Writer’s Block © Penelope
Creativity is the sudden cessation of stupidity.
— Edwin Land, scientist and inventor of Polaroid film and the Land camera
Every day, we are witnessing more signs that our economy has gone haywire, and no one quite knows (much less agrees!) what to do about it. Some say that as we spend the next 15 years with Pluto in Capricorn, we can expect that the very foundations of our institutions of work, wealth, and security will crumble.
If we are to survive, this is a time, I believe, that demands creative new approaches and a willingness to shed the constrictions of past paradigms (that are failing anyway). We must reach deep within, and connect to the Source of what is of true value. We are called, I believe, to discover (or return to) our most fundamental identity, as Creators.
Julia Cameron wrote The Artist’s Way as a result of hundreds of workshops she had taught on how to become “unblocked” as an artist. Her credentials qualifying her to teach this came from her own difficult experiences.
She had created a very lucrative and successful career at Paramount Studios as a writer. However, in 1978, she was forced to stop drinking, which suddenly revealed the extent to which alcohol and the ability to be creative had become intertwined for her.
“In my mind,” she writes, “drinking and writing went together like, well, scotch and soda. For me, the trick was always getting past the fear and onto the page. I was playing beat the clock – trying to write before the booze closed in like fog and my window of creativity was blocked again…
“I told myself that if sobriety meant no creativity, I did not want to be sober. Yet I recognized that drinking would kill me and the creativity. I needed to learn to write sober – or else give up writing entirely.”
Without alcohol-fueled “creative spasms,” as she describes her work style, she was forced to examine what it is that blocks us from our creative expression, and, ultimately, confront her deepest beliefs about what creativity, in fact, is.
Her journey began when she “learned to turn my creativity over to the only God I could believe in, the God of creativity, the life force Dylan Thomas called, ‘the force that through the green fuse drives the flower…’
“I learned to get out of the way and let that creative force work through me. I learned to just show up at the page and write down what I heard. Writing became more like eavesdropping and less like inventing a nuclear bomb. It wasn’t so tricky, and it didn’t blow up on me anymore. I didn’t have to be in the mood.”
I hope that over the weekend, you’ll begin to think about your own gifts and challenges as a Creator. In what ways, big and small, are you currently able to express artistry in your life? What beliefs do you have about what a creative lifestyle looks like? How does your life, as it is right now, support or thwart your creative dreams and fantasies?
Next week, I’ll share with you Julia’s basic principles upon which she promises creative recovery and discovery can be built.