Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Artist's Way: Collecting Quotes & Questions

Sometimes I simply like to collect quotes. Like these from today's first book club discussion of The Artist's Way.

For me, it's almost a form of poem-writing, to do this. I lift essential words from a text and they stand in a line, speaking powerfully...

How do you know if you are creatively blocked? Jealousy is an excellent clue.

[Question to self: who am I currently jealous of? why? ]

Many of us find that we have squandered our creative energies by investing disproportionately in the lives, hopes, dreams, and plans of others.

[Question to self: is there anyone whose plans I've let seriously eclipse my own? If so, why have I done this? What are the "good reasons" I continue to use as an excuse? ]

All that angry, whiny, petty stuff that you write down in the morning [pages] stands between you and your creativity. Worrying about the job, the laundry, the funny knock in the car, the weird look in your lover's eye—this stuff eddies through our subconscious and muddies our days. Get it on the page.

It is very difficult to complain about a situation morning after morning, month after month, without being moved to constructive action. The pages lead us out of despair and into undreamed-of solutions.

[Note to self: I like the process aspect of this. It assumes that the undreamed-of solutions will take time. That's okay. Undreamed-of solutions can't possibly all be at the surface. Otherwise they wouldn't qualify as undreamed-of.]

Very often audacity, not talent, makes one person an artist and another a shadow artist—hiding in the shadows, afraid to step out and expose the dream to the light, fearful that it will disintegrate to the touch.

Creativity is play.

[Question to self: when I don't take time to play, why don't I take time? What's that about? What are the excuses I use?]

Progress, not perfection, is what we should be asking of ourselves.

Give yourself permission to be a beginner.

[Question to self: what do I feel like I am a beginner at? Can I let that happen? Should I maybe always have at least one area of pursuit that requires beginner-status?]

'But do you know how old I will be by the time I learn to really play the piano/act/paint/write a decent play?' / Yes... the same age you will be if you don't. / So let's start.


Lovely post photo is from Duane Scott. Used with permission.

ts book club no border

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Blogger Denise said...

This is GOOD stuff!

Just decided to go write some pages instead of finding my copy of The Artist's Way. I was already writing pages, but I got distracted because I'd forgotten breakfast. Closing the computer down. Grabbing a bite. Writing with a pen.

11:34 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Oooh ... I am definitely making my library locate this one for me! Those quotes are like the scent of chocolate ... once you smell, the desire to taste grows strong.

"Very often audacity, not talent, makes one person an artist and another a shadow artist—hiding in the shadows, afraid to step out and expose the dream to the light, fearful that it will disintegrate to the touch." -- That quote made me see myself clearly ... wonder how long the insight will last. (Should put it on the wall...)

11:43 AM  
Blogger Linda said...

Shoot - I am already behind (having not begun the book!). I think I just have too much "stuff" going on Lyla.
However...I love those quotes, especially the last one. I know about the piano. I am trying. It is a fact that it comes a lot slower with age, but it's coming!

3:52 PM  
Blogger globeonmytable said...

I am in a group which has worked through the book since January this year. Now we continue to meet once a week to check in with eachother. It's very helpful. At present we have a weekly feast, a shared lunch.

4:08 PM  
Blogger Maureen said...

Expose the Excuses for Quotes:
A Found Poem

Shadows in your lover's eye
are your good reasons for

constructive action. Hiding
the laundry can't possibly be.

Angry stuff in the morning
muddies the poem-writing,

and, very often, the funny knock
you are worrying about is

the beginner at the piano. Take
time to experience audacity.

Find creative energies by being
moved to continue The Artist's Way.

Progress is to let the seriously whiny
stand in a line and jealously complain.

Step out of despair in to the light.
Give your self to the undreamed-of.

5:07 PM  
Blogger Debra said...

I sold my copy of The Artist’s Way at a yard sale to raise money for a starving coffee house at the suggestion of a friend. Many times I’ve wished for the book back, along with my C.S. Lewis library :-(

11:49 PM  
Blogger Bonnie said...

WHO are you jealous of?
You made me smile with that vice!

6:59 PM  
Blogger Bonnie said...

Othello is the true creative expression of the jealousy of Shakespeare.” from The Mind of the Maker by Dorothy Sayers

8:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah...what maureen said.


10:54 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

There is truly an art to the start

10:49 PM  
Anonymous Tiffany @ Tea w Tiffany said...

I have yet to read The Artist's Way. But I think it's time. Thanks for the heart probing questions throughout this post.

11:19 AM  
Anonymous JoDee Luna said...

Julia Cameron's book, The Artist's Way, re-launched my creativity that I had previously enjoyed in my youth. I'm delighted that you are featuring these nuggets of wisdom along with your self-reflections. We artistic beginners must remember that we need not be masters of the craft in order to enjoy the process...and it is a process.

10:10 AM  
Blogger Leah Downs said...

LOVE "Give yourself permission to be a beginner." seeing as I'm a beginner and all. Inspiring and motivating

4:35 PM  

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