Monday, February 21, 2011

This book ate my whole head.

I am reading The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron for a small group I just joined. I just wanted to put it out there and say the first twenty-ish pages of this are amazing. That is as far as I have gotten, in part because I read the introduction. (PS- the intro was good too.)
I have two things from the first twenty that have kicked me in the face.
First, is part of a list that Cameron says to read every day to remind yourself of basic spiritual principles of creativity. the whole list is fantastic, but this particular one made me super nervous. I actually felt my heart rate go up.

It is safe to open ourselves up to greater and greater creativity.

AHHHHHH! Eve typing that makes me nervous. Safe? Are you sure? I long for safety/ My lawyer husband tells me I am one of the most risk adverse people he has ever met.... and he is a lawyer. Well poop. he is totally right. I pack my carry-ons just so, so they are easily navigable in case I am suspected of carrying liquids in beyond the proper amounts, or heaven forbid the rouge nail clippers that could be stashed. Today I mentioned to him that I was considering getting an apple cozy. YES. An apple cozy. Like a tea-cozy, but for an apple so it doesn't get bruised in your bag. I thought it sounded brilliant... he gave me the amused/slightly-wierded-out-but-still-love-you look. He's so gracious with my psychosis. After lighting a match and blowing it out, i have been known to run it under the tap before throwing it in the garbage. I don't want garbage fires. I also regularly check my drug interactions online. There are a number of other things I don't stress about, but there are plenty of things I do. Just tonight I stepped outside the cross-walk lines when crossing the road, and due to a convo last night, actually said to myself out loud "ah! contributory negligence!" because if a car were to hit me when i was out of the lines... well it could be viewed as contributory negligence! I AM A MESS!

SOOOooo- when someone claims to me that something is SAFE, especially something that I know I love but that can be terrifying and soul crushing and plain hard at moments, I kind of have a freak out. There has to be some tidy painted cross-walk lines for me to walk in during my creative excursions so that I can't be hit by nay-saying and then told my negligence was contributing. SAFE!? Where's the crossing guard and the zebra walk way?

However, I get it in my head somewhere. If God is the essence and author of all creation and creativity... the true source and light... and God is in some always 'safe' (and I don't mean that in a cross walk way) or good... then it follows that opening up myself to greater and greater creativity would be safe. And good. Not to mention very moral and right. Becoming more like Christ- the God-man... source, light, creator in flesh is our calling and my destiny.

Yes, yes it is, but paint me scared anyhow.

I have learned that God's version of 'safe' is ever clearly not American and ever clearly not backed up with the type of benefits package that may or may not include dental. Safe... yes. But NOT the definition of it that we know well.

Still, I am going to read that everyday, and let it ruminate (like a cow) in my brain stomach.


Alright. NUMBER TWO! This was a good kick in the mouth. Not sure how that works, but I imagine is something along the lines of a kung-fu super fan getting a wicked bloody nose from his venerated hero. I have never been a super-fan, so that is pure conjecture.

Right. Well. The second moment was when reading about two of the tools for recovering creativity. One is the 'morning pages' which i am not going to explain, because it is complicated, and the other is the artist date. The quick and dirty explanation of the artist-date is going out for two hours or so and doing something that furthers your love and momentum of your art.

When this was being explained to me at our small group, our fearless leader told me "this is something you are really good at." This first off shocked me... i have a hard time admitting I am good at things and to be called out right then and there was unexpected. After it was described and what could count as that.. art exhibits, craft projects, a good walk to search for inspiration, trying something new... I realized I generally am pretty good at this.

As i read the book I think I identified why I am good at this. Cameron describes this practice as quality time spent with the thing you love. She likens it to when families our couples go to counseling and are asked "so, do spend quality time together?" This month at NCC we have been going through the LOVE series and one of the things in our resource pack at the beginning of the series was a link to take the 5 Love Languages quiz. i have tried to read that book over and over again without success. Honestly I think my main problem is that the cover is generally heinous in my mind and I feel embarrassed holding it much like i am wearing a grandma sweater. The website is MUCH more pleasing to the eye and I didn't feel as if I had wandered into the thrift store valentine section without a way out. Phew! So I took the quiz, and quality time was my top love language. When I read Cameron's description of this tool I thought "aha! that is probably why I am somewhat innately good at this. I show my love through quality time, and art is something I love." My husband and art galleries are some of my favorite things that, if i were not properly watched, I might add into a song after "girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes."

Sure, this is a pat on the back to me that my creativity is perhaps not completely blocked, and clearly, by Cameron's appraisal, salvageable at the very very least. I am determined not to take this innate good thing for granted, but kick myself into keeping doing it.

So. That's that. This course is eating my face like real Thai food spice. It burns so good.

1 comment:

Lisa said...

I have a copy of the Artist's Way on my bookshelf where I keep reading the first few pages over and over again and get so inspired and yet still haven't pushed through on it. But I love your reflections and am cheering you on - burn baby burn! Sending lots of love.