Friday, January 23, 2009
I am an avid journaler, have been for a number of years after reading Julia Cameron's "The Artist's Way". Before I started writing in journals I would sometimes sit writing installments in a long letter to my best friend and I noticed that every time I let myself loose in the stream of my thoughts answers and inspiration for use elsewhere would present themselves. So, when I read about 'morning pages' in "The Artist's Way" I figured such a journal would be the way to capture all those gems on a daily basis.
My best friend still receives letters from me, and I from her - her husband says he really admires the way we persist with our epistles in these days of email - but my journal has become an ocean of consciousness, no mere stream! These notebooks, I often think to myself, would be a psychiatrist's wet dream. When the trickle of inspiration became a river I decided I had better find a way to set up a catalog or index so that nothing would fall through the cracks. There is nearly always lag time between the moment inspiration strikes and the moment I formally begin a project, with periods of illumination of details sandwiched between those moments.
To catch all these moments of inspiration and illumination I have begun to cull through the pages and note entries on my desk calendar. This exercise is usually how I occupy myself on road trips to Virginia with my husband or in other oddments of time.
Yesterday I came across an entry which illustrated dramatically the service art provides in my life as I pursue my creativity. The entry is dated September 7, 2008, only one week after I had launched my first blog, with the first post inspired in part by William Butler Yeats' poem "The Circus Animals' Desertion". Here is an excerpt from that entry:
" ... I hate it when I get testy ... As I wrote that ... I realized that perhaps the way to counter this feeling is to just keep returning to that warehouse in Melissa's dream.
"I must admit that the landscape of that dream is where I feel comfortable. You know, it feels honest. Is that strange? I don't mean it to be, but there, there among the discarded things, the broken things, "the sweepings of a street", for me in this time it is one of the few places that feel honest to me!"
Even now, over four months later, when I consider those words I know I hit the mark. There is no pretense in an abandoned place, a forgotten place, filled with abandoned, forgotten things and people if such places are occupied at all. There is no pretense about piles of refuse and decaying structures. Stripped of pretense and lacking artifice such places hold for me "heart mysteries there".
Now here I must note a paradox: I arrived at these heart mysteries in this forgotten place stripped of artifice - through artifice. With ingenuity, inventiveness, I found sanctuary.
Artifice practiced as creativity leads to what is honest, and what is honest is all we need to change the world.