The Artist’s Way: Weeks 3 and 4
Weeks 3 and 4: Recovering a Sense of Power and Recovering a Sense of Integrity.
Last week was a bit of a scheduling mess, so this time I’ll be writing about two weeks’ worth of TAW.
The Morning Pages and the Artist Dates are a creative cleanse for my spirit. If creativity is like water, then maybe this analogy will make sense: When water is still, it becomes stagnant, and stagnant water becomes spoiled. When water flows, it stays fresh and clear. The MP are the draining of the stagnant water; by writing three pages of stream of consciousness, I’m able to get rid of stale ideas, negative self-image, and thoughts that hold me back. The Artist Dates help me refill that metaphorical river with fresh, clean water. The two tools really do work together.
What surprised me about the past two weeks is that a writing assignment for my Arabic class inspired me revisit a story that I started to write in high school. I never thought I’d finish writing it, but now I think that it would make a very good Young Adult novel, aimed at young women. I re-read the chapters I had written years ago, thinking that they would be terrible, but I was surprised at how sophisticated and well-written they are. And, even stranger, is that I have started writing more of the story in my Morning Pages; it just happens. I’m writing and writing and BAM. Scene from the story is out on the page. The process is really quite amazing. The hardest part is trusting it.
Last week for my Artist Date I took myself to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which has always been a place of endless inspiration for me. I brought my sketchbook just in case, and as I took my time observing each tank, each creature, each display, and even the tourists and visitors themselves, I was inspired to sketch a seahorse and a few of the cuttlefish. The cuttlefish seemed just as interested in me as I was in them. Tomorrow I think I’ll visit the Pacific Grove natural history museum for my Artist Date.
The other thing that happened these past few weeks is an interesting realization about what I should study in graduate school. And, again, an assignment in my Arabic class inspired me to return to a period of history that I have always loved, but have never studied enough: Ancient Egypt’s New Kingdom. Sometimes I wonder what it’s like to have just a few academic interests, because I have so many!
These past two weeks I’ve realized that the hardest parts of being creative, at least for me, are: 1) the feeling that whatever it is I’m creating isn’t good enough. Good enough for whom, I have no idea. And 2) the feeling that whatever I’m creating isn’t sophisticated or “grown-up” enough. Like, somehow, after we reach 18 we’re no longer allowed to dream or make up fairy tales or play make-believe, but make-believe was my favorite childhood game.
But, really, why can’t we play make-believe as adults?