This week I did my morning pages 5 out of 7 days. Believe it or not, I was actually getting into the rhythm of them--at least, I was getting up early and making time for the three pages a day. Then, yesterday, I got hit by the flu bug. Hit hard. Gah. Today has been spent laying on the couch in recovery of yesterday. My journal lays on the floor next to me, anticipating my return. I will admit that this two day absence of journaling has created a positive shift for me. I was beginning to feel extremely apathetic towards my morning pages. I showed up for the page, but filled it with little more than blah, blah, blah... and my lack of interest was really starting to annoy me. There has been an underlying numbness, an sense of disconnection, a thin layer of darkness. Then again, I shouldn't be too hard on myself. After all, there was some big changes that came out of the first week. I'm not sure if I could handle that much drama every week.
Now that I'm feeling ever-so-much better, I'm looking forward to returning to morning pages. Although it really sucks that things need to sometimes feel miserable before they can feel good, it's funny how being sick (and then starting to feel better again) renews a sense of joy for one's life and all the little details it contains.
I think I already complained about missing out on this week's artist's date in my last post, but this week I had two strikes against me. First the weather and then the flu. Geesh! It's unfortunate because I had been looking forward to this idea of finding a pool and going swimming for the past few weeks. Seriously looking forward to it. Instead we have newly formed snowbanks that are as high as my chin and we haven't been able to get the car out of the garage in 2 days. Not that this really matters considering I've been laying on the couch moaning in a fever delirium most of that time!
I don't know if it technically counts as an "artist's date," but tonight I'm going to head down to my studio with the new watercolor moleskine that Martha sent me and finish a drawing that I started a few days ago. I'm in love with that thing and have already sketched out a still-life of the bottles and fruit that are sitting on the windowsill in the kitchen. These past months I've been trying so hard to focus on my writing that I've been neglecting art and painting. Sure, I've been doing plenty of art--but only the kind that I'm getting paid to do. I haven't been doing nearly enough just for pure enjoyment. Since I'm stuck at home with only pathetic levels of energy, I might as well call "sanctuary" in the studio. And, actually, this sounds completely luxurious and wonderful to me. I'm looking forward to going swimming next week.
I find it difficult to write about the weekly walks. That's funny because if you were to read through my archives you'd find that it is the topic of many of my posts (sometimes I worry that this must bore my poor readers to tears!). I am no stranger to walking...but, almost always, you will find me walking with my dog. This week I took a walk by myself, but only because I couldn't bring Anu with me. It was a strange experience. I felt a little bit lost without her, as though I had no purpose. I love walking with my wolfie more than I like walking alone. Still, I think there is something to be explored here. I mean, what is up with my incessant need for purpose??
Other Significant Issues
The idea that stuck out the most for me in Week 2 was the notion that being an artist is very much like being an athlete. In my own life, I notice that the more I write, the more I think like a writer. And the more I paint, the more I think like a painter. When I focus my energy on any certain thing, I begin to notice that thing in everything. I guess that is one of the things that I love so much about blogging. It is how I "stay trained." I might write a lot of gibberish here, but I don't care. This is my space to put one word after the other. It is my space to share and express the things I see and feel. It's a space to explore. And, to me, that is what art is. There are two things that I do every single day. #1: I walk; #2: I write. They are as necessary to me as food and water.
Sometimes my knees hurt. Sometimes my writing sucks. But both are what keep me going.
One of Julia Cameron's "Divining Rods" this week is what she calls "laying track." She writes that "[i]t is all too easy as an artist to bewail the 'odds stacked against us'. It is harder--but necessary-- to improve those odds by taking small actions in our own behalf. This is the art of perseverance" (56-57).
I'm learning from experience that more seems to get done when I take it in small steps rather than large leaps. Leaps are fine, as long as they don't cause you to freeze in fear mid-air.
Here's my version of "laying track"...
- spend some time at the library reading poetry.
- work on my thesis at least 1 hour a day. no excuses.
- bring a notebook to work with me at the garden shop. take notes and write tid-bits here and there during the slow time.
- don't be so hard on myself. save the harsh judgements for later or (even better) for never.
- saturate myself more "experimental" writing.
- have a little more faith in my own "experiments."
- allow a sense of spirituality back into my life.
- make more time for friendships that feed my sense of well-being and creativity.
- go to more art openings. art energy is conducive!
- laugh more often!
- indulge myself in art making--not for work, but for sheer enjoyment.
- do kind things for others for no particular reason. it feeds the soul and soothes the heart.
Art is not to be taught in academies. It is what one looks at, not what one listens to, that makes the artist. The real schools should be the streets. ~Oscar Wilde