Artist's Way week 3 / by Christina Rosalie

I’ve been meaning to check in about The Artist’s Way, which I’ve taken up along side a hundred or so other bloggers, with encouragement from the wonderful Kat, but I never had a moment’s pause. Today however, the rhythm of things seems to have settled somewhat, and I returned to writing morning pages (I did them only twice last week—though a full seven the week before.)

Like several other AW bloggers I Cameron’s emphasis on ‘recovery’ does not resonate with me. Rather, I wanted to do this ‘workshop’ 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 life—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 guilty—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 Artist’s Way is making me do this. Cameron calls this ‘developing some autonomy with your time.’ That rang true for me. Also: 'show up at the page and pay attention.'

Some things that I have enjoyed doing this week:

• 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.

• Being okay with not writing morning pages. I have enough voices in my head making me feel guilty about the things I don’t do every day.

• 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.

• Instead of thinking about imaginary lives, I’ve been thinking about the lives of people that interest me. I’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.

• 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 word’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.

Your turn.