Thursday, May 24, 2012

Resistance & Rebellion - Living with My Inner Artist

She went with us to the Caribbean,
in all her multiple-quotation,
call-to-creativity glory.
And I dutifully read all of the introductory
material and chapter one,
learning about such things as 
the brains we all juggle
the principles of creativity 
and why we need to live by them;
the powerful voice of the Inner Censor.
And most appropriately,
I learned about the Creative Block.

Why appropriate, you ask?

Because at the end of it all,
I found myself in the middle of
a big, fat, nasty one,
 that's why.

I was on vacation.
And Julia asked me to commit to
Morning pages,
an Artist's Date,
Weekly Check-Ins,
a timeline look back at my life,
in search of Monsters who might
have stifled my budding artistic genius.

But here's something you may not know about me:
I am, at heart, a Rebel.

I know, I know.
I don't look like a rebel at all.
I am a 'good girl' 
(if people of my age are allowed 
to refer to themselves as 'girls').
I'm a pastor, for pete's sake.
I'm older.
I dress conservatively
(except for the occasional wild and crazy color 
and a whole lotta jewelry).
I take care of others.
Yes, I do a whole of that last one.
I take care of others.
I read the Bible and I do so
because I believe that I meet God there.
I am a centrist theologically.
I am a centrist in most things.


I resist following the rules.
I resent being told how to do things.
I don't tolerate what I perceive to be 'fluff' too well.
My eyes tend to glaze over when
I read the words 'affirmation'
or ' creative recovery.'

Imagine my response, then, to this volume.
Oh, I've underlined it aplenty,
I've even got stars and creased corners on
lots and lots of pages.
I actually liked a lot of what I read,
agreed with it, too.

Until I got to the part where I had to do something about it.

Yeah, that's when the Rebel showed up.
Don't know if she's related to the Inner Censor,
but I have a hunch they're kissin' cousins.
Because once I started reading about what I
needed to do to release my Inner Artist -
I started to push back, HARD.

First of all, I don't do longhand anymore.
Never was good at it 
(yes, that's the voice of the Inner Censor - 
but it's also the voice of reality), 
I hate doing it and can't really read what I write anymore.
(Of course, we're not supposed to read this stuff.
We're just supposed to write it.)

And I'm not a morning person.
And in my dotage,
I indulge my non-morning-ness whenever I can.
So the two times I actually did write the dang pages,
it was well into mid-day. 

The Artist's Date?
Now, that's something I can wrap my mind around.
In fact, it's something I actually already do, 
although I've never called it that.
I seek solitude, often at the beach or a favorite restaurant,
and I look for beauty wherever I go.
That one was a cinch.

The timeline I got to today.
And here's what I discovered -
the biggest Monster in my story is...
Yup. I get in my own way more than anyone else ever has.
Sure, my mom (and my dad) had hopelessly high
expectations for me when I was a child.
They were both artists in their own way
and my small muscle development was lousy
(remember what I said about handwriting earlier?).
So I just quit trying to do anything with my hands.
And I quite trying very, very early. 
I couldn't play piano like my dad or my brother.
I couldn't draw or create beauty like my mother,
so I didn't do it.
Until I went to college and no longer felt the weight of my parents' abilities pressing in on me every single day.
And when I began to venture out a little here,
a little there, it turned out I could do some things
acceptably well. 
Not great, but okay.

But the real, true chicken-heart was inside me,
not my parents, not my teachers, not my friends,
not my employers.


Now I'm facing this HUGE block.
No ideas.
No desire.
No sense of call.
No sense of giftedness.

Think maybe I'm just the teensiest bit resistant?

The Rebellious Resistor.
Pretty much my middle name.


Joining with Lyla and the gang over at Tweetspeak Poetry for the interactive posting about Julia Cameron's classic book, "The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity." As you can tell, I have a lot of inner work to do. Oy vey. Lord, have mercy.