If you want to know your past, look into your present conditions. If you want to know your future, look into your present actions. — Old proverb
Speaking of jumps yesterday, I am wondering if everyone is still here. Back on Blogger, I had ninety something loyal “followers,” as well as unknown numbers of folks who didn’t sign up. Not that I expect comments each and every day, but I can’t help but wonder if everyone made the jump to this new location. Or has this just gotten old and boring? Are you still with me? Should we wind this up (we still have three more chapters)? Or continue? Or.. ?? I welcome your feedback.
I will labor under the assumption of continuation one more day (at least) as we conclude this week’s musings. But I really want to know… This is your journey, as well as mine. Where are you on it?
So at this point, Julia acknowledges that it is normal to perhaps get a little skittish about our art. (Maybe that’s why everyone has gotten so quiet?) As we recover our creativity, we begin to come up with actual art, and it all becomes more real to us. Now what? Well, we’ll have to start doing what artists do, namely, negotiate the ups and downs of, not just the creativity, but what we do afterwards. Like getting agents, signing deals, finding audiences, and so on.
This does not mean that you now have to make a living and survive on your creative output. That would put a lot of inappropriate pressure on your baby artist self. But as you begin to take your work seriously, you are going to naturally start wanting to share it. And this can be scary.
Using yesterday’s metaphor of the skittish colt, can you see why this chapter is called “Recovering a Sense of Compassion?” The only way to coax your bruised, easily spooked artist self into going through the paces of a serious, competent creative is to lavish lots of love and patience on him or her.
Ask for help if you need it. Julia points out that our ego wants to go it alone and be self-sufficient, but we must learn to ask for help anyway. If you have the book, she then goes on to cite an absolutely marvelous example of how one man’s first project was “savaged” by the feedback of a once-gifted, now-blocked teacher. For five years, the man ignored his devastation, and just resolved to forget his dream.
But once he broke down, grieved, and owned how important that dream had been, he found the courage to ask for help. And he got it, in a nearly miraculous way. I encourage you to read the details for yourself.
“In order to work freely on a project,” Julia writes, “an artist must be at least functionally free of resentment (anger) and resistance (fear). What do we mean by that? We mean that any buried barriers must be aired before the work can proceed. The same holds true to any buried payoffs to not working. Blocks are seldom mysterious. They are, instead, recognizable artistic defenses against what is perceived (rightly or wrongly) as a hostile environment.
“Remember, your artist is a creative child. It sulks, throws tantrums, holds grudges, harbors irrational fears. Like most children, it is afraid of the dark, the bogeyman, and any adventure that isn’t safely scary. As your artist’s parent and guardian, its big brother, warrior and companion, it falls to you to convince your artist it is safe to come out and (work) play.”
Next week, if enough folks seem to wish to continue, I’ll have some questions we can work with, that Julia promises will help us blast through our blocks.
Thanks for your help.