Friday, March 26, 2010

The artist wayward

Twelve Weeks to Creative Freedom. Now on Week Ten. Time’s dwindling down, and here I am: near the exciting conclusion of The Artist’s Way at Work: Riding The Dragon, and I’ve just now noticed that the sub-sub title of the book reads Twelve Weeks to Creative Freedom. Sounds so promising and transformative. Truthfully? I have yet to feel the “luminous intensity” described on page 208, as in Julia’s words, “the dragon soars in heaven, this time trailing fire . . . with uninhibited access to its own creative energy . . . alive with joy, purpose, and the glorious knowledge of its own power.”

Wow. I must have been sleeping in class. Which goes to show that instruction is only what you make of it. Sometimes the magic works. And sometimes it doesn’t. (That line, if you don’t remember, is a direct quote from a scene with Chief Dan George and Dustin Hoffman in the 1970 movie Little Big Man ) “Am I still in this world?" he asks, "I was afraid so.” A colleague of mine, an art director here in Detroit, often used the magic quote. We’d laugh and move on. “Next? What other ideas you got?”

The brain is a shark. It never sleeps, but swims in a constant stream of thought . . . sometimes the magic works, and sometimes the mind wallows in the shallowest waters, wondering what’s next. And so here I find myself anxious about conclusions and self-congratulatory passages. At a loss in Julia’s twelve step plan, it would seem I’ve only been practicing for the real thing. I need to turn the page, move on, and start again.

Are you with me?


  1. Hi, Viv -
    I hear ya. Julia sometimes goes over the top with "results". The clouds didn't part and the angels didn't sing for me, either, but what The Artist's Way has helped me do is trust myself, stop following negative people, believe the good stuff and to keep at it. I found much of it reaffirming, some of it puffery. Hey, consider the possibility that you're NOT blocked!

  2. Or a recovering anything. Sometimes I SHOULD be blocked.