Composing a life

by Mary Catherine Bateson

Paper Book, 2001

Status

Available

Publication

New York : Grove Press, [2001].

Description

Using the lives of five women as her framework, Bateson delves into the creative potential of the complex lives that we live today, where ambitions are contantly refocused on new goals and possibilities. We meet Johnnetta Cole, anthropologist and college president; Joan Erikson, dancer, writer, and jewelry designer; Alice d'Entremont, electrical engineer and entrepreneur; Ellen Bassuk, psychiatrist and researcher on homelessness; writer and professor Mary Catherine Bateson.

Media reviews

The Mission List
From themissionlist.com: When I was 22, I worked at iVillage.com, and co-founder Nancy Evans suggested I read a book called Composing a Life, written by Margaret Mead’s daughter, Mary Catherine Bateson. I just reread Bateson’s book, and her point about the trajectory of women’s lives is powerful today. Bateson emphasized that women’s lives–marked by caretaking– so often veer from the paths we may intend them to take. This is a wonderful thing, but we’re not taught to think of it that way. Bateson writes of the huge creative potential of a life that twists and turns, and is not “pointed towards a single ambition.” These are not lives without commitment, “but rather lives in which commitment is continually refocused and redefined.”

Language

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