“Adventures don’t begin until you get into the forest. That first step is an act of faith.” ~ Mickey Hart (Drummer in The Grateful Dead)
Time she flies, yes? It’s Sunday again and time for me to take a stroll through this week’s doings in The Artist’s Way.
Week 12 is the final week for this round of work with Miz Julia.
For me, has been another week of… Letting it be. Letting myself be. Trusting the process by which I work. Trusting that it will all work out in the end…. artistically.
Here we go…
This week, I spent a few hours making the shift from my Writing Burrow into the Bunky. The Bunky being well and truly a bottom BUNK in the ole bunk beds in the bedroom. I have to close down the Writing Burrow because, even though I have a spanky new propane heater, winter is fast approaching and I noticed an awful lot of condensation was forming inside the trailer every time I lit the heater. I also noted that any liquids left out there were beginning to freeze. I love that burrow, but I fear that if I continue working out there, I might wreck the joint with the heating/freezing cycle.
So it’s back to the Bunky Office for me.
I decided to let lil Arty out to help me create a space that she wanted to work in.
We brought in one of my solar lights to brighten it up, hung up a chalkboard for doodling on, an old medicine chest to hide supplies in and a handy dandy place to hang our headphones. We also decided to hang a curtain to add even more privacy.
The Bunky is now my Fortress of Blanket Fort Solitude. I love it.
I had just settled into the new fort when a friend sent me a story from The Guardian that gave me a peek into some wonderful Writer Sheds. I love seeing where people work.
Aside from the Writer’s Shed thang showing up just as I was re-configuring my own work space …. I’ve been noticing things that I am working on/out in the newest draft of Sanctuary showing up all round me – in other books, on the news, online, in a song on the radio.
This often happens to me and I always find it entirely fascinating.
Again I gotta confess to no Tasks done. Just read the chapter, marked it up and thought about stuff through the week.
There is a path for each of us. When we are on our right path, we have a sure-footedness. We know the next right action–although not necessarily what is just around the bend. By trusting, we learn to trust.
Tis soothing, is it not?
Do I believe it? I do. More and more.
Creativity–like human life itself–begins in darkness.
Ideas, like stalactites and stalagmites, form in the dark inner cave of consciousness. They form in drips and drops, not by squared-off building blocks. We must learn to wait for an idea to hatch.
All too often, we try to push, pull, outline, and control our ideas instead of letting them grow organically. The creative process is a process of surrender, not control.
Mystery is at the heart of creativity. That and surprise. All too often, when we say we want to be creative, we mean that we want to be productive. Now, to be creative is to be productive–but by cooperating with the creative process, not forcing it.
Did ya get that one? Especially the part where she says…
The creative process is a process of surrender, not control.
This one needs that bit o wisdom tattooed on her inner eyelids.
And here is the grandest piece of “advice” I’ve heard in a long while about how to “raise” our best ideas….
Let them grow in dark and mystery. Let them form on the roof of our consciousness. Let them hit the page in droplets. Trusting this slow and seemingly random drip, we will be startled one day by the flash of “Oh! That’s IT!”
Tasty. Tasty. Tasty.
And a heck of a lot easier said than done for me. Especially right now.
I continue to work on the reVision of Sanctuary and though I know that the only way I can finish this book properly is to LISTEN and to FOLLOW right now… I also have that screaming, panicking, voice wailing away about how I need to STOP all this wandering about and changing and adding things and just FINISH IT! Make it all tidy and complete and wrap it up, wrap-it-up, wrapitUP!
I hear the wailing voice constantly. No. I hear the wailing ALMOST constantly.
The only time I do not hear the wailing is when I am busy at work on the book. When I am sitting here in the bunky and actively listening and following the characters down this new path they are showing me. I follow and I am … amazed and surprised and …. enthused by it.
And when I stop working and the wailing commences, I try to soothe her and tell her all will be well.
I tell myself all will be well.
All will be well and all will be well and all manner of things of things will be well.
Gawd I hope it’s true.
As I soothe my inner wailer, Julia goes on to talk about the great power contained in… hobbies.
We are an ambitious society and it is often difficult for us to cultivate forms of creativity that do not directly serve us and our career goals.
The experience of creative living argues that hobbies are in fact essential to the joyful life.
Many hobbies involve a form of artist-brain mulling that leads to enormous creative breakthroughs.
… sewing has a nice way of mending up plots.
… re-potting plants into larger and better containers quite literally grounds that person and gives him or her a sense of expansion.
So simple. So true. So … obvious and so often forgotten.
And here’s one that made me smile big and think of a friend of mine who is working on this right now….
It is a paradox of creative recovery that we must get serious about taking ourselves lightly.
(Are you here? Did you get this one, my friend? I send forth to you my whispering mantra… “All will be well.” You really are finding your way to the story. Though I know you often feel that your aren’t moving forward. From this angle, I can see your progress. I am cheering you on.)
Here’s Julia – adding her cheers as well.
We are all intended to create.
The embers are always there, stirring in our frozen souls like winter leaves. They won’t go away.
Restive in our lives, we yearn for more, we wish, we chafe.
WE are what’s important…
You’re either losing your mind — or gaining your soul. Life is meant to be an artist date. That’s why we were created.
I send you courage, my friend. And any other friends who are out there working away on a project that seems to elude you. Keep going. Keep going.
Julia wraps up the chapter with a section on… reaching Escape Velocity, by which she means…. our creative BLAST OFF!
Actually the section is more about how, just as we REACH escape velocity, so many of us… falter… or call The TEST to ourselves.
You know…. THE TEST….As in….
You are all set to leave the bad job, and the boss from hell suddenly gives you your first raise in five years… don’t be fooled. Don’t be fooled.
Ever had that happen? Something similar? I have.
Like she says – DON’T BE FOOLED! Don’t fall for it.
A little flattery can go a long way toward deterring our escape velocity. So can a little cash. More sinister than either is the impact a well-placed DOUBT can have. (my emphasis)
Julia warns us about how our well-meaning nearest and dearest friends and family can de-rail us with their “… have you really thought this through?” comments. And how their doubt can seep in and feed our own self-doubt.
“Zip the lip. Button up. Keep a lid on it. Don’t give away the gold. Always remember: the first rule of magic is self-containment. You must hold you intention withing yourself, stoking it with power. Only then will you be able to manifest what you desire.
In order to achieve escape velocity, we must learn to keep our own counsel, to move silently among doubters, to voice our plans only among our allies, and to name our allies accurately.
We need to take a close look at our friends – those who support us in our creativity and those who… don’t.
We must be wise and we must create boundaries to protect our selves from those who would do us damage.
Yes, we need to be realistic about life. Sure. But we also need to dream and stretch and to give voice to that which we must.
Don’t let anyone stop you from telling your story – whatever it is.
There’s an epilogue from Julia at the end of the book. And a lovely poem called “Words for It”
I’ll let you find it for yourself.
Thanks much for coming along as I worked my way through The Artist’s Way.
There are two more books in The Complete Artist’s Way. I plan to work through both of them and continue these posts, but not right now.
Right now, I am turning my face towards… year’s end. Towards Samhain and the beginning of a new year and what I would like to… do and BE in this new year.
I’ll keep you posted.
Go easy ~p
Because there's never enough time to do it right the first time but there's always enough time to do it over