So, this post is a week late since I was experiencing a kind of creative malaise. That’s just the way it goes sometimes. I am beginning to accept that lulls are just part of my process. So week 4…
Morning pages: Check. Some were done well past morning but they got written. Nothing especially revelatory.
Artist Date: Check. I went to Fashion in Detroit with my daughter and we saw five shows from swimwear and handbags to wedding gowns to men’s shirts paired with leggings. Quite inspiring to see the desgns, models, make-up, hair and accessories. I know that technically I am supposed to go on the Artist’s Date alone but I spend so much of my day alone that I am okay with breaking the rule. Speaking of breaking rules…
Reading Deprivation: Um, not so much. I went into it with a bad attitude. I’ve done it before but this time I was downright antagonistic about it. Who is she to tell me I can’t read? There are so many worse things I could be doing. And on and on. I lasted about three days and I was okay with that. I am such a rule follower. Such a good girl. So deliberately not following her advice left me feeling kind of rebellious. Not reading… yeah I know, what a rebel.
Tasks: I hade begun clearing space out before I started TAW. But there may be more I cna let go of. I remember writing a letter to myself now from my eighty year old self and loving it. I read it and thought, that’s who I want to be when I grow up. I’d like to find it and compare it to the one I wrote last week. One thing I know is similar is that eighty-year-old me is quite wise.
So this week was about power. Hmmm… didn’t feel it. I usually enjoy the tasks for this week but not so much this time around. The one task I found interesting was unearthing the traits I admire in others. I really admire people who take risks and that is something I don’t feel that I do. I don’t want to say I “should” risk more. Trying to stay away from that particular “s” word. But I want to take more risks. Not even sure what that means to me. Something to explore in morning pages, perhaps.
Did them every day. But kind of half-heartedly. Sometimes they were night pages. Today it actually took me three separate sittings to finish three pages adn two pens ran out of ink in the process. And I understand it is about the process less than the product when it comes to morning pages. But this week they felt especially tedious, the act of writing them as well as what I wrote. I find it curious that I started Week 1 feeling that my pages were deep and introspective and a mere two weeks later they feel trite and a waste of a tree’s sacrifice.
I actually had two this week. I tried a Zumba class which is Latin dance. When my neighbor invited me, my first reaction was a resounding “No”. But then I remembered my desire to take more risks so I said yes. It was fun. I’ve always had a complex about my dancing so this was a risk, one that paid off.
I also went to a little nearby town and browsed some lovely stores. One specializes in home decor and they do unusual things which I loved. For instance, they ripped the covers off of paperbacks then tied them with white twine and a couple buttons and arranged them in a big bowl. It was just unexpected. Then I wandered next door to a gallery that repesents only local artists. One of them, a photographer, was there arranging her work. I went upstairs and became enamoured with these masks. I kept going back to one and finally decided to treat myself. It is titled “Eve” but she reminds me of a Muse and now she hangs above my writing desk, watching over me, inspiring me.
I had kind of an odd week creatively. With all this glorious Fall weather I let things fall away for the week and enjoyed being outdoors much of the time. I did morning pages every day. I tried to go to this cute new vintage shop twice and twice it was unexpectedly closed due to construction problems. So my artist date was kind of lame. I went to Borders and had an iced soy green tea latte, browsed a bunch of magazines, read some poetry and wrote. I only label that as lame because that is something I tend to do on a semi-regular basis and I think artist dates should be expanding my horizons. Which I am doing this week. Already have a couple (new) things lined up. Stay tuned.
This week I noticed that the impatient, prissy voice in my head tapped her foot all week, waiting for me to once again fail to follow through on a project, this time, meaning TAW. I also realized one of my hangups with affirmations. They remind me of the angst I used to feel with birthday wishes. Like so much depended on this one wish, or affirmation. If I use one particluar affirmation does that negate the possiblity of changing another part of my life? Pressure to use the affirmation power for the “right” thing. Illoigical and possibly irrational, but still… it’s there.
