The Art of Being at Home: An Audio Guide

Written and read by Anna Pook
Released Thursday 2 July 2020

‘The Art of Being at Home’ is a short story by Anna Pook that explores the conflicting emotions and responsibilities of a wife and mother attempting to work from home during lockdown. Anna combines personal narrative, tongue-in-cheek advice, and earnest reflection to paint an acutely accurate portrait of the many caregivers and spouses attempting to navigate the varied obligations of lockdown and emerge in one piece.

Anna collaborated with designer Bonnie Craig on the visual presentation of this piece. Anna and Bonnie have combined found images, text, and layers of colour in order to create a hybrid form that parodies women’s magazines and ‘good wife’ guides of the 1950s.

Below is an audio guide, which includes a reading by the author. It features insight into the inspiration for the story, as well as her personal thoughts on motherhood, domesticity and gender. As this event is audio-based, feel free to engage in other homely activities while you listen.

Follow along with Anna, with the text below:

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Audio Guide References:

[00:20] ‘The Art of Being a Well-Dressed Woman’ by Anne Fogarty (1959)

[18:50] - ‘The Tidal Zone’ by Sarah Moss (2016)

Anna’s resources and notes:

With help from the author, we have compiled a list of resources as an extension to the topics discussed in the audio guide. Click to view the links. 

‘The Book of Longings’ by Sue Monk Kidd (2020)

‘The Divided Heart: Art and Motherhood’ by Rachel Power (2012)

‘The First Person and Other Stories’ by Ali Smith (2009)

- This book inspired me to incorporate aspects of my own life into my work and to think about the definition of a ‘true story’. 

‘If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit’ by Brenda Uealand

- Specifically chapter ten: Why Women Who Do Too Much Housework Should Neglect It For Their Writing. 

‘Untamed’ by Glennon Doyle (2020)

This book discusses the damaging parenting motto women of my generation have been given and why women, and society in general, have been led to believe that motherhood is synonymous to self-sacrifice. Doyle argue that mothers should aim to be models for their children, not martyrs. 

‘Self-Help’ by Lorrie Moore (2015)

Kleio’s resources and notes:

‘Diary of a Mad Housewife: A Novel’ by Sue Kaufman (1967)

‘Is Motherhood the Unfinished Work of Feminism?’ by Amy Westervelt for the Guardian (2018)

‘Matricentric Feminism’ by Andrea O’Reilly (2016)

‘Mothers: An Essay on Love and Cruelty’ by Jaqueline Rose (2018)

‘Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Experience and Institution’ by Adrienna Rich (1996)

‘A Room of One’s Own’ by Virginia Woolf (1929)

‘A Woman Is a Woman Until She Is a Mother’ by Anna Prushinskaya (2017)

Passthejpeg wallpaper image: “18B” by Cynthia D. Suwito

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