Meeting, anyone?

What with more late nights at work and a short week in addition, I have suddenly and surprisedly found myself at Saturday with little of this week's tasks done beyond reading the chapter. I plan to rectify that today and have a lovely artist date for tomorrow morning, but I am also wondering about a meeting this weekend. Anyone planning on meeting? Heidi and I are happy to offer up our park for anyone interested, but we would also be happy to join anyone else who felt they would like to host.

Moaning and groaning in the morning...

My dissatisfaction with The Artist’s Way only continues to grow. I don’t think I’m angry, but I’m completely put-off by the author. I am doing the exercises, or at least half of them, because I see the good that comes of them, such as the morning pages, and a handful of the questions she asks. The stuff I don’t get usually comes in the form of regurgitated ideas that didn’t make sense the first time around and made less sense the second. Then there’s the crazy-talk… “In the early stages, these death threats are issued to our intimates.” (“I could kill you when you interrupt me…”) Seriously, I wouldn’t even entertain the thought of killing someone I loved for interrupting me. Sure, I’m pretty annoyed but gee, if that’s your starting point then sure, “homicide gives way to suicide.” I’m just not seeing it. She sounds like a lunatic. Not to mention, the author spends half of what I’m reading glorifying her ideal existence and the rest of the time talking about herself and God. Maybe I want clean, modern lines; maybe that would make someone really happy and she shouldn’t make it sound like such an awful thing. Maybe I don’t like incense all that much – is that okay? Gah! Then the last two questions – there is no payoff for remaining blocked, don’t you think I can see that now that it’s been drilled into my head? And no, I don’t blame anyone – I don’t think I really ever did, other than myself. It’s up to me to carry through the steps and be ready to take advantage of opportunity instead of looking the other way as I have in the past.

Last night I started working on a short story based on the inspiration thread but found my interest in the piece squelched by my irritation with the Julia Cameron. I’d started working on the ideas on paper and as soon as I got to the keyboard to start forming a draft it was gone. I looked to my left and there was her face on the back of the book, looking at me. I got annoyed and lost the moment of inspiration for the story. I do have a good starting point, luckily preserved on paper, and it’s a place to go from tonight and throughout the weekend. I’m dismayed with myself for my agitation with her. Last night, I realized that I really have to skim the chapters and go for the meat of the questions it asks – I can’t waste my time with her crazy-talk. I trapped myself over my irritation, and it’s up to me to cut the ropes.

I think that through this, I feel more motivated today, just differently. I can't let irritations block my path, whether they're the daily irritations of life, or the bigger ones.
  • Current Mood
    contemplative contemplative

And Another Thing...

Yesterday I failed to report out on my moments of synchronicity:

Gazpacho - I've been wanting it all Summer since Lisa ordered the Almodovar DVD collection

Isaac's Beach Party - I've been thinking of the beach as one of my potential artists dates as one of the few places that have any sort of spiritual foundation for me - but only at night. I'd been wondering how I might pull of a late night excursion.

All in all, in this post reading deprivation state I feel rather inspired - I hope it continues.

  • Current Mood

Week 2 meeting

Heidi, Audra and I met on Sunday to go over our week 2 progress.

Heidi started off by relating how her week had been a roller coaster of emotions, and not always for readily observable reasons. She could go from being really upbeat and happy to having her censor hitting her with crippling blows in the course of half an hour or less. She spoke of how she has found herself (or her censor) mentally putting words in other people's mouths speaking badly of her, and teared up as she related an example. As we were tramping around in the hot sun on Sunday, she told me that she was starting to melt down a bit, after which she imagined me saying "Starting?"). All this led to Audra's now-classic response: "You're name is in my protective circle! You're fine!"

Audra reported having a more low-key week, mostly staying on track with the morning pages and tasks but not feeling the same sense of breakthrough as the first week. I had a terrific week. After a first week that found me struggling to get into the groove of the program, I came out of Sunday's meeting with a high that held out mpore or less all week. I had been having a lot of trouble at work with a lack of motivation, like I had to chain myself to my desk to get anything done, but that burden felt much lighter this week.

A discussion began about rearranging furniture, as Heidi and I have been looking at moving some of our things around and we have been thinking of working this in sort of thematically with the program. We hope that we can move some furniture and take some better avdantage of our space and then as well just get a new feel to our living space to go with the other new things we're introducing into our lives. As Audra said, "Get the shit out of your brain, get the shit out of your life." Audra described how she has had this feeling for many years that once she gets all of her things organized and everything in its proper place that then her "real, adult life" can begin, and I recognized this thought process immediately in myself. I told of how I have several boxes of papers in my closet, some probably a decade old by now, which I have been planning (for probably about a decade now) to sort out nicely and neatly and put into filing cabinets. And I still intend to do that, and I still think that I will be turning some sort of corner in my life when I do.

We went through our lists of things we enjoy doing, and tiny changes and additional lives. Heidi likes swimming and amusement parks and hitting things. Audra likes rock climbing and making dioramas and researching things. I like tennis and time-travelling and visiting museums. And we found many areas of intersection among the things we like to do. All three of us mentioned in some way or another the idea of being a tourist in one's own city. Of looking at the place where on'e lives in new ways and going to places within it that one has never been. We all agreed on our love for libraries, and Heidi told of her weekly library visits in her childhood when she would pick up her new books for that week, and I related how I used to spend free time in college wandering randomly among the stacks at our main library to see what I could discover.

