I. know that Julia’s description of the road hazard of fame doesn’t resonate with many of us. That word, I think, conjures up pictures of rock stars and Hollywood; interviews on Oprah, paparazzi, screaming fans and stalkers. And few here (I would guess) seek that kind of oversized glory.
But fame comes in many shapes and sizes. While I suspect few of us would be susceptible to the desire for huge fame, the longing to be a standout among our peers, or basking in some smaller, more selective glory can still be a dangerous temptation.
While it is only fair to get credit where credit is due (and there is rarely enough of this), when it comes to our art, it is a slippery slope from honest recognition and pleasurable validation to the bottomless pit of jealousy and insecurity. As artists, we imperil our integrity when such needs gain ascendance.
Julia diagnoses this peril as a need for love and recommends several techniques for meeting our needs by ourselves. She recommends lavishing attention on our inner artist, like by sending ourselves fan mail, or spending extra quality time in the studio. These are helpful and fun, and I recommend them. But I think that there is a more direct, long-term answer.
It seems to me that the better, more permanent solution is to reframe what our creativity is about, in exactly the terms that Elizabeth Gilbert talked about in Sunday’s video. It is, in fact, something that Julia also frequently makes a point of, but in this case seems to have forgotten.
It is this: We are not the genius, we have a genius – our daemon, our Muse, a “divine attendant spirit,” that guides and gives us the creative magic that enables us to produce something for the world.
It is time to be honest (and much healthier!) and admit what sometimes the audience and artist both recognize – that this isn’t at all about me or you, it’s “Olé!”
True confession time: I know that some folks who have come to my blog looking for a Spell A Day, or essays on magick, have been sort of disappointed, even bored, with this year of The Artist’s Way. But! One of the biggest reasons I have been interested in working through it here on my magical blog is that I know most of my readers are very open to alternative kinds of consciousness, non-mainstream spirituality, and yes, acceptance of Mysterious Other Beings who might be involved in our lives.
This puts you and me, as aspiring artists and creatives, in the most unique and favorable position of just about anybody in Western culture. It is an easy step for us to cultivate our genius without fear of the toxic side-effects we see so often in the mainstream culture. Because our genius is not us; it is Other + us.
Many of us are already very comfortable working with daemons, allies, Guardians, and the Fae (to name a few). Many reading here day after day already know that they are co-creating other parts of their lives in harmony with the Divine. We, more than anyone out there, can risk complete surrender to Creator because we are experienced in such things and do it all the time!
So why not our art? If we consider that our creativity, like our magic, comes from Sources that know us, give us protection, wisdom and blessings, our fundamental idea of art can change. Without fear, we can let it soar unfettered. The response of our public (adoring or not) is nothing compared to the exquisite conversation we are having with our Guidance.
We need only to know it.