Several years ago, Ptichka did The Artist's Way with a group of friends. She enjoyed the activities but hated the way Cameron externalized inspiration and pinned it on someone or something else. This is the same basic problem I have with the CPS version of inspiration too. There's no agency, no self-criticism (which can be useful), no self-awareness, and no sense of personal responsibility. If the piece sucks, it's your muse's fault, not your fault. Mmmhmmm.

That, however, was a digression.

Back to The Artist's Way. Since Ptichka did it, I've incorporated a few things from the book into my life. When I'm so stressed about my dissertation that I can't sleep, I do morning pages until either I figure out what's bothering me or they turn into the next chunk of the chapter currently under construction. Actually, that's the only aspect of the book that I've consistently used, which is more than I've ever gotten out of any other self-help book. Probably because I avoid self-help books like I avoid inspiring films starring Robin Williams.

Lately I've been dreaming of hiding away in the forest and just being. Not really talking to anyone. Not watching television. Not checking e-mail. Nothing. Just thinking and engaging the world around me because I have turned into a slug. I've lost a huge chunk of my curiosity and I am tired of investigating things all the time. At the moment I can't afford this kind of retreat from the world but I can, I think, replicate the experience to a certain degree using one of the tasks from The Artist's Way: giving up reading for a week. I will be cheating because I cannot give up dissertation-related reading nor can I not mark homework for a week but all other reading will be off limits from Sunday evening until Saturday morning. No blogs, no Yahoo! groups, no non-school related e-mails. I should also be giving up television this next week but who am I kidding? I will be watching Project Runway and The Amazing Race. I will, however, give up my weekly dose of Gary Sinise.

I must admit that I'm a bit terrified about how this readingless week will turn out. I'm scared that instead of engaging and thinking, I'll find a new avoidance technique, like going to bed at eight. I'll report back with how everything went. In the meantime, I'd love to know what you do to recentre, refocus, whatever you call it. I'll be reading until Sunday.

The piece at the top is a page for Jacey's leaves deco. Watercolours and acrylic on watercolour paper. The design was inspired by the fabric I chose for my mod bird.


mfish said...

I started to read the Artist's Way on someone's recommendation. She told me it changed her life, so I had high hopes going into it.

I didn't get all the way through, I found it too... I dunno. I just didn't make a connection. But I did like the idea of morning pages. I did it for awhile. And now - to a certain extent - my blog has become my morning pages.

Good luck with your readingless week. Let me know how it turns out. I might try it myself.


Cellissimo said...

I didn't get through the Artist's Way, either. I liked a few things from it, but the externality and soft-core spirituality bothered me a bit. Plus, she seems to have something against those who practice Buddhism (the attitude shows up in another book she wrote), so I tend to avoid her. However, I did come away with a few useful ideas, and I take myself out on artist's dates once in awhile.

Good luck with your "readingless" week! I hope it works out for you and that you come away renewed.