The Artist’s Way


Lightning and thunder (rare and welcome visitors) and a sudden evening episode of snow and hail combined to mark a very strange close to March. As I looked eastward from my sheltered perch, I saw a curtain of thick, damp, pink light (these very same colors you see here) nestled below the clouds, and thought of new beginnings: the promise of spring (which we’d seen more of before the vernal equinox than on any day since) and the hopeful rebirth of my own creative self.

Thanks to Miranda’s gentle prodding, I’m beginning to make my way through Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity. It’s a course designed to wedge free the blocks and rekindle the act of creation. I’m inclined to be skeptical, as I am with all self-help literature, but there’s an false ease in believing things will get better on their own, that desire is enough. But then I see what I would like to be and its unreachable beauty plunges me headlong into despair, and I know it’s time to open up to a new approach. I know that what I want is nothing more or less than what is promised by this book, so here I am, open, all hopeful optimism.

This morning, mmediately after waking, I picked up a pen and wrote three full pages of longhand stream-of-consciousness. Cameron requires these “morning pages” be written every day for the twelve week duration of the program, and already I know things will be difficult! I haven’t written longhand in ages, and hardly a page in, my hand started cramping up badly. Still, in the end three pages were produced, and who cares if the words aren’t legible, or if they seem to have been penned by three people with wildly different handwriting? They weren’t meant to be read, after all, and now I have this one day under my belt. I can take tomorrow as it comes.

Twelve weeks!

Am positive though that this would all be more effective with some moral support. Have I convinced anyone else to maybe join me on this road?

  • Thanks for the encouragement, everyone. :)

    SB: I know what you mean about dream-writing. I wish mine weren't so ephemeral -- often they don't last more than a couple minutes, and the time it takes to start writing is too long to remember, sometimes.

  • SB

    I do morning writing most mornings -- though without a specific time limit in mind. Often, to record a dream.

    If I'm not doing this, especially writing down my dreams, I'm not doing other writing. It seems critical for me to 'prime the pump' each morning.

    No editor, though -- make her be quiet!

    Peter Elbow (Writing Without Teachers) talks about 'compost' -- and I remind myself, when the editor threatens, "this is compost"

  • Julia is a good friend of one of the teachers of mine I most respect, and she often in her books praises Julia's approach and the book "The Artist's Way" by name.

    I'd been meaning to look at it anyway, at some point, when it felt right.

    This is all the impetus I needed for the time to be right. I'll now be getting a copy straightaway. I'm in; just let me know how you'd like to proceed and how best I can be supportive.

  • I'd happily join you if it weren't for that unfortunate situation I mentioned in #flickr. I'll support you any other way you need me to though!

  • Miranda

    Hooray! It's true that desire is not enough, but if you have desire *and* do the morning pages *and* the weekly exercises, that will be enough! xoxo, M

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