Friday, January 30, 2009

Not an Artist.

"Everything always passes, and everything is already okay. Stay in the place where you can see that, and nothing will resist you." - Martha Beck

(We are back from Grenada, but I will tell you all about it tomorrow. I haven't got my pictures ready yet, and a holiday needs to be illustrated! So today I am getting right back into the blogging book group.)

This week the chapter is about surrendering to your creative cycles. I had a hard time reading this bit of the book. It's not because it was too much or too hard (or because I am severely jet lagged) but because I feel that sometimes when we talk too much about the "darkness" or the "creative void" that it perpetuates the idea that if we don't have these dark creative blocks or if we don't feel like we are being tested for our art that somehow we are not artists.

For a long time I felt like I couldn't be an artist. It wasn't because of talent or about skill, it was because I didn't think I was full of enough angst. I wasn't carrying a sketchbook everywhere I went, or scribbling furiously in my diary every few minutes or lugging a guitar around with me like my 'artsy' friends were. Those people were artists. I was just me.

I wrote big colourful letters to friends and painted a sun on my ceiling. I scribbled in journals when I felt the need, and I doodled in the margins of my notebooks. I decorated my bedroom with beautiful things, and collected multi-coloured sunglasses. I acted in community theatre productions, ran the craft program at summer camp, and all the while I thought because I didn't feel the passion that these friends seemed to feel about art or music or drama, that I mustn't really be very artistic. What I now realize is that creativity isn't something that you can turn on or off or own or suffer through. It is how you live your life.

Please understand that I do completely agree with the concept of creative cycles. You can't force yourself to create a masterpiece every day. Everything and everyone needs to go through cycles of rest and renewal and growth and creation, but I think that getting lost in the drama of it all can be an enticing enemy. Using terms like "surviving the void" makes us feel like the creative cycles are scary and something to be overcome. I choose to believe that creative cycles are something to relish. Sometimes you show up and you can write pages, other times you only get three words onto a page before you realize that you actually want to be baking or painting or walking. Listening to these urges can bring out the most amazing things. I am going to tell you what I think: your art doesn't need angst to thrive. It just needs you living your life with all you've got, following your creative urges, and trusting that it will all make sense in the end. least that is what I believe.

"... women who have been intimate with the creative process and created pots or books or prints or whatever, have a confidence in the cycles and the inevitability of the emergence of the new. Creative passions have come and gone, and therefore there is faith that inspirations will once again emerge." - Gail McMeekin

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

T.O. (Time Out)

"Gratitude is the most passionate transformative power in the cosmos. When we offer thanks to God or to another human being, gratitude gifts us with renewal, reflection, reconnection." - Sarah Ban Breathnach

Photo by

It feels like a really strange time to be going on holiday. My packages are going out to agents and there is lots of stuff going on on line. I am making new friends and getting back in touch with old ones. Mark's website is very nearly done. I have changed my diet and am feeling awake and feisty. There is energy in the air. I've never gone on holiday feeling like this. I can't wait to see what wonderful things are in store - both now and when I get back. 2009 has already had a different flavour to it - it already feels like it has potential for greatness. For that, and for you, I am grateful! Have a wonderful few weeks and I shall see you when I am full of all that the Caribbean has to offer!


Friday, January 09, 2009

Engaging Creativity

"There cannot be too many glorious women." - Marianne Williamson

Most of you started your new year last week. There were fireworks and celebrations all over the world. For me, my new year and my new life starts today. I don't know how Jamie does it, but somehow she started her new book group on the first day of the rest of my life! I had an endoscopy yesterday to confirm my celiac diagnoses. I have had to eat gluten for the past three months so that this test would be right. From today I can start making every bite I take about healing my body. From today I am going to feel better and stronger and more energetic. From today everything about my journey is about health and strength and putting more of myself into my goals and my dreams. This all sounds awfully dramatic and excessive, but after years of fatigue and lethargy, I am almost fizzing with excitement at the possibilities now that I know how to take care of myself!!!

The book this time is The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women by Gail McMeekin. In Chapter One, she says, "It was time to redesign my life in line with my limitations and with total allegiance to my truth." I got goosebumps when I read that. That is where I am on my creative journey. It's time to listen and understand who I am and how I work and that I can't force myself to do anything. (There is a part of me will always rebel!) As I said in my last post, every decision needs to be about whether the choice will bring me closer or further away from what I want. And I need to make the choice to get closer more often.

OH - I just found this at Kerstin's blog - go here and listen to THIS!! Trust me! It's like a theme song for getting ON with it!

"In the sacred traditions, the first thing you do in the morning is ask for blessings from the four elements: earth, air, fire and water. Because all of the work that you are going to do that day will change the universe." - Laura Esquivel

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Clear Focus.

"Metamorphosis isn't always pretty but it is always awesome and absolutely essential."
- Oprah

I'm not sure why I haven't been here in so long. I have started to write a post a few times, but I couldn't get past the title. I have felt quiet and still and even now, faced with the prospect of beginning to write again, I feel like I am hesitating on the shore; dipping my toes in to test the waters before I commit myself.

I know how things get around here at the turn of the year. Everyone goes all hog-wild picking theme words, making or not making resolutions, thanking the previous year and making lists of their wildest dreams. I have done some of those things privately this year, but I did not have the energy to share them.

It feels different this time. I feel like my resolutions came with a different sort of sigh this year. Other years I have sighed as I have written, 'lose weight' and 'write my book.' That sigh was one of resignation: I'll never do this, why do I bother? This year it was a soft sigh of determination. It was a soft breath of knowing that I can and I will complete what I have started. I feel both softer and stronger now. Clearer. I know what I want and I know that I just need to work hard to get there. Every decision just has to be weighed: will this choice bring me closer to or further away from what I want and who I am? And then I have to live with the consequences of my choice.

It's funny how a profound lightness of purpose caused such a heavy sounding post. It's actually quiet and determined and joyful over here. It's just all percolating on the inside for now. My goal for 2009? Clear focus. "I know like I know like I know."

So help me catch up - what's your goal for 2009?