Staten Island native Annette Daniels Taylor, 42, is a poet, playwright, performance artist, producer, teacher, wife and mother of four. She is also the events coordinator of Mamapalooza, which is happening tonight and Saturday night from 7 to 10 p.m. in Rust Belt Books, 202 Allen St. It is free and open to the public.
Mamapalooza (www.mamapalooza.com) is a nationwide series of events dedicated to and featuring moms who rock, roll, rap, write poetry, paint, etc. The second annual Buffalo version is supported by Just Buffalo Literary Center (www.justbuffalo.org) and is part of "The Big Read," celebrating Zora Neale Hurston's "Their Eyes Were Watching God" and emphasizing the importance of women's experience.
Daniels Taylor was able to speak by phone after assuring one of her children that the call was for her.
>Why do you think we need to separate out mothers who create art?
Men get more focus; they always get attention and opportunities. And some women automatically say, "I'll stay home with the kids. When kids are older, I'll have my turn." We sacrifice, because we're the ones having the children.
So, this festival, where everyone is a mother and an artist -- I love the idea of all of us performing on one stage. You can focus on yourself and others who are like you, who squeeze in what you do while the kids are at school.
>Your children range from 4 to just about 13. How do you fit it all in?
Something has to be sacrificed. With me, it's usually sleep. You can get burnt out, and it's really, really hard.
I am a teaching artist in the morning, then go to [P.S. 89, Dr. Lydia T. Wright School of Excellence] in the afternoon, then come home with the kids. Two nights a week, I'm in the Road Less Traveled Production's New Play Development program.
Being in a Buffalo is a plus, because it's easy to get places, and my husband's family helps watch the kids. But being a working artist and a mother is not a wealthy place to be -- sometimes you won't get your new shoes; your children will, but you won't.
>What advice would you give to other busy and creative mothers?
It's OK to have a dream and to keep working on it. For many of us, dreams don't always come to fruition when you're young, in college. You must wait sometimes. It's OK to give yourself permission after you've had children.
-- Jana Eisenberg, Special to The News