I’ve always enjoyed Week 3 tasks so I am looking forward to that. However, I am experiencing a bit of apprehension knowing that the no-reading week is just around the corner. Reading is like breathing to me. I do see how I often hide behind books and realize that a break can be enlightening as weel as energizing. Still, I’ve altered my reading this week so that I can finish a library book before it’s due since it’s due the week that reading is not allowed.
“Hillbilly Gothic- A Memoir of Madness and Motherhood” by Adrienne Martini
My family has a grand tradition. After a woman gives birth, she goes mad.
Warning: if you are pregnant or recently gave birth, you may not want to read this one. Or maybe you will. Martini does a stunning job of dispelling all the saccharine, Hallmark-ish moments that society projects on new motherhood. And she is pissed when her experience does not live up to all the hype. She not only carefully details her own mental breakdown but she also explores the history of madness that runs in her own family as well as the stigma still attached to it in this day and age of miracle drugs advertised on TV like they were candy. She also got me thinking, as a writer, about the importance of place not only as a setting but how it informs who we are and how it can add depth and layers to your story.
“Palm Latitudes” a novel by Kate Braverman
In this city of the Angels, you can trust nothing, not even the dense and erratic air.
Janet Fitch once said that when she had Kate Braverman as a teacher she was told that anything you have ever heard before, even one time, is a cliché. And that forced Fitch to really look at the world and describe it in new and startling ways. After reading this novel I can see that Braverman practices what she preaches. The story is rich and the lush language is layered with life’s juxtapositions: linen and concrete, blood and orchids, fire and lace. This would’ve been beautiful to hear instead of merely reading. The text was almost like an incantation, mesmerizing. It has me thinking more about the sounds in my stories instead of only the actual story.
“My Hollywood” a novel by Mona Simpson
Once, we sat with a small candle between us on the tablecloth, drinks for our hands. After the salad, he asked if I wanted children.
“My Hollywood” turns the whole mommy wars cliché on its head. Simpson delves deep into the stories of Claire, a married mom who is a musician and her Filipina nanny, Lola, Claire is split between her art and her child and her marriage. Her angst is palpable. Lola observes the families she works for with piercing clarity, insight as well as humor. Both the American women and their nannies from different parts of the world make choices and then find a way to live with the results. None are perfect. They are just choices they make in order to raise a family in these times when so many choices are available.
Yes, I’m plunging into The Artist’s Way once again. Over the years I think I’ve completed the whole twelve weeks once. I’ve dipped in as needed but always on my own and never for the full twelve weeks. My friend, writer, motivational/inspirational coach, Jackie invited readers of her blog to join her as she embarked on TAW again and I jumped at the chance. I have actually written every single day since January 1 but I’m ready to kick it up a notch. Also, I’ve been feeling a little stagnant in my life lately and TAW is guaranteed to shake things up – in a good way. So here we go…
1. I did morning pages every day, although not necessarily every morning. I generally write them even when not doing TAW but I am finding them to be more reflective than usual. Not sure why. I’m thinking the fact that I have meditated for twenty minutes first thing every morning since Sept. 7 might have something to do with it.
2. Artist Date… why oh why do I resist you so? I put it off and put it off. It’s not like I don’t have the time. I do. And I know that they work. Just before I knew I was going to do TAW again I was having coffee with a dear friend. After hearing that I hadn’t created any kind of art (collage or painting) in a very long time even though I wanted to she pulled me out of the coffee shop and into some funky stores and it totally inspired me. So I know that Artist’s Dates work. I need to research and find fun, cheap things to do around here. Keep a running list. For this week I took my dog for a two mile walk around the lake. Not technically alone but it was worth it to see the lake through her eyes… and nose! It was like Disneyland for her. Everything was exciting: the black squirrel running up a tree, the acorn falling on the ground, swans fluttering their wings on the water. Every sound piqued her interest and therefore mine as well.
3. Delving into the blurts is always disconcerting. The way we talk to ourselves. We’d never speak that way to another person. I forgot that we were supposed to work with the blurts and affirmations at the end of our morning pages so I will do that this week. But I have to admit that affirmations always leave me feeling a little silly and awkward. Probably worth it to see where that might have come from.