Oh, Mae West, how I wish I’d known you…

8 09 2013

original“Whenever I have to choose between two evils, I always like to try the one I haven’t tried before”, she said.

She sounds like me, totally resistant to treading the same path, always looking for new experiences, unable to commit to a true path, even in evils.

I’m doing the 3rd chapter of The Artist’s Way and it is about recovering power and healing the childhood hurts that exist within us.  I find this, on page 68, talking about the fear of punishment:

“Many artists begin a piece of work, get well along in it, and then find, as they near completion, that the work seems mysteriously drained of merit. It’s no longer worth the trouble. To therapists, this sudden surge of disinterest (“It doesn’t matter”) is a routine coping device employed to deny pain and ward off vulnerability.”

Aha.

A wise friend of mine told me yesterday that both she and I are adjusting to being “visible” again, putting ourselves out there where we can be seen and judged. My son recently asked me why I never send writing to magazines and such, only enter contests and classes.  I know why I do. If I have to rush to a deadline, or submit to a crazy set of protocols or be a student, I can make the result not matter, still be part of my learning. I’m not ready to take the training wheels off, for some reason. So instead I leap from activity to activity, trying out the new activities…instead of focusing on one or two and seeing it to the end point. It’s like when I did pottery classes and pulled up cylinders, only to cut every single one in half to see how even I’d made it, never seeing the piece to its final stages.

All of this is a part of the recovery I am working on – the recovery of self-esteem after the loss of my job in horrible disarray after my diagnosis of MS and later breakdown, the recovery of my soul after a long time ignoring it and covering it over with iron and glass, the recovery of the ability to accept love, maybe even return it, after marital and familial wounds. Been hurt, yes, still smarting, yes. It’s gone far enough I do not allow myself a moment’s pride in what I have accomplished. I need to get past this.

I’d like to sit with Mae, have a cigar, talk about where she really was about this evils thing,intardaetà and whether her tough exterior covered a world of hurt and self-doubt, and how she pulled her spirit out of that and moved on.

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Revisiting THE ARTIST’S WAY

12 08 2013

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Julia Cameron has made a life out of morning pages, those three pages of brain dump that she encourages everyone to do every morning without fail. In The Artist’s Wayshe starts her journey, to be followed by many more books on the same theme.

Like Natalie Goldman, she says the same things, over and over. And yet…

This first book is rich. It is deep and thoughtful and effective. I haven’t looked at it for years, actually gave it away, until a friend of mine started it recently and I had to go out and buy another copy.

There’s something about the practices of those morning pages, the artist’s date, the examination and thought about creativity that makes you do a bit of growing inside. I recommend it highly to people who are feeling blocked, or uncreative, or sad. It will tow your thoughts to a more expansive location, allow you to feel the joy of creation again, lift your sails. (Marine analogy courtesy of looking out my window at the ocean).

I’m glad I bought a fresh new copy, with none of my old thoughts littering up the pages. I’m different than I was ten or so years ago, my goals are different, the things flying out of my head are different.
I need to wander through them, pick them up like stones on the beach, turn them over, decide if I want to tuck them in my pocket or toss them back into the sea. The Artist’s Way will help me as I wander…





Loving your inner editor, or why too much freewriting might screw you up

19 02 2013

Everyone seems to love freewriting. Julia Cameron, with her morning pages, even Sarah Selecky in her

Story is a state of mind

online course (which I’ve just started). Everyone in writing classes and conferences and lectures and such tell we learning writers to just write and write and write, and never mind the level of crap that spills from our pens.
The aim is good – get the writer over the hump of feeling ridiculous or frozen into immobility.
I’ve got a million journals filled up with my scrawling, and then there’s this blog thing. I love writing down vignettes of scenes at the coffee shop, doodling writings with the starter of “I remember”, digging in my head to clarify my thinking, sort out my loose threads, play with the colours of the windmills of my mind.
I seek comfy pens that can skim across the page without slowing my thoughts. I choose journals carefully so the paper has just the right give.
Have I published a lot of stories, novels, articles?
Nope. I’m having too much fun freewriting with my writing time. It’s easy. It doesn’t need a plot, well-drawn characters, believability. I can tell myself I am a writer simply because I am writing, right? It’s not about having people read my writings, is it?
I would actually argue that most freewriting is really another source of procrastination. Sure, if you can’t get going, do a bit here and there. Explore a thought while you warm up your creative mind.
But Cameron’s 3 pages daily risks exhausting that creative spark on what really often ends up being pages of dreck.
Sure, sometimes there’s something to mine from the pages. Sometimes an idea will pop up that is worth pursuing. Not often, though.
What needs to happen is the hard work of writing a coherent story, rewriting it, and finding it a home. Clutch your inner editors in an embrace and welcome them then – they are just what you need.
Because writing is meant to be good. It’s meant to mean something. It is meant to be shared.








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