Elizabeth Aquino is an LA mom who will be performing in our show this month for the second time. She blogs over here. And just created a beautiful video that she collaborated with other parents of children with disabilities.
How were you creative pre-kid?
My daughter Sophie is going to be eighteen next year, so it’s been a long time since I was “pre-kid,” but my creativity was always expressed through writing. As a young child, I wrote poetry and short stories and made efforts at novels, and reading books was my great passion. Before I had Sophie I was a pastry chef, and creating beautiful cakes and pastries was another way to express myself, although the work was far more grueling than writing!
How have you been creative post-kid?
My daughter was diagnosed, out of the blue, with a terrible seizure disorder when she was three months old, and I can honestly say that my creativity — at least as far as writing was concerned — stopped. I didn’t write for probably ten years — for various reasons, but mainly because I was utterly immersed in our survival. The world I was thrust into — the world of disability — took every ounce of my concentration, and I remember noting things that happened in my head, saying to myself that “it will go into my book one day.” When Sophie was ten years old and I lived in Los Angeles, I took a writing workshop at UCLA Extension under a wonderful teacher named Barbara Abercrombie and began writing again. Before I knew it, I had a series of essays that I began submitting for publication. By then, I had two MORE children, my sons Henry and Oliver, so I found plenty to talk about — and write about — and write about. Once I started, I never stopped. I now have a blog that has taken on a life of its own with a community of writers and parents and artists that sustain and inspire me.
When and how do you find the time?
I write for a few hours after my kids go to school and late into the night. I’m a night owl, so that’s no problem! I also carry around a little notebook that I use to jot down random thoughts and ideas. I use those as a sort of springboard for what I write. Posting daily in my blog also helps me to be more disciplined — often what I write there inspires my writing offline.
How has your creativity changed?
Being a mother, particularly to a child with severe disabilities, has given me a lot of confidence. I also know that given the amount of stress I’m under daily, as well as how it’s ongoing, I have to take time for myself and nurture the part of me that is creative. Otherwise, I would truly go insane. At the same time, I think my creativity was expressed quite differently before I had Sophie and my sons. It’s a constant challenge to unwrap my identity from them.