Can I confess something to you? I have to admit I am having a little difficulty psyching myself up to come here and write about this, this week. Like many of you are finding, it is hard to re-visit some of those old hurts, especially when we have been enjoying some real progress away from those bad old days.
But the more I work with this book, the more impressed I am about Julia’s wisdom. She certainly is able to predict the patterns of the inevitable ups and downs, progress and regressions, that recovering artists can expect. Like so much in life, just when you figure you have kicked your problem once and for all, a new level of it tests you again.
It is not a bit surprising that some of you are reporting that you sometimes feel like you are losing ground. This is a part of the healing process. Having some of this stuff come up again (when we thought we were quite finished) is normal. So if it feels like going backwards to dissect our old wounds, it really is a necessary part of getting to the really deep healing, and we can only do it in increments.
Julia assures us that, “In order to recover our sense of hope and the courage to create, we must acknowledge and mourn the scars that are blocking us. This process may seem both painstaking and petty, but it is a necessary rite of passage.”
If you have the book, I encourage you to read the several pages where she discusses what she calls “The Ivory Power.” Her views on the power of academia to harm budding artists are extensive and well thought out. And I think they are fair. What do you think?
She offers a number of examples of people she has worked with whose blocks were created by misguided criticism from aloof (probably themselves blocked) intellectuals. With each recovering creator, she emphasizes, the key to moving past that block (and the ghosts that will always try to haunt us when we have future setbacks, which we will) is to understand, mourn and heal those tender, hurt places from long ago. The better we mend those wounds, the less likely they are to slow us down when we are vulnerable.
Yes, they might ache when it rains, but we know them for what they are. If they are healed, we cannot mistake them for a sense of failure or hopelessness; we can be confident enough to stretch beyond them. And so they will not really harm us anymore.
Join us tomorrow as we learn more about these injuries we are prone to, and how to grow stronger from them.