying to finish her book -- on art and motherhood. A book she really wanted you to be in, actually."

To which Blanchett said something along the lines of: "Oh, that old 'art and motherhood are incompatible' idea...".

"Well, no, clearly not just that," he said, "since you're managing to do both."

My partner is a very charming man, but sadly nothing he said helped change her mind. Obviously she's not a woman swayed by the power of coincidence!

A few weeks ago, the Good Weekend published a lovely piece by author Anna Funder about Jessica Anderson's novel Tirra Lirra by the River (one of my favourite books of all time!).

In commenting on the novel's main character, Funder said:
...wanting life and art both -- desires that in Brisbane in the early 20th century could not speak their name, and that are probably pretty difficult to reconcile without a lot of collateral damage, in any life. Indeed as I write this, in time bought from a babysitter, bargained from my husband and stolen from my children, the risk of collateral damage feels closer than I'd like. 

Even Anna Funder -- an assured writer, and a critical and commercial success -- still confronts the feeling that time for writing is bought, borrowed and stolen from her family, at some risk.

It is Funder that Cate Blanchett has chosen to speak to on the subject of art and motherhood in the latest issue of Vogue -- you'll have to buy the mag for the real thing, but here's's little write-up about it. No doubt Blanchett is (understandably) offering Vogue the definitive exclusive as some way of deflecting the onslaught of interest in her new baby girl.

And so I'm still a little bit sad that Blanchett didn't want to be in my book, but all power to the wonderful Anna Funder -- who'll no doubt conduct a fabulous interview, which I look forward to reading!

Oh - and there's an excerpt from my introduction of Creativity & Motherhood: The Divided Heart in ArtsHub today -- if you'd like to, you can read it here.


kim aikman said...

Oh no, such a shame! I saw Anna Funder (alongside Kate Grenville) at the Perth Writers Festival a few year ago, and she was very candid and insightful about motherhood and writing. Is Danielle Caruana in your book? She has some really interesting things to say about creativity and being a mum.

Rachel Power said...

Oh, it actually breaks my heart a bit to see you mention those two names. If there were two more people I would have loved to include it would've been them - we're on the same wavelength! It's so difficult doing a book like this and having to leave out so many incredible women with so much to offer. I agree - both Danielle and Anna have spoken about motherhood in ways I totally relate to. Such a shame indeed...

kim aikman said...

Oh no! That comment was pretty tactless of me. Apologies. It must be so frustrating! But I guess it's good that there are so many incredible creative women, who have interesting things to say about art and motherhood, even if they aren't contributors to your book. The third edition maybe...

Rachel Power said...

I didn't think you were tactless at all! I regularly think of people who would've contributed something wonderful to the book with great regret. But that's life, isn't it? Always tempting to try and extend it or do another edition...