Sunday, January 4, 2009

Progress Along The Way: The Artist's Way That Is: Week 1; Chapter 1

"...So you see, imagination needs moodling ----
long inefficient, happy idling, dawdling & puttering..."
Brenda Ueland

As a few of you may remember I have tried to wade my way (say that three times fast!) through the Artist's Way by Julia Cameron before; never making it much past Chapter 3. I thought that it might make for more progress if I progressed with other people & posted about my progress with each chapter in the book every week on Sunday. A couple of weeks ago, in a post, I asked if there were any other folks who might want to join me in this jaunt into creativity, two other intrepid travelers, Judy & Sandra, have decided to give it a go with me. This will be a no stress journey and, if one of us decides that life is getting the upper hand, they can stop & start again or stop & not start again! This is the first week and is, therefore, about about Chapter 1. One of my favorites things about this book is the wealth of quotations that it contains. I love quotations. Most people can think of much better ways to say things than I can - and I like reading what other people say about the more meaningful aspects of living life to the fullest.

One of the reasons that I have had a difficult time with this book in the past, I think, is because of it's 'spiritual' aspect. I am one of those people that may, in fact, have a hurting little kid stuck inside of me - but I want that "inner child" to keep her mouth shut. So process' that verge on opening up that potential for angst are generally not on my hit parade. I can, I hope, look at most of this is a somewhat less spiritual, and somewhat more 'grounded' way. Or, perhaps,being grounded will allow for more spiritual work to be done.

We begin.
Morning pages &artist's dates. Easy enough for me since I write in my journal daily (as I grow older I surely would not want to forget any of the choice gems that make up my humdrum life now would I!) and I love to let my mind wander into the ether realms - isn't that an artists date? Hummm, well, maybe I can work on that aspect a bit - with 15 miles of pristine natural beauty surrounding me, and the mainland far far away, I have lots of artistic inspiration close at hand. The problem with the "morning pages", for me at least, is the 'morning' part. I don't do mornings very well. To compromise on that aspect I do write a bit as soon as I get up in the morning and then write lots more in the evening, when the air outside stills and thoughts come more easily. I do Evening Pages. It works for me.

Artist's date? Well somehow this too smacks at taking that little inner beastie child out for a nice little bit of meandering.... but meandering for me is easy and I don't mind too much if the past is along for this kind of ride. In fact, I think that it's a good thing. My artist dates thus far have been having fun tinkering with my vintage fountain pens, playing with pens, inks,paints & papers. I go outside to feel the caress of the clean cool air on my face. I listen to the crows & eagles & sea birds. I smell the pungency of wet, winter earth & brisk , soothing cedar and pines. I like these dates - I want more dates like this !

"Filling The Well" is another part of Chapter 1. The directions are easy. " what intrigues you, explore what interests you; think mystery not mastery...". By George, THIS I can do & do with relish. My well is going to be overflowing - in fact I have thought that it has been overflowing for some time - I think I need a mind sluice! The books talks about any regular, repetitive action,like embroidery, knitting, crocheting, sewing etc as means of "priming the pump". Meditative actions tend to do that I think ! Julia Cameron also suggests listening to differnt music &, perhaps, trying new candles or incense. I like it! I can do this !

The end of Chapter One includes a "contract". It goes like this:
" I_________ understand that I am undertaking an extensive guided encounter with my own creativity. I commit myself to the twelve week duration of the course, I _____, commit to weekly reading, daily morning (evening) pages, a weekly artist's date, and the fulfillment of each week's tasks.
I_______,further understand that this course will raise issues and emotions for me to deal with. I, _________commit myself to excellent self care,diet,exercise, and pampering - for the duration of the course..." Sign/Date

Uhoh - here we go with my commitment issues! I can only say that in my book I have penciled in the pertinent name and that I will strive to complete this course - and will post about it each Sunday. I will not, however, feel a failure if I falter along the way. I take the word 'commit' strongly though - so I am, truly preparing to give this a good go. I want to find out all of the things I should have been and still can be. Art if life and life is art. That's it until next week. Bored yet?!

Feel free to joing us if the creative spirit should move you. No strings, no guilt, no have to's - just sort of a "let's see what if .......".


tiedyejudy said...

Marie, so far, so good! I think having a couple of buddies to keep you company is going to help, it has already helped me a lot! Something about sharing the experience, bouncing ideas and impressions off of each other, makes it more real to me. And I think focusing on what works, and not letting the rest get in the way, is really positive. If anything happens in the areas you aren't comfortable with, all well and good, but I think the most important thing for me, at least, is to maximize my creative potential by learning how to use some new tools. Let's give ourselves credit for our efforts! Yaaaay, team!


Donna said...

Marie, I'd love to read your progress through this book. Its bee 3 years since I took this journey with Julia Cameron. I got to the last 2 chapters and stopped but I keep an almost daily journal and I go on frequent artist's dates. I often refer back to the book when I need a quote or some advice. It is my favourite artist book because it got me going on my artist's way. See my blog for evidence:
The spirituality thing didn't bother me, I liked the idea that we are all creative and therefore divine. I look forward to your weekly progress! Donna from Ontario.

Robin said...

Not bored. Tried AW long time ago.. got some very useful things from it. Had trouble making time for artist dates. Had trouble with morning morning pages, so went to anytime morning pages. Still write them sometimes. Some amazing things happened with morning pages... they are my most honest refelctions of a given moment. Heard JC speak one time... fascinating!!! Will look forward to following your posts on this topic! Robin A.

Terry said...

OK, I will be interested in reading to see if you get through the AW this time. I am too skeptical, I think, for it. Hearing people rave on and on about how it changed their lives simply makes me less and less interested. What am I missing out on?

Anonymous said...

Been there. I did the book. Until Sept 11th happened and then I got of course. Shame really. I was about two weeks from finishing I believe.

Just don't read ahead in the book- just go week by week.

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