Saturday, 14 July 2012

Unblocking the Drains

No, I haven’t had to call in the plumber, and despite the fact my internal workings are not exactly what they should be, it’s the journey of the unblocking of my mind on which I’ve had to yet again set out. As the title of my blog attests, the desire is to write, not just any old stuff, but something worthy of being read by those other than myself, and lately the S bend has become clogged. Nothing was making its way past that blockage, no amount of metaphorical Draino was having any effect.

For some reason I find the structure of a writing course or writer’s group rather handy, for it keeps me on my toes, spurs me on to keep producing, but when not in this construct for an extended period of time the self doubt takes over once again, apathy becomes the norm, self flagellation the response for not picking myself up and motoring on. Not literally of course, don’t have any cat o’ nine tails hidden in the wardrobe, but the mind can play all sorts of tricks to trip you up when the dream seems all but unattainable.

So, in this past week I’ve joined a small group doing The Artist’s Way, a 12 part course written by Julia Cameron in discovering and recovering your creative self. We’re a mixed bunch covering several artistic pursuits, music, dance, glass sculpting, singing, painting, crafts and writing. The very fact we’re not all chasing the same specific dream is going to be helpful, for we will all have different experiences from which to draw to bring to our discussions. The process however of releasing our creativity will have its similarities, delving deeper internally to discover what brings us joy, to what helps us tap into our dreams so our authentic selves can be expressed in whatever form, at the same time as identifying those things which prevent us from doing that.

For me it will be something of a spiritual journey, for the basic tools used during the course will I know bring me to those moments and places where I am confronted with the most basic questions. Who am I? What am I doing here? What and who do I want to be? Do I have something worthwhile to say or do in my little corner of the world?

The first basic tool is Morning Pages, 3 pages every day of whatever you can write, whether you’re feeling inspired or believing this whole thing is a waste of time. Stream of consciousness writing, letting the pen do its thing, not stopping to think too hard about what you’re doing. Funny thing is, only four days in, and the bare bones I start on page 1 suddenly turns into something much more meaningful by the end of page 3.

The second tool is the Artist Date, taking yourself off somewhere alone to revive your dry tired soul, or spirit, or whatever it is that needs refilling, in order to once again have some internal resources on which to draw. In one sense this activity is not entirely new, for I love taking time to observe the world around me, people, music, art, natural and manmade landscapes, but as much as I appreciate sweeping vistas it is the small details which fascinate me.

Yesterday found me at Cataract Gorge, vastly different from my previous visit when it was in flood last year. Back then it was all turmoil and power and savage beauty, but now, not a ripple on the water, beautiful reflections, but it was the moss and lichen and creepers on the rocks by the side of the path which intrigued me most. Besides writing, photography would have to be my next favourite creative pursuit, and though I’m no expert I do enjoy capturing images which speak to me, fill me with awe and reaffirm my relationship with the creator of this amazing universe.

So, with not even one week into the course gone, I’ve at least plucked up the energy to face the keyboard again and have another go. Whether or not I share anything from my morning pages remains to be seen, but with several photos from the Gorge pasted into my journal along with today’s entry, I’m trusting these next few months will once more kick start my creative juices.