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Do you have a favorite item of clothing? A piece of jewelry that's special or that you really like? Wear it today, for no special reason, because you like it.

Did you do your morning pages today?
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For this task, you'll need:

A stack of magazines (10 or more) that you don't mind cutting up, if you can get them
Other image sources, as available
Scissors (optional)
Glue, tape, or other adhesive
A big sheet of newspaper, butcher paper, cardboard or posterboard

Set aside twenty or thirty minutes and grab up any images from the magazines or whatever that reflect your life or interests. Include your past, present, future, and dreams. It's also ok to include images you just like. Pull them out until you have a stack of at least twenty images. Then arrange them in any way that pleases you on the big paper or posterboard or whatever.

You can add to your collage in the future, including other images and themes as they occur to you. Cameon suggests that you give it a place of honor ("Even a secret place of honor is all right") and make a new one every few months.

Last time I tried to work through this workshop, this is the point at which I said, "You know what? I don't want to make another damn collage about my hopes and dreams, I want to write a damn story." So I went and worked on a story instead. That's ok, too.

Did you do your morning pages today?
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Go to a good place where you can "savor the silence and healing solitude," or just be alone with the world for a while. Cameron suggests "a church, synagogue, library, grove of trees[. . .] or a great aquarium store"

Experiment with different places and see which ones work for you. If you can't get to a good place for whatever reason, try to make space around yourself for a little while with breathing, music, meditation, scent, or whatever works.

Did you do your morning pages today?
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I'm still on a work trip & still in Busy Mode, but yesterday I had a small amount of free time, so I made a valiant attempt to wander around a little and *gasp!* do some writing. As a direct result of my meanderings, I lost my phone. If I believed in a responsive universe that used events to send messages, I think the message of today would be, "Never try to write, or you will lose work-related objects and have to pay to replace them."

It's a good thing I don't believe that.

Anyway, today's task: Create one wonderful smell in your living space. Burn a candle, bring in some fir branches, bake some bread, cook something aromatic. Be sure to make it a smell you especially like, not necessarily a smell you think other people will like.

Did you do your morning pages today?
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One of the things Cameron suggests for this week: Take some time to listen to one side of an album, or around 20 minutes of music, just for the pleasure of it. Draw as you listen, if you like. Notice how twenty minutes can refresh you. Call it a mini artist date, and start taking them every now and again to counter stress and produce insight.

Did you do your morning pages today?
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Cameron suggests that you make this phrase a mantra, or motto if you don't do mantras: Treating myself like a precious object will make me strong.

I'm not super-keen on being an object, even to myself (how does that work?) and didn't much feel like having Gollum's voice in my head all day anyway, so I encourage you to adjust this phrase to better suit what actually makes you strong.

Cameron's idea here is that we think that being hard on ourselves will make us strong, but sometimes it just smashes and bruises us. Sometimes being kind to ourselves makes us strong. I agree with this even though I have trouble living by it. But I can't really jump on board with "precious object."

If you have a phrase that works for you, watercolor or crayon or calligraph your phrase and post it where you will see it daily. You can be as hard on Cameron as you want to this week, but go easy on yourself.

Did you do your morning pages today?
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This week's topics are perfectionism, risk, and jealously, and the importance of listening.

N.B.: In the spirit of overcoming perfectionism, I will be publishing this weekly post in its original unedited form, as I wrote it while waiting in an airport at 3 AM. I hope it makes sense but if it doesn't, that's a risk I'm willing to take. See what I did there? Woooooooooo. . . .

Perfectionism! )

Risk!! )

Jealousy!!! )

Cameron likes the idea that our creative works are waiting for us out in the world and we can reach up and bring them down like we would pick maybe an orange or a peach. She calls our attention to directional metaphors: getting things down as opposed to making them up. There's the apocryphal Michelangelo thing where the statue is inside the marble and all you have to do is chip it out.

I have mixed feelings about this approach but it's ok, I guess. But you do have to chip it -- it isn't going to bust out all on its own. That's the point, maybe.

There's also some stuff about searching your childhood some more for people who supported and failed to support you; maybe these activities are relevant to you and maybe not. If I were Julia Cameron's sleep-deprived editor I would call her up RIGHT NOW and tell her she needs to come up with some alternative activities because the degree to which Childhood Emotional Archaeology is useful is going to vary a lot from person to person.

This concludes a thing I wrote while sleep-deprived! Take that, perfectionism!

Don't forget to go on a date with your artist sometime this week and do your morning pages every day!
alexconall: the Pleiades (Default)
Wear your favorite item of clothing for no special occasion.

Did you do your morning pages today?
alexconall: the Pleiades (Default)
Create one wonderful smell in your house. Burn a scented candle, bring in a bowl of potpourri, cook something aromatic.

Did you do your morning pages today?
alexconall: the Pleiades (Default)
Take some time to listen to one side of an album or half a CD, just for the pleasure of it. Notice how twenty minutes can refresh you. Call it a mini artist date, and start taking them every now and again to counter stress and produce insight.

Did you do your morning pages today?
alexconall: the Pleiades (Default)
Make this phrase a mantra: Treating myself like a precious object will make me strong. Watercolor or crayon or calligraph this phrase and post it where you will see it daily. We tend to think, says Cameron, that being hard on ourselves will make us strong, but it is cherishing ourselves that gives us strength.

Did you do your morning pages today?
alexconall: the Pleiades (Default)
With courage you will dare to take risks, have the strength to be compassionate and the wisdom to be humble. Courage is the foundation of integrity. —Keshavan Nair

Cerebration is the enemy of originality in art. —Martin Ritt

Cameron has several topics this week:

Michelangelo, rumor has it, said he found David in a marble block and cut away the stone until he got David out. NaNoWriMo has many people who go in either planning and [seat-of-the-]pantsing, and many of the planners get their best bits from spur-of-the-moment inspiration. "The brush takes the next stroke." Art is in many ways about finding the ideas that are already out there in the creative ether and making them reality.

Cameron describes perfectionism not (explicitly not) as 'getting it right', 'fixing things', or 'having standards'. She says instead that perfectionism is getting stuck in the details and losing sight of the whole. Writing and rewriting and rewriting one line of a poem. Redrawing a line on a portrait until the paper tears from overuse. Writing scene one so many times that the rest of the work never happens. The first draft is the final draft, and must be a final draft. The perfectionist, Cameron says, is never satisfied. Never finished. Well, art is never finished—"it simply stops in interesting places," said Paul Gardner. And at some point you have to let it go and call it done.

Usually, Cameron says, when we say we can't do something, we mean we won't do it unless we know we'll be able to do it perfectly. It doesn't help that we compare our first steps to record-holding sprinters and marathoners, that we do not acknowledge that to do something well we must first do it badly. But often with taking risks, she says, if you win, you win, and if you lose, you win. Challenging oneself and meeting the challenge is empowering, and that empowerment helps one to set and meet further challenges. Complete this sentence: "If I didn't have to do it perfectly, I would try..."

An exercise: Name three people you are jealous of and say in as much detail as you can exactly why you are jealous of them. Then write something you can do to get some of whatever it is they have that you're jealous of. If you're jealous of somebody who's written an excellent novel, try writing one yourself, for example. Jealousy, Cameron says, is a way of disguising fear, often fear that there's not enough of whatever the other person has for you to have some too. But there's always more out there, and a good way to get some is to acknowledge that you want it and take a first step towards getting it.

Don't forget to go on a date with your artist sometime this week and do your morning pages every day!

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Twelve-week creativity workshop!

August 2014

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