February 19, 2008

Entering the Nebula

Over the weekend, I began reading The Artist's Way, A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity (Julia Cameron). My friend Leo has been telling me about this program for a few months and I couldn't make up my mind whether I was willing to check it out or not. I tend to shy away from anything that could be classified as "New Age" or "self-help". I'm just too much of a cynical pragmatist for most of that stuff. But various things that Leo told me about this really struck a chord. So when I happened to see a copy one day when we were in a nifty used bookstore in Baltimore, the moment spurred and I added the book to my purchase.

Unfortunately, it then sat on my desk for weeks while I went through my recent brain-dead "my job sucks and kittehs turned my brain to mush" period. As much as the idea of it appealed to me, it sounded like work and that made me apprehensive because I am, after all, a natural-born sloth. Over this past weekend, though, I finally dragged the book out to Shaharazade's with me and began reading through it.

Within the first two pages of the introduction, Cameron snagged me. She begins by discussing how The Artist's Way is a spiritual path to unblocking our natural creativity and this, of course, requires references to that word I have such issue with: "God". She immediately acknowledges, though, that many people might have these issues and encourages an open mind:

Remind yourself that to succeed in this course, no god concept is necessary. In fact, many of our commonly held god concepts get in the way. Do not allow semantics to become one more block for you. (Right there, she spoke directly to me)

When the word God is used in these pages, you may substitute the thought good orderly direction or flow. What we are talking about is a creative engergy. God is useful shorthand for many of us, but so is Goddess, Mind, Universe, Source, and Higher Power... The point is not what you name it. The point is that you try using it. For many of us, thinking of it as a form of spiritual electricity has been a very useful jumping-off place.

Aaahh, I can handle that. Bless her for getting that out of my way right off the bat. From that point on, I had my highlighter out and was dog-earing pages left and right. From there, she moves into describing the tools of the program, the first of which is referred to as morning pages. The idea is to sit down first thing every morning and write three pages of stream-of-consciousness for the purpose of clearing out the mental cobwebs. This writing becomes both a meditation and an opportunity for the right brain (the artistic side) to get a little exercise. The morning pages are a place to confront our internal Censor (our left brain) and come to terms with it, to let the Censor know that, as much as we appreciate it's efforts to protect us from shame and ridicule, we're ready to chance those things for the sake of allowing our artistic side a creative release.

I, of course, have yet to actually do any morning pages, but I'm working up to it. Really, I am.

Also, of course, reading this stuff immediately triggered the Incubus connection. That band has come to represent to me the epitomy of creativity. The five of them seem to continuously be creating some form of art, from Mike Einzinger's orchestral work-in-progress, to Ben Kenney's solo albums and recent tour with bandmate Chris Kilmore, to Jose Pasillas' painting... to Brandon Boyd. What does Brandon not do, artistically? The man sings, obviously, and writes the wonderful poetry that is Incubus' song lyrics. But the guy also plays a mean djembe, as well as a bit of guitar (admittedly badly); paints and draws; snaps great photos; and writes. In addition to creating albums and touring with Incubus, he's participated in at least one art show and has produced two books of artwork and journalistic scribblings. It wouldn't be at all surprising to see him turn next to acting or even something as far-fetched as interpretive dance. I imagine Brandon as a living, breathing conduit just crackling with that creative spiritual electricity that Julia Cameron says courses through all of us. As such (and I've said this before), he's a tremendous inspiration. He embodies for me the full potential of the artistic right brain, and will likely serve as my muse as I progress through the nebula that is The Artist's Way.


Do you enjoy your sight inside?

Disconnect and let me drift
Until my upside down is right side in
Society must let the artist go
To wander off into the nebula

Wander off into your nebula, see your nectarine of
Multiplicity cum like orgasmatron on overdrive
Wander off into your nebula, your tangerine of
Electricity is ripe and on the vine, so pick your prize

In little black book do I confide...

Upon return, I conjure what was seen
I let it pulse and boil within my limbs
I lay my pencil to the porous page
And let my lunatic indulge itself

Wander off into your nebula, see your nectarine of
Multiplicity cum like orgasmatron on overdrive
Wander off into your nebula, your tangerine of
Electricity is ripe and on a vine, so pick your prize!

1 comment:

Jim said...

Wow. Trippy blog, K, in a good way. Interesting, and a good reading list. Thanks for dropping in at Unholy Rouleur and commenting, and for complimenting. See you out on the road some time.