Wