The Creative Experience

I have been a creative person all my life, but the hallmark of a new creative life was being challenged by my friend Rick Spencer in 1995. He wanted me to try out the book The Artists Way by Julia Cameron and all the exercises in in. The Artists Way is a process of what Cameron calls “artistic recovery”. I was receptive to nearly anything, even writing about what I was feeling every morning. I got hooked. Now I journal nearly every day. When an early start time and commute threatened journal, I got up at 4:30 AM sipping coffee, pen and paper in hand.

Being employment challenged has put a stress on the journaling process. Journaling itself has become the issue and not my inner creative life. It’s been handy to have as a place to vent, but it has seemed that I’m in a rut over the past year or so. This year I have resurrected the blog, but I don’t think the journal has moved out of an angry and frustrated zone.

I am one of those men who sometimes haunt libraries. This means that I am being stalked by a paper tiger, hungry for my attention. This particular day the tiger I was evading was friendly, recommending  The Confident Creative by Cat Bennett. I checked out and raced the tiger to the door. Ah! I won, the tiger squinting through the glass doors. After several renewal/evasions, I finally read at the book. Wow!

Writing and drawing seem different but I find that when I draw – or make more typical art – my writing improves. It can also reveal where I am emotionally. I see a poster that says ALL IS POSSIBLE and have an emotional reaction. There must be a part of me that doesn’t believe that that’s true. But ah! mother synchronicity enters the room, and a reference to Julia Cameron’s book The Artists Way. Even when I skim Julia’s book for the 10,000th time and I have an even more profound emotional reaction: I cry. I am reminded that I’m not living the creative life I am capable of.

it’s a harsh judgment. My art teacher last fall kept telling people as a way of critique, commit to the line. I sometime do live up to that notion, to commit to the line, but I think I fail. I am distracted. I keep expressing my anger rather than using it. I fail to be true. Yet I remember that each morning, each page, each work is a beginning, By remembering this, I will change the world.

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