07 September 2018

Recommitting to my art, to myself.



I love books. I love the texture of paper in my hands, I love the sound of opening a brand new hardcover and hearing that satisfying crack of the spine, like it’s waking up and saying, ‘Oh, hello there!’ I love words, I love that we can take 26 letters and arrange them in such a way they make words, and words can be strung together to make a sentence.


Today, I want to discuss writing, and how I lost my creative voice for four very long years, and how one random, accidental discovery on Pinterest helped me find that author who threw me a life raft in the middle of a very bleak ocean of silence. Figuring this is the anniversary month of when my Creative Laryngitis set in, I figured it’s only apropos to do it here.

The author’s name is Julia Cameron, and she’s got a whole mess of books out that teach about being in touch with your Creative side. Her books, ‘The Artist’s Way’ and ‘The Morning Pages Journal,’ were what got me started on this adventure, and even opened the lines of communication between myself and my inspiration again. Had I not found her books when I did, I can pretty much guarantee you my own two books, ‘Writer vs Muse: The Struggle is Real!’ and ‘The Catnip Chronicles: How I (Accidentally) Became a Cat Lady’ would never have been written. I’d likely still be moping about, wondering what to do about my lack of creative voice.

Her books, to me, were a godsend, and I’ve since amassed others: ‘The Artist’s Way Workbook,’ ‘The Artist’s Way Creativity Kit,’ ‘How to Avoid Making Art’ (which I swear she was following me about when she wrote that one! Just kidding), ‘Finding Water: The Art of Perseverance,’ and the book I got in the mail today, ‘The Sound of Paper.’ I have two others coming, as well: ‘The Artist's Date Book: A Companion Volume to the Artist's Way’ and ‘The Artist's Way Every Day: A Year of Creative Living.’ Those should be here if not tomorrow, sometime next week.

I was just telling my Mom, I need to sit down and write a tracker out of what books I already own of hers so I don’t end up getting duplicates (although I kinda fail to see how that’d be a problem, really…).

While yes, I confess I’ve not been diligent about Morning Pages writing, I have resolved (yet again) to get back into it. With NaNoWriMo coming up, it needs to happen: me buckling down and taking my writing seriously again. And now that things’ve arranged the way they have in my life (even though it stung the way some of it happened), I now have z e r o excuses why I can’t dive back in.

I’ve been debating on how I want to do this blog. I’ve wanted to do so many different things with it, and perhaps this decision came from grieving the events of this past weekend, perhaps it came from grieving the events of the past almost seven months, I don’t know. But, I am going to, today before I do my transcription job, I’m going to map out some things for this blog that might be a bit more helpful on the front of taking my career a lot more seriously than I have been. I need to stop being so damn lazy about things. 





Julia Cameron talks in her book, ‘The Artist’s Way,’ about what Creative Block really is. It’s fear. She says,

Blocked writers are not lazy. They are blocked. Do not call procrastination laziness. Call it fear.”
She isn’t wrong. At all. Once I recognized it for what it was, gave it the name it was, then it made things easier to recognize. And now, here I am, evaluating more thoroughly than I have ever in my adult life, and I’m realizing that I’ve been entirely too neglectful of my own self and entirely too lenient about people mowing me down.



THAT STOPS NOW.

I’m certain I’ll get told, ‘Awww it’s so cute that you’re trying to do x, when we know you’re really y.’ Bite me. Or, I’ll get told I’ve got a ‘shit attitude,’ which no, I don’t. Let me tell you: My attitude toward you is directly proportional to how you are toward me. You act like an asshole, you will be treated as such, and you have YOURSELF to blame for that, NOT ME.

This is me, recommitting myself to my Creative Voice. This is me, recommitting to taking care of ME and focusing on MY dreams of writing and photography.

On 6 October 2015 (holy crap, three years ago almost!), I signed two contracts with myself. Have I adhered to either? Not entirely. Why? Some of it’s been largely my fault, but the bulk of it, it’s been what she calls ‘Crazymakers.’ A ‘Crazymaker’ is one whose personality that creates a storm centre. This person is often charismatic, frequently charming, highly inventive, and powerfully persuasive. And for the creative person in their vicinity, they are enormously destructive. In short, charismatic but out of control, long on problems but short on solutions.



I have had this with Shawn (a 40-something who is sweet in SOME ways but needed a LOT of hand-holding to just do day-to-day shit that he should’ve known to do on his own WITHOUT having to be told). I have had this with Mary (former rescue partner who all but outright insisted she’s the only one who had ‘a lot going on’ never mind the fact I have my own stuff to do, and she got pissed at me and kicked me to the curb because I’m not interested in being walked all over and taken advantage of anymore, and dared tell her ‘No!’). I have had this with a number of others. I have stuck notices on my door only to have them outright and blatantly ignored by a completely useless individual who would rather just stand there and tap on the glass to my window because they felt that would be the ‘workaround’ to get me away from what I’m doing that’s far more important than listening to them blather on and on about whatever LIES they insist are fact, or just stand there and yell through the window at me if the window happens to be open. Never mind my dog’s going to bark. And no, I am not going to silence my dog for being a dog, because you choose to be inconsiderate.

As of this moment, I’m recommitting myself to my art and my career.

I, Rea, understand that I am undertaking an intensive, guided encounter with my own creativity. I commit myself to the twelve-week duration of the course. I, Rea, commit to weekly reading, daily morning pages, a weekly artist date, and the fulfilment of each week’s tasks.

I, Rea, further understand that this course will raise issues and emotions for me to deal with. I, Rea, commit myself to excellent self-care – adequate sleep, diet, exercise, and pampering – for the duration of the course.

T. Rea Okerberg
7 September 2018
Friday
16.08 EST





Additionally…



I, Rea, commit myself to the daily process of morning pages. Additionally, I commit to a weekly artist date. I understand that these two tools are most powerful when used in conjunction, and I commit myself to using both together.

I, Rea, further understand that working with these tools may create deep change, some of it turbulent. I commit myself to excellent self-care – adequate sleep, diet, exercise, and self-valuing. Above all, I commit to honouring the validity for me of my own unique perceptions – for the duration of the twelve weeks ahead and hopefully long after.

T. Rea Okerberg
7 September 2018
Friday
16.08 EST

If you, yourself, want to partake in such a commitment, feel free to fill this out for yourself!

Creativity Contract

Can you give yourself the gift of commiting to work the course? Say yes by means of some small ceremony by buying a nice notebook for your morning pages, completing the tasks, and the artist dates and printing and signing the contract below. You can amend it, if you like...and come back to it when you need encouragement to go on.


***************************************************************************************
I, ___________________________________, understand that I am undertaking an intensive, guided encounter with my own creativity. I commit myself to the twelve-week duration of the course. I, ________________________________, commit to weekly reading, daily morning pages, a weekly artist date, and the fulfillment of each week's tasks.

I, ___________________________________, further understand that this course will raise issues and emotions for me to deal with. I, ______________________________, commit myself to excellent self-care--adequate sleep, diet, exercise and pampering--for the duration of the course.

______________________________
Signature

______________________________
Date


To further cement the proverbial deal, and as a way of formal accountability, I am going to check in weekly after the Artist’s Date is over, and I’ll share with how it went. I’ll share what I did for the date, and I’ll share my progress each week, as well, the exercises she has in the book. I will not be sharing my Morning Pages, those are personal. ;)  

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