I recently picked up Julia Cameron's 'The Artist's Way' again. Why? Because I am blocked, totally blocked. Yes, I'm supposed to be an artist and I haven't produced one piece of work in 7 months. Whew! Felt good to get that off my chest!
While working the 'The Artist's Way' program (a series of exercises that make creativity a regular part of life), things are bound to come up. As Cameron describes it, there are stages of giddiness, anger, resistance, sorrow, and, if you finish, eventual rebirth into a more creative and whole person. I am scared of this. I am scared that this will change my life and I will have more creativity, produce work, express myself, and in doing so, radically change the life-long frustrated-artist paradigm that has given me addictive highs and lows for as long as I can remember. I am afraid, crazy as it sounds, that this will be my Marxist Utopian end of history - the fruition of my dreams heralding the terminus of my existence.
But that approach is not sustainable, so I'm attempting what Cameron refers to as a creative recovery - making the spirit whole again by letting creativity flow uninhibited. It's no easy task. As with any type of recovery, this one won't be linear, simple, or comfortable. However, unlike recovery from substances from which you withdraw, creative recovery means withdrawing to yourself, excavating dreams buried under perceptions of a harsh, flat, critical reality that says, "You're not good enough!" "No one takes art seriously!" "It's too late!" "I'm just not a creative person." "If I can't be Van Gogh, what's the point?"
I find it unbearably frustrating to call myself an artist but fail to make art of any kind. This block can not win; the longer my silver sheets, canvas, clay, pens, and brushes sit idle, the worse I feel. But it's more than the physical media; the longer my brain sits idle, the worse I feel. I hope that in my little quest to unblock I can not only produce more work, but get this blog updated with some regularity. So for now it's back to the 3 R's - reread, regroup, resume.