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Monday, February 8, 2010

The Artist's Way

It's been over a decade since I went through the book, The Artist's Way, by Julia Cameron, with 4 other female artists. There was a crafter, a metal smith, a jeweler, a writer and me.

For 12 weeks, as laid out in the book, we met with each other once a week and reported to each other our progress with that week's activities, "Spilling onto the page" each morning, going on artist dates and the assignments, the writing assignments. This was the most revealing self-reflection I had ever done.

Often the blank page before me said as much about the answer to the question as anything I could have written. My inability to face myself at times, was paralyzing. But Julia knows this. And through the book, I was guided to gently unravel the knots that tied me in binds, preventing me from being truly free in my ability to express myself artistically. Finally I could see the critic, the censor, the naysayer, the time stealer - all internal obstacles that needed to be dealt with, then the external ones,  the blocked artists who set traps along the path. I learned to shield myself from their attacks.

I feel truly blessed to have gone through this process with four women who committed themselves to the process as fully as I did, who were fierce enough in their loving to be brutally honest at times.  We set to flames each others' denials and lullabies that kept us from acting on, reaching toward, and believing in our own dreams. We comforted each other through the painful grief of losing those very comforts.

Amid the ashes of transformation, each of us, in our own time, took flight. The crafter traveled to a cake decorating class, the writer began working for a theater, the jeweler opened her own shop, I, a singer/songwriter at the time, took voice lessons at a local music school. For three years, we held reunions in August. The growth and expansion in each woman's life fed the others.

Over a decade later, I still very much refer mentally, psychically, spiritually back to those 12 weeks. I still have the binder that holds those notes. It's a touchstone for me. 

Have you read the Artist's Way? Have you a similar experience?

3 comments:

  1. How wonderful it must have been to go through the book with 4 other liked minded women and watch each other grow as artists.

    I read it at a time when I was just discovering my creative spirit and it helped me through the process. I might get more out of it today now that I have found my creative outlet. Thanks for the reminder about this book, I think I am going to have to go and pull it off my bookshelf.

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  2. Wonderful, wonderful post! I have read the Artist's Way a long time ago, but this post makes me want to pick it up again (along with some of Julia's other works) - thank you for the reminder. :)

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  3. I love that book! I've never done the workshop itself, but the book certainly helped me not only overcome doubts about committing to my creative endeavors, but also realize my love for writing. Great book!

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North Hollywood, CA, United States
I believe we are the Universe's attempt to understand itself. Art in its myriad forms is an expression of that attempt to understand.
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