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October 18, 2007

artist's way: session 4

by gl. at 2:09 pm

now that it's been a month, some of the initial giddiness has worn off, but at the same time, participants are working hard and really looking forward to meeting every week, rearranging their schedules & childcare to make it to sessions. the energy is almost tangible. there's still some fear about competition and comparison, but so far they've been willing to try new things and supportive of each other. this week there was a lot of talk about the portland open studios tour because participants were so excited to be exposed to new art forms, artists and studios.

this week's art activity was one where you write down every single horrible thing your critic says to you, all the reasons it tells you that you can't write, paint, dance, draw, act, metalsmith, etc. then you highlight the thing that provokes the most emotional reaction and let your hand create a movement based on that emotion. you use that movement to draw a scribble over that page of writing. then you squint & turn it around until you can create something out of it. then you pass it along and other participants contribute to that piece, adding something to it or transforming it to protect you from your critic. this sounds like sort of a silly exercise, but it's amazing to see the transformation, and being able to visibly contribute towards the protection of each other really helps bond the group. though the exercise begins somberly, by the end everyone is smiling in delight and surprise.

this is also the session we begin the ever-popular "media deprivation" exercise for a week, which is one of artist's way's most frustrating and rewarding experiences. no reading, tv, music, radio, movies or *gulp* websites/email for the rest of the week. this is meant to balance out your personal consumption versus production. julia cameron thinks you shouldn't read at all, even if you are a student or you're at work, but i don't think media deprivation is supposed to be a punishment or something that makes things worse for you. so i make exceptions for things which are absolutely essential, situations you don't control, and things that can only happen this week that you have already planned.

the goal is to be conscious. awareness leads to progress. so what this means for me is that i'll scan incoming email to see if it's something that needs to be responded to this week, and if not i'll leave it alone. it means i'll ignore the piling queue of rss feeds demanding my attention daily (though i admit to making exceptions for the blogs of personal, local friends). it means i won't read the rest of the planets this week, a book i totally fell in love with while i was traveling in england. and it means i'll try to be very good about doing more, listening to my own voices and desires instead of relying on the influences of others.

center (power): a well of light bursting through rocks like a volcano. it's surrounded by some stars i bought in england.

music: adam hurst's passages, which i bought immediately upon hearing him play at the 100th monkey opening about a year ago. he also plays on a streetcorner during last thursday on alberta. he's really, really, good.

posted by gl. | October 18, 2007 2:09 PM | categories: artist's way