Learning is movement from moment to moment. J. Krishnamurti
It was Christmas, 1990-something…. the mid-somethings. Every year, we met at Nana’s house for brunch and a gift exchange. I am one of those “lucky” people who have a birthday in December, so I had a few birthday presents to open, too.
That year, my mom and grandmother went together and kinda outdid themselves; not that I was complaining!
I knew I’d heard something different when we got there. An hour later, I found out what it was! An indoor fountain (not a table fountain but a literal on-the-floor indoor fountain!). My daughter has it now because I moved thousands of miles away and couldn’t carry it. But I enjoyed that fountain for many years — P.S. So did the cats!
I also received a pendulum, a rainstick, a key ring that doubled as a kaleidoscope, and two books: The Woman’s Comfort Book by Jennifer Louden and The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. The latter is my focus today. Why? Because it paved the way for a renaissance… at least for me… and there are exercises that I first read about in the book that I still use today!
My mother (a therapist, herself) had chosen the book for me because I was stuck in a creative quagmire. I was (and am) a writer. I also like to draw but am not good at it. Oh, in a certain kind of “all art is valuable” kinda way, perhaps. But writing is my “thing”.
To set the scene back then: My family had recently left a fundamental Baptist church with a charming, handsome, power-hungry leader who was a master manipulator and gas-lighter. I had nightmares about that church (and him in particular) for a decade afterwards. I had given all my power to him and to my (then) husband, as God (er, the preacher) decreed. I was a writer who had nothing to say… so insignificant, was I.
I had planned to begin reading the book with the new year… seemed appropriate… but couldn’t wait, once I read the back.
“… an empowering book for aspiring and working artists.”
Empowering, you say? Sign me up! And boy-oh-boy, did I take it seriously!
I started reading the next morning and began the exercises immediately. The Morning Pages were especially helpful in my quest to get writing. I won’t say anymore about them… I want you to go get this book… and you may already have it but forgot about it. Go! Pull it out and dust it off. Time to take a fresh look!
The margins of my book are filled with quotes from the author and notes I added myself. There are dog-eared paged and yellow highlighter and red marker peppered throughout. I just opened one of the worn pages and was faced with this quote — not just red underlined but highlighted, too!
“Crazymakers create drama – but seldom where they belong.”
Crazymakers… drama kings and queens… shit disturbers. Doesn’t matter what you call them. You know what the author means, right? Damn straight!
While nearly every self-help book I’ve read had *something* of value, few reached the epic stature of The Artist’s Way. That’s because I still do some things I learned in this book.
Like… for example… taking yourself on a date. So much so, that I am sharing a page from my 2015 journal to show you that 20+ years later, I’m still doing it.
I’d say that’s the mark of a life-changing book.
What are you waiting for? This one’s a keeper!