Expanding and contracting reality

Friday 16 May 2008

At root, as artists, we have an obligation to make art. Art is what fulfills our deepest natures. Art is what gives our life a sense of godliness and right direction. Art is what we make so that at the end of each day we can say, "At least I made X today," and feel some satisfaction. There are probably people who are not called to make art. They make their satisfaction from relationships, or some other dutiful labor that speaks to them of mission - family, job, community. For us, as artists, family, job, and community are all served best by our continuing devotion to the muse that calls us to art. After that obligation is fulfilled, all others cheerfully follow. Until that obligation is met, everything else is forced, empty, grudging.

Julia Cameron, The Sound of Paper

I forget this regularly. Because it seems too good to be true. Because it has been deferred for so long in me that it has made my heart sick. Because the synapses in my brain aren't wired deeply enough for it to be a habit (except for blogging). Because there is some silliness within me that thinks I don't 'deserve' it. Even though I don't believe that for a second, I think I must, on some deep level, and that silliness informs my nonaction. How silly that silliness is, and hopefully sometime soon I can cast it off like a useless piece of nothing, and continue on.

Because whenever I do 'make art', whatever that may be - at the moment it's collages and writing and poetry and a bit of drawing but I feel all these other unknowns bubbling under the surface - it's like time contracts outwards. All the things I've allowed to niggle at me, the shopping that needs to be done, the dishes, the whatever, they all come into line as soon as I have got creative. And it is so easy to not do it and that is what is so frustrating at times.

I don't think it's called following your bliss for nothing. Our paths often seem too good to be true, and that is why we don't take them.


  1. Wow.

    You know, I'm only now beginning to realize how for so long I let my creative side die to support all the other parts of life that needed attention, and it makes me so sad to think not only of the time lost, but of the...oh how to say it...what I've lost in my abilities and the creative impulses and synapses and the innateness of creativity that is no longer in me. I long for who I was when I was 17...in the creativity department when I went to writers conferences and had English teachers who believed in me and when I won awards.

    Now I have to work at it...way more than before. I have to start doing some purposeful freewriting. I don't, and I miss it.

  2. Mate, I agree. I think about my lost 20s and how, if I had channelled all that creativity into art and writing instead of a bong, how I would have something better to show for it and a more mature and developed creativity.

    But dude, the well is SO deep, and you are a talented writer, and the vista is so wide before you even if you can't see it. I heartily recommend The Artist's Way if you want to reclaim some of that path. Good stuff.

    But it never ceases to amaze me how it is that the way we live actively discourages us from being creative. IT's like having to hang onto it with both hands and it kinda scares me how purposeful I have to be about it, while at the same time be playful. It's all quite mind boggling actually :)

  3. I took an Artist's Way course last year in a group setting. It was quite interesting, but I've not gone back to the book since, even though I found Julia Cameron to be very inspiring.

    I was wondering if the artwork you use here on your blog is yours?

  4. Marie, it's very edifying stuff but definitely needs to be undertaken at the right time.

    No, none of this artwork is mine, unfortunately. Maybe one day, but not yet. If you click on the art it will take you to the DeviantArt website.


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