Writer’s Life: Lindsey Mead

Lindsey Mead writes of one of my favorite blogs, A Design So Vast.

(That image comes from her blog.) Lindsey writes with grace, wisdom and generosity about life and meaning — with a healthy dose of children, motherhood, work, and the bittersweet melancholy that accompanies the passing of time. I’ve shared her writing before, because it is so often something I wish I’d written myself. Meet Lindsey Mead:

What have you learned from parenting, or from your own parents, that you bring to your work as a writer?

Nobody would ever call me chill, but I am fairly laid-back when it comes to parenting. It’s the arena in my life where I am the most relaxed. I give my mother the credit for that. She is a laissez-faire parent in the best possible way, and it’s been one of the great, enduring surprises of my life that I have a lighter touch on the parenting wheel than I might have expected. From my father, I learned that there is meaning both in logic and science (he has a PhD in Engineering) and in art and religion (he remains awe- and wonderstruck by the great cathedrals and art of Europe and my childhood was marked by this passion).

I couldn’t even begin to describe the lessons I’ve learned from my children, which have been more numerous than I can count. Pay attention. Be kind. Say I’m sorry. Say I love you. Books and the ocean and the library and a walk can heal a huge number of ills. [Ed. Note: I could have written that sentence!]

Where do you write? What do you love about it?

I write in my little third-floor office. I love the view out the window, where I watch sunsets, and I love the board in front of my desk, which is covered in things I love: photographs of my children, my husband, my dearest friends, our wedding, a string of Buddhist prayer flags. People are often surprised that my office only contains one quote displayed anywhere, and that is above my desk. It is Wendell Berry’s poem The Real Work, which is my favorite poem. I look at it many, many times a day.

If you had a motto, what would it be?

Be Here Now.  I think about getting that tattooed on the inside of one wrist.

Who inspires you?

Writers who speak honestly and truly and beautifully about what it is to live in the world (Mary Oliver, Annie Dillard, Dani Shapiro, Katrina Kenison come to mind) and women who were on the vanguard of owning their powers and talents (Georgia O’Keeffe, Susan B Anthony, Marie Curie are my first thought). My children inspire me every day. 

What charity or community service are you passionate about?

My father-in-law received a life-saving heart transplant in 2002 and has also received a stem cell and kidney transplant. He’s a marvel and the cause of organ donation is hugely important to our family. 

What are you reading now, and/or what book do you recommend?

I’m reading Before the Fall right now by Noah Hawley and cannot put it down. After that, I’m going to finally read The Maytrees by Annie Dillard.  I’ve never read her fiction and look forward to it.  I’m trying to up my novel quotient for the year, because it’s been low so far.
For more from Lindsey Mead, read her blog: A Design So Vast

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