We also all realized our enjoyment for amusement parks (obviously) after Heidi mentioned them, and I brought up an idea I had had the last time we didi this. I mentioned it at the Beat Retreat last year, but will describe it again. The idea I had, and which Heidi and I are going to do at some point, is to create your own personal theme park (or really a model or design of your park). If Disneyland was a window into Walt's brain, incorporating all the things that fascinated him and that he enjoyed, what would a similar window into your brain be like? I want to eventually create a model of my park similar to the one of 1955 Disneyland on display in the park.

For her artist date this past week, Heidi went shopping. She defended this choice unnecessarily to Audra and I, and described her eventual purchase of a new dress (after extolling the marvelous sale at which she found it, she exclaimed "I'm turning into my grandmother!"). She also went to a new tea store and bought herself some loose tea to try out. Audra got her hair done for her artist date, and for those of you who have not yet seen it, it's a whole new Audra's hair. Very fetching. My artist date was again cut a little short this week, this time by physical maladies. I had planned pon taking a wallking tour of a random part of Hancock Park and just enjoy the houses, but that got derailed after about ten minutes. I had taken a 45-minute walk earlier in the week, walking part of the way to work, and decided to retroactively claim that as my artist date.

At the end, all three of us agreed on the importance to our process of meeting at the end of the week. Heidi, who had read a section from the back of the book called "Trail Mix," spoke of a concept she read about there, in which people who work out this process together become "mirrors" to each others' success and creativity. The insight I gained from the others through the meeting heightened my understanding of my own experience enormouosly. Plus it's a heck of a lot of fun.

Morning Pages

When I started the morning pages, I was stubborn in my refusal to go the longhand route. For 3 days, I did them on the computer. And yet, there was this little nagging voice that somehow I was depriving myself by doing them this way. So, Matthew (who is also working through this program but has neglected to get a live journal account yet) and I went out and bought some notebooks to try doing it longhand.

Now, for the last couple of days, I've done my morning pages in longhand and I've learned a couple of things. First of all, I've all but forgotten how to write at any length in longhand. Besides the considerable pain, I realized that my handwriting has completely gone downhill over the past couple of years (although my typing is light years ahead of what it was.) The first day, I made it about three quarters of the way through the second page before I had to stop. My hand was throbbing and I was frustrated. But... I also learned that I write completely differently in longhand. For one thing, I cannot write as fast as my brain thinks, leaving me plenty of time to contemplate the words I was choosing. Matthew noticed this as well. Often, before I got to the next sentence, I had already formulated a better way of saying what I wanted to say. I was thinking far ahead of what I was writing and it was a completely different perspective.

Now, even when I am typing, my brain is trying to do the same thing. It is paying more attention to the words and how they sound and as a result, I'm less inclined to go back and edit sentences. I seem to be getting them right the first time (ok, not always but I do notice a trend). It has made me realize that there is some underlying purpose to writing these longhand. It sucks, it hurts, and it is causing me to pay far more attention to the process of writing than I ever had before. Very strange.
  • Current Mood
    contemplative contemplative

Epiphany #1

A combination of late-night restlessness and morning pages has lead to a pretty radical conclusion in my mind. The source of my many many aborted attempts at creative outputs in recent months/years (as well as several other shortcomings) is the result of a distaste for learning. Or rather, the result of being too lazy and impatient to challenge myself to learn something that doesn't come easily.

It also rather explains my suddenly being drawn toward creative outlets seeing as I spent the first couple decades+ of my life showing little to no inclination towards it. I'm at a point in my academic/professional life where I'm running into the "this will actually take effort to learn" wall, which has sent my brain scrambling for something easier to absorb. The beginning stages of the creative process, the surface level exercises of spitting out a few sketches, taking some artsy black and white photographs, or churning out some whimsical poem were an easy target to fill that instant-gratification, "I'm bettering myself through learning" illusion that I'm so good at. Yet another way to avoid buckling down and actually challenging myself, remaining the perennial jack of all trades, master of none.

Of course, that only lasts so long before I hit the artistic version of that said same wall, which is where I've found myself.
  • Current Mood
    calm constructive

Fudge, blocked already

Well, I was going to read through the intro and week 1 at lunch today. But just as I had settled into my sandwich and the book, my manager walked into the place I was eating and spotted me. I like the guy, and having been out last Friday, I figured it'd be politic for me to put the book aside and let him join me. Grrr.

But I did start my pages this morning. The good news is that my morning routine has about a half hour of extra time that I usually fill with pointless internet surfing, so that's easily replaced with the pages.
  • Current Mood
    annoyed annoyed

Morning Writting

Well, I've reaped the first benefits of this activity, I woke up this morning and vaguely remembered a dream. So as I began to jot it down, I found the things unfolding backwards as I placed it on paper - sort of - "Oh, yeah - but before that I was..." Anyway, I have a love of dreams and I had forgotten how this sort of activity brings them into your consciousness.

On another note, a thorough search for the Artist's Way book in our garage and under the bed turned up nothing, so there's a bookstore visit in our future this morning. curious to see what the first assignment is.

Now back to my morning coffee,

  • Current Music
    Come on a My House - Ursula 1000