Wednesday, 5 September 2007
Tip - make the most of everything
Stoning plums is a messy business and time consuming. When I have an activity like this I choose a piece of fun music, none of yon intense thought provoking stuff, and I blast it out of my little kitchen CD player. Yesterday I choose 'Most Wanted Music 7'. A cheeky little compilation number I picked up while working in Denmark in 1998. This mix of Euro trash is perfect for floating off into mind numbing nostalgia, although it did make me wonder what did happen to B*witched, Hit'n'Hide and Aqua. Madonna's Immaculate Collection is another good bet for this job.
As soon as I finish stoning I clean up the mess (and have a wee boggy round the kitchen) before moving on to the next stage. The stones go into my compost bin, but I would imagine they will take a while to break down.
I am currently working my way through Julia Cameron's Artist's Way. A twelve week course to free an artist's blocked creativity. I have tired this programme before, years ago, but I failed to progress past week three, I am now on week four. I don't feel creatively blocked but I thought this would be a good opportunity to try some of the exercises while I am between novels one and two.
One of the tasks on week four, which I refuse to do, is the reading deprivation. No way can I abstain from reading. It's just plain cruel.
The main problem I have with the Artist's Way is the heavy reliance it places on accepting that creativity comes from God. That coincidence and synchronicity occurs because God has willed it. I find it vain to expect God to be sitting around feeding struggling artists little gem ideas when there is so much suffering to be dealt with.
I do accept that when writing there is a form of Divine intervention, things do just happen to me. However, I prefer to believe this power comes from my dead ancestors. I can just see them floating around somewhere wanting the best for one of their tribe. I suppose this view is similar to that of the Native Americans. I'll let God get on with the serious stuff.
I am off on holiday next week but plan to continue with the tasks and record some of the outcomes here.
On my previous excursion along this 'Way' I learned the benefits of morning pages. This is a routine whereby I write three A4 pages of muses as soon as I rise in the morning. The purpose is to force myself to turn up at the page every day, but it also allows me to voice any issues or worries I have. This is a practice I have now been observing for about four years; as a therapeutic and writing practice there is no better tool in my opinion. I am hooked.
Another of Artist's Way basics is the Artist's date. This allows me to take myself off somewhere, alone, and spend time with my creative self. It doesn't have to be far, it might even be sitting at home watching an old movie. The important thing about the artist's date is that it frees the mind of humdrum. An Artist's dates can be doing what Julia Cameron calls an artist activity, a physical activity that allow the artist to drift away from day to day problems and enter the realm of fantasy.
I think stoning plums is a perfect artist's activity.