We’re starting week one of The Artist’s Way on Monday, January 4th. In this episode, I’ll preview week one, plus I’ll recommend A.J. Odasso’s The Sting of It (Tolson Books 2019).
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Hello skeptical creatives and creative skeptics. Tammy here. This is episode six of Creativity for Skeptics. It’s Sunday, January 3rd 2021 as I’m recording this, and we’re going to preview week one of Julia Cameron’s the artists way. So in just a moment, I’ll talk about how I’m approaching this first week as someone who decidedly does not believe in the supernatural.
One note. At the end of the show, I’ll be sharing a book I just adore, A.J. Odasso’s The Sting of It.
But first, let’s preview week one.
So, you’ve got your morning pages journal or like me, a very cheap college-rule notebook. I find I’m more open to getting down the messier stuff on notebooks that I don’t have to be precious about. But find what works best for you–that’s what this is about. I’ve been doing the morning pages thing off and on since at least 2000 when I was in my early 20s, and it didn’t take me long to figure out I’m happier writing morning pages on notebook paper or a cheap notebook than a beautiful journal. On a later episode, I’ll talk more about how my morning pages have evolved over time and why I still find them useful.
Notebook or journal, and a sturdy pen in hand. Now what?
I don’t know about y’all, but reading the title of this section, “Recovering a Sense of Safety,” I get that sort of visceral knotting, because we’re thinking about making this safe space to create in but also we’re in the middle of a pandemic. Safety is kind of a fraught thing right now. It’s never not been a complicated issue–I know that. So as you’re going through this chapter, it might be worth taking a moment to think about the layers of safety–or lack thereof–in your particular situation.
On page 30, Julia Cameron talks about core negative beliefs, and she lists a few. I’d like to add an example of my own, because of the way art is distributed and consumed now is very different from how it was in 2002 (the date of the edition I have) and 1992 (the original copyright date). For example, artists have to spend all their time on social media (which I’m terrible at, by the way). So just something to think about right now.
Another one, and I’m sharing this with embarrassment: In high school I wrote and I wanted to be a published writer. But I read somewhere that if you can’t be truly happy, you can’t be a poet. Now, I have no idea who said this or what I read it in, and I haven’t had any luck looking it up–I haven’t really tried much to be fair. As depressed as I was as a teenager, this dashed a lot of hope I had. So, if any of you have read anything as untrue as this, let me tell you this: you can be a poet (or any kind of creator) even if happiness is hard for you. So that was one particular pile of bovine excrement I’ve moved past. And you can too.
Anyway, on to the tasks. Here’s where you do the work to get where you want to be. First one is morning pages. I’m going to second her instructions: these are for you only. Don’t share them. Don’t even think you might possibly one day share them. Maybe. Just a little.
The second task is the artist’s date. I don’t know what I’m going to do yet. I don’t watch TV, if you don’t count PBS Kids, so I’d thought about watching a travel video or something like that. I told myself that when I finish the draft of the mystery, I could watch The Crown or something like that. So I might do that. We’ll see. If the pandemic weren’t the pandemic, I’d be off to the closest store with stationery and journals and notecards that I don’t really have a use for but love. Anyway, let me know what you do this week.
And I recommend doing the rest of the tasks, because you might surprise yourself what you dig up. I have been in the past, and that’s always been useful. I will be doing them again, and my answers now will be quite different from those I wrote 20 years ago.
I should also say here that I’ve posted the past few episodes over at Freethinking Ahead, which is my blog over at Freethought Blogs. I’ll put a link in the show notes. I’m thinking that’s going to be the best place for comments and questions, since I have transcripts up there as well.
So that’s it for our week one preview. Feel free to comment [below] over at my Freethinking Ahead. I’ll include that in the show notes as well.
And now, for a recommendation. For me, as a poetry reader, I’m looking for books that leave me with the sense of awe that you’re left with when you read a book that is both so well crafted and also speaks deeply on difficult and necessary subjects. Which is the case with A.J. Odasso’s The Sting of It, which was published in 2019 by Tolsun Books.
I’ll read the blurb: “THE STING OF IT is cradled in classical form and bubbles with luscious language from a bygone era. Fans of Spenser and Donne will find comfort here. But this formal order only just restrains the chaos from Odasso’s own body and past. Their explosive and candid revelations make us aware of our beautiful, mortal grit. Odasso’s ferocious imagery within measured verse reminds us that life is mysterious, painful, and fantastic.”
I highly recommend this book, and a link will be in the show notes [above].
So that’s it from me today. If you have any questions about creativity you’d like me to address, feel free to send me an email, firstname.lastname@example.org. Or post a comment over at my blog, freethoughtblogs.com/freethinkingahead
Thanks for listening to Creativity for Skeptics. For more information about the show or to listen to past episodes, go to creativityforskeptics.com. We’ll talk creativity again soon.