Amy Bennett is a music teacher, freelance writer, jewelry maker, and community theater actress. She lives with her English professor husband, their two energetic boys, and their cat Daisy in northeast Alabama. Amy is currently working on her first novel.
City, State, Country:
Centre, Alabama, USA
Why do you create?
For me, creativity is stress relief as much as it is self expression; I get very antsy and depressed when I don't have an outlet through which to channel my emotions. I tend to cleanse and purge myself through my various art media, so for me creativity is very cathartic.
Do you have a primary creative medium?
Actually, I consider myself a JilI of All Trades: I'm a musician, actress, writer, and artist. I sing and teach music. I work as a freelance writer as well as create original fiction, poetry, and songs. I also love to sketch, construct 3D collages, and make personalized jewelry.
Please describe your creative process:
I write, paint, sing, or act whatever is in my head. When I was younger, I spent way too much time trying to perfect the words or images before I put them to paper. I've learned over time to value the beauty of those words and images in their raw state. Perfecting and editing interrupts the creative flow, so you shouldn't get so bogged down in stressing over imperfections in the early stages. Now, I just relax and let the creations come as they are.
Looking back on your childhood, who has been the biggest influence on your work?
One of my elementary school teachers, Mrs. Blubaugh, really had a profound impact on my creative life. Her classroom was based on the importance of imagination and creativity, and so any type of artistic pursuit was encouraged. She inspired me to explore writing. My 10th grade English teacher, Dr. Elmore, was also a source of encouragement. She told me before I graduated that I was born to be a writer, and though I laughed it off at the time, I treasure her words now.
What are the biggest barriers to continuing your creative work?
Guilt. I allow myself to sometimes feel guilty about indulging in my passions. I think that maybe I should be spending time baking cookies or taking the kids to the park when I'm holed up in my studio. I think that some people tend to look on creative moms as being selfish for continuing to pursue creativity. It can be a struggle to ignore the inner and outer critical voices and feed myself on what I love. I try to have the courage to ignore the inner and outer critical voices of my creative because I know truthfully that allowing myself to continue makes me a better mom.
How old were you when you realized that you're an "artist" or a "creative person"?
I think I've always known.
If you could give a new mother advice about honoring her creativity while mothering, what would you tell her?
I would tell her that creativity has phases, and motherhood will bring opportunities to explore new territory. Never feel like your artistic life is over! Don't feel guilty if you use your baby's nap time as creative time. A lot of people will tell you that you should sleep when your baby sleeps, but for the creative mother, a short period of artistic expression can be more restorative than a nap!
What work are you most proud of?
I wrote a plea to my artistic friends who, like me, were going through some tough times creatively. The piece has been shared numerous times via social media, and I sincerely hope that it has been a source of encouragement to struggling artists.
Here is an excerpt from Amy's piece, "To the Artists: Don't Put the Pistol in the Paintbox" :
Are you a Vincent [Van Gogh]? Are you waiting for the world to see and understand what you do? Perhaps your paintings aren't selling, your book still hasn't been picked up by a publisher, or the recording industry hasn't yet recognized your vocal talents. Don't give up. Do what you do, if only for yourself.
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