Concluding our ruminations today on how we use our age and other methods to stay blocked, it is time to reconsider some of our painful old assumptions. In particular, we should be challenged to examine to what extent our creative choices (especially the failure to even try!) are being driven by our art-as-production-commodity mentality.
“We have,” she warns, “set an appropriate age on certain activities: college graduation, going to med school, writing a first book. This artificial ego requirement asks us to be done when what we truly yearn for is to start something.”
How often do we hold ourselves back from our secret longings, because we tell ourselves we are too old, too fat, too broke, too out of practice, or, worst of all, because it would make us look silly?
Personally, it’s like Julia is reading my mind, when she writes, “If these excuses are beginning to sound flimsy to you, good! Ask yourself if you haven’t employed a few of them. Then ask yourself if you can acquire the humility to start something despite your ego’s reservations.
“The grace to be a beginner is always the best prayer for an artist. The beginner’s humility and openness lead to exploration. Exploration leads to accomplishment. All of it begins at the beginning, with the first small and scary step.”
These excuses are indeed sounding pretty lame these days, at least to my own ears.
Are you beginning to see why there is all this emphasis on our artist dates, morning pages, and all the rest? For me, it’s because they have become a magical potion that has created an intense, unrelenting awareness of my inner artist child self.
In fact, at this point, I feel like I have a five or six year old tagging along everywhere I go, who is curious about everything I do, and mostly wants to play. And when I say no, I’d better have a good explanation. She is fairly reasonable, but I can count on her to whine, “But WHYYYYY?” if I am really making excuses.
She (with my morning pages, with my artist dates) does not let me get away with much. She sees right through my bullshit, which is extraordinarily uncomfortable at times, but so very necessary.
How about you?