Like several other AW bloggers I Cameronâ€™s emphasis on â€˜recoveryâ€™ does not resonate with me. Rather, I wanted to do this â€˜workshopâ€™ to nurture my muse, to hone my artistic ability, and to develop some creative momentum.
Cameron often seems to be writing for the artist who has left herself behind. She writes: Name five lives you would live if you could do anything. I balked at this. I am still young and carefree enough to be in love with my lifeâ€”even when I hate it. Even when I come to the page day after day and can write nothing. When there is only pith and rind and no fruit at all.
Yet I also find that there is also great deal of truth for me in many things Cameron writes. Taking time for myself without feeling guiltyâ€”and being fully present in the time I do take (without listening to that internal voice that tells me to hurry up, or spend my time better), is something I need to practice, and the Artistâ€™s Way is making me do this. Cameron calls this â€˜developing some autonomy with your time.â€™ That rang true for me. Also: 'show up at the page and pay attention.'
Some things that I have enjoyed doing this week:
â€¢ Writing notes in the wide margins of the book. This makes the process of reading interactive. I begin to form my own thoughts in response to the text, and give them validity by putting them down, right away, on paper.
â€¢ Being okay with not writing morning pages. I have enough voices in my head making me feel guilty about the things I donâ€™t do every day.
â€¢ Bringing a new attentiveness to little segments of time by myself: mini artist dates to the grocery store fruit section, on a walk about my land with a camera, an evening with a cup of tea and collage materials. I think other mothers will relate to this: time for oneself comes in small lurches when the baby is asleep.
â€¢ Instead of thinking about imaginary lives, Iâ€™ve been thinking about the lives of people that interest me. Iâ€™ve been asking myself what interests me about these people. Why do I admire them? People whose lives interest me this week are: William Stafford, Robert Bly, Peekaboo Street, Lynn Hill, Ansel Addams, Martha Grahm, Barack Obama, and Sofia Copola.
â€¢ Part of the way I am nurtured creatively is to be learning. I want to make small artist dates with myself to research some aspect of each of the people I listed this week. I want to know: how do they live their lives? What makes them who they are, unique, distinctive, creative?
And I want to know: what makes YOU unique, distinctive, creative?
My answer: I am messy. I get paint on my hands, and glue on my jeans. I am drawn to color. I use bold lines. I am fascinated by language: how it captures the essence of things, how it changes by region by country, how it holds thoughts and love and spirit. I love looking up the origins of words. This helps me know each wordâ€™s secret. When I take photographs, my eye searches for texture. When I write, my inner ear searches for a certain cadence that flows naturally. I have a thing for good pens. I use a molskine journal. I eavesdrop constantly. I am each day entirely filled with wonder at the beauty of things in this world.