I just finished reading The Lost Diaries of Susanna Moodie in which author Cecily Ross provides a fictionalized account of the life of one of Canada’s first authors. Susanna Moodie’s book Roughing it in the Bush was published in 1852.
Susanna left her comfortable home in England to accompany her husband John as he set off for Upper Canada where he was convinced their family would have a great future. While he pursued one money-making scheme after another, none successfully, Susanna was often left alone with her small children to manage a household, crops, gardens and livestock and to deal with blizzards, fires, illness and injury. Yet despite her endless days of grinding work and demanding child care she somehow found time to write poetry, make journal entries and paint water colors.
Her need to write and paint was no doubt partially motivated by the fact that she was sometimes able to sell her work and use the small amounts of money she received to help her family survive, since her husband was so woefully inept as a family provider. But I think her creative work was also a way for her soul and spirit to survive the physically harsh and endlessly demanding life in her adopted country. She is an inspiration to those who might think they don’t have time to explore their creative self.