The Artist’s Way revisitedPosted: January 9, 2012
When we last left off, we were making our way along the icy, snowy boardwalk through the Peatlands at Quail Hollow State Park. Some sections, as you can see from the above photo, were relatively clear of ice and snow.
So. How was your weekend? Did you get out and do something fun? Or stay in and relax? Either way, I hope it was restorative for you. Weekends, I think, ought to be restorative in some way. Soothing, energizing, health-giving, recuperative, invigorating, playful, spirited… all those things and more.
I could tell you more about the hike, but there really isn’t much to tell. We walked. We took our time on the icy parts. We took our time on the muddy parts. Nobody lost a boot in the suction of the mud. It was wonderful. The light was amazing. It has something to do with the angle of the sun in winter, but I don’t know enough about it to explain the how’s and why’s.
What I really want to write about today is The Artist’s Way. I got stuck on Week 4 of the course back in October after M’s stepmother died. Over the past couple of weeks I finished reading the book. I decided that was the best I could do. The book will now be donated to the library.
To be honest with you, after all the struggles and persistence with The Artist’s Way, I still don’t care much for it. Your mileage may vary. This was my third or fourth (and final) attempt. I know there are many who love it. I can understand why even though it wasn’t all that and a bag of chips for me.
I like the morning pages. From time to time I find myself benefiting from the morning pages. There are days when the morning pages result in ah-ha! moments that bring insights to certain situations. Other days the morning pages function as a to-do list or a way to express (and let go of) snarkiness and other emotions. And yes, there are days when my brain turns off the usual spillage of words and all I can do is sit there and stare at the blank page. I have written quite a few pages about having nothing to write about. It’s like a Seinfeld episode in the Moleskine I’m using for my morning pages. In other words, a show about nothing. That’s okay. It happens. Writing, like life, is not always a big adventure. The artist’s dates have been fun, too, and have inspired me to try a variety of things that are outside of my usual comfort zone.
I have to admit, though, that I don’t care much for Julia Cameron’s style. I find her to be almost bullying in the way she anticipates resistance with the ultimate answer for that resistance being “you are a blocked creative!” If only you would get with the program, you would see that The Artist’s Way will break down that resistance and open up the flood gates of creativity! I disagree, but I also know there are many who don’t.
I’m not saying Cameron might not be right. In some instances, it’s possible. In other instances, I chalk it up to differences in our points of view on life, the universe, and everything. (A nod and a thank you to the late Douglas Adams.) Very often my resistance is directed more towards her style than the task at hand. Whatever the case, I realize there is no way for me to explain my resistance without those who have completed the course smiling and nodding in an understanding yet smug way because this is part of Week Whatever and to be expected.
I have come to know through much experience that when I resist something, I need to sit with that resistance, say hello, how do you do, and get to know it. I have done that, and decided to keep plodding along with The Artist’s Way. Some of my best teachers in life were people whose style I didn’t like or appreciate. Learning is not a matter of liking. It’s a matter of doing. There is learning in the resistance if you’re willing to work with it and past it. It’s a bit like hiking on the muddy trails here in the Bogs. It’s worth the effort.
All in all, I gained a lot from the book. The morning pages and artist’s dates alone are worth the price of admission. There were some other exercises I enjoyed and benefited from as well. I am happy to be finished with the book. I am happiest about working my way through and realizing that I am not a failure just because I disagree. I think that’s where I would say I had the biggest problem with the course; the insistence that disagreement is about blockage rather than technique. And even that led to learning for me. I am grateful.
One of the wonderful gifts I was given by restarting and plodding my way through the book was the desire to write again rather than rely solely on images. I posted a comment over at Kathy’s place about how I tend to hide behind my photos. I’m gently making way out from behind them, and enjoying every moment of once again playing with words. Most of my play is taking place in a handwritten journal. There is something satisfying about the slowness of writing by hand, with a pen on paper, instead of the speed of typing. Some of my play is at my other blog in the form of small stones. I suspect some of the handwritten stuff will make it to type somewhere or another. Eventually.
I’m pretty much rambled out for now. Thanks so much for dropping by and joining me on my hike through the woods and through The Artist’s Way. If you haven’t attempted The Artist’s Way and you were giving it some thought, I hope I haven’t discouraged you. Even if you’re like me and find yourself not liking the author’s style, there is still much to be gained from the book.