Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Assignment from the Beyond

Hello, fellow feisty Artist Wayfarers. Here is a knock on the door from Ann Hampton Callaway, singer/songwriter/optimist/diva-on-the-go. What a fun start you are off to! Ever since the brilliant and delightful Ann Hogsett seduced me into joining this group, I have done absolutely nada to participate except feel some fun ann-ticipation about what is going on and some curiosity bubbling about how I can make this part of my very busy lifestyle.

I read "The Artist's Way" several years ago and have given countless copies to friends because I believe in is empowering principles. What was funny about the book is that I have naturally been doing a lot of what she says to do much of my life. But in the last few years, as I travel more and more and spend much of my time connecting with people on the internet, I have noticed that my personal writing and journaling has dwindled. Part of the problem was that I was involved with someone who thought nothing of reading my journal so I began to stop my life long habit, out of a deepening need for privacy. So, now, three years after the end of that relationship, I am re-examining my habits and my need to connect creatively with my depths.
I put a beautiful writing table in our bedroom for the purpose of journaling and writing poems, etc. No computer allowed. It comforts me. No daily practice as of yet, but definitely patches of progress.

I have been doing automatic writing ever since I read Bob Dylan's free association novel "Tarantula" at the age of 13 or 14. It blew my mind that someone could write so freely and brilliantly so I began trying it out and over time, struck gold. The liberation it has unleashed in me has had enormous consequences. My intuition has expanded greatly and I am compelled to put myself in creative situations that many people would probably be afraid to tread. I've discovered that I do my best thinking when I'm not thinking. Years of this writing live in various books and countless songs I have written as a result of this abandon I have, over time, learned. Crazy as it sounds, I may be one of the only people in the world who will make up songs on the spot anywhere and anytime, fearlessly rhyming about any given theme in front of my audiences in jazz clubs, theaters and concert halls across the world. Those pages each day that you are writing can lead to this sort of freedom so I hope you are excited. Thanks to Ann's tap on our shoulders, I want to delve deeper once more into this daily practice that Julia Cameron proposes.

I had an amazing experience last week- the most unexpected writing assignment. I lost my beloved father John Callaway, legendary Chicago journalist, last year on June 23rd. It has been the most heart wrenching loss of my life and I have been struggling on many levels to deal with it. So I consented to have a session with a new friend of mine who is a medium/author named Tina Naughton. In our one hour session, my father emerged in spirit form and said he would like to write a book together. It could be using writings of his that were never published and adding my own thoughts but it could also involve me channeling him. Can you imagine? I am very intrigued and excited about the prospect.

During the session, my dad conveyed to me that he was trying to find ways to connect and that he has and would continue to appear to me in rainbows. (Last week, on a treacherous drive from San Francisco to Palm Springs, I saw three rainbows.) I was told that when the session was over and I went to the beach after, there would be a sign from him. so, there we were walking to the beach on a perfectly sunny day and what should appear above but a small round rainbow in the sky! It almost looked like a radiant beach ball. And above the ocean, there was a small cloud floating in the perfect shape of a heart. My father always loved to make his point and since he had just done so in such a dramatically gorgeous way, I immediately sat down and put pen to paper, inviting him to speak through me. As waves lapped near my feet, over one page of "dictation" unfolded which was mysterious and thought provoking. I'm looking forward to dedicating many more encounters with this energy. I will let you know how this book idea progresses.

So, my fellow adventurers, just wanted to say hello and wish you all a splendid time on this path we are sharing. I look forward to reading your words and sharing our revelations together.


  1. I apologize for the typo's. I didn't see how to edit the piece. So thanks for understanding...

  2. Ann, so thrilled to see your post! (Didn't notice typos. Who cares? Not me!) And yours is just the one we needed for Syncronicity Week. I know you know, but the others don't. My knowing you is a grand syncronicity. Your song, "You Can't Rush Spring" was the very soundtrack I listened to while I was writing my first novel. Then I heard your lovely voice in Barnes & Noble when I was leading another Artist's Way group and walked directly to purchase the album. (Don't you LOVE when that happens?) And then Elaine told me Telarc was thinking about signing a new artist and I said, "I KNOW her. I have her album." And then, and then, the rest is history. Especially when I found out quite a while later that you wrote "You Can't Rush Spring"... My diva muse!
    Thanks so much for sharing your inspiration!

  3. Welome Ann H.C.- it's a thrill to have you here among us. Thank you for that lovely post about your Father. My Dad was a sometimes-journalist too, would have been 80 yesterday, and also had a "thing" about rainbows, so we were not surprised to see one after his burial. Synchronicity! I wanted to thank you too for the offer to sing for my husband (soon to be ex- husband... different story) when he was ill in the hospital a year and a half ago; it was the kindest offer. We weren't able to schedule it between his surgeries, but I'm sure that all the good energy poured his way helped him survive. So thank you and welcome to the group!

  4. Greetings Ann2,
    I have chills after reading about connecting with your father on the beach. So many of us have lost our parents recently. I hope you continue down that path together and I hope you will share more with us.
    I have only posted once but I have followed everyone's post with great joy. This is my first reading of Julia's book and I feel forever changed. I too am giving the book to all my family members and friends on the journey. Susan S.

  5. Ann - how wonderful that you are joining us! I "journaled" for a while many, many years ago, but mostly have been deathly afraid of ever actually committing my thoughts to paper. And low and behold, this exercise we call morning pages is revealing itself as a freedom of expression I never understood or experienced. I love that your many "on-the-spot" songs are a result of this!! As I am new at this I definitely have moments where I slide back into over-editing, but I'm finding I am unable to resist keeping going and really putting faith in the process! Thanks for being the embodiment of what is possible in this work! -Erica