Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Artist Date 26 April

There come times when you need to revisit an old friend. A conundrum has presented itself as spring unfolds its dampness around me: I have nothing but time to run my business...but creative blockage is preventing it. My head of late has been focusing on anything but creating and furthering my dream of LNF - money worries, ego trouble, mild depression, too much time alone to ruminate. All the spirals of life are dragging me down, and it has manifested in a profound sense of fear. So, like picking up the phone and dialing across the country to unload on a friend, I'm starting the process of Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way. Follow the link to familiarize if the curiousity is there, and I won't bore with the details (though I could - I'm like a groupie for this chick).

Morning pages are going well. Every morning I'm up at 6am. I make tea by whatever light is available through the clerestory windows of my loft, and sit down with...well, with myself. Three pages every day, written by hand, of anything and everything that is swirling around the drain in my head. Its an exorcism, really. Purging my psyche of bad dreams, fears, worries, insecurities; letting the Censor (read: ego) talk without interruption; scribbling down my goals for the day; or just writing grocery lists and writing "fear" over and over again. Amazing how cleansing it can be to pour it all onto a page you'll never see again and get the fuck on with it.

Second basic tool: the Artist Date. Julia describes this time weekly set aside to spend conscious time with onesself as an artist as "a block of time set aside and committed to nurturing the creative consciousness; a play date with your inner artist". I've been needing this - time out of my house in which I spend quality time WITH MYSELF. I have a lot of alone time, but I'm not consciously using it. Cabin fever be damned. No one else in invited on Artist Dates, and its to be defended bravely against interlopers. Play is at the heart of all good work, and let's face it: it can be fun to play with yourself (only without the hairy palms). Today, in spite of dark grey, glowering clouds and imminent rain, I set out with my camera and walked the few miles to the always beautiful Lincoln Park Conservatory.

No headphones. Smartphone turned off. Just me and whatever awaited. I photographed plants, raindrops, paving stones, flowers - anything that my inner artists pointed at to say "HEY LOOK!". Every time I found myself getting annoyed at stray drops of rainwater leaking through the conservatory roof to hit me in the head, I stopped and took it in. When kids screamed like bastards and I couldn't take it...I stopped and took it in. When I got caught in a sudden torrential Chicago downpour...I stopped and took it in. No annoyance, no predetermination. Just...listened and observed.

And a lesson about growth was right in front of me. All around me, really. Once I quieted the ego and told myself to just play...well, the photos speak for themselves. I'm not into churchy, preachy, hyper-inspirational tripe that greeting cards and "spiritual" people use like a sledgehammer, but I recognize when the Universe is speaking, and today's Artist Date was about listening to the message.

To see the whole set of photos, click here!


  1. So, I think I am totally in love with Julia Cameron now (thank you).


    My fave.

    So yeah, I have not picked up my camera in two years, the amount of time I have been in Wyoming. I moved out here for inspiration. I clearly remember when unpacking my camera and it falling from my hands landing on the kitchen floor the devastation. Financial burden kicked in shortly after, I have not replaced it to this day. And now I am too scared, a fucking coward to see what I could produce now.

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. I'm so glad it helped!! She is WONDERFUL!

    My favorite quote (well, one of my favorite quotes) from Julia Cameron: "We are, ourselves, creations. And we, in turn, are meant to continue creativity by being creative ourselves"

    Rock on!!!!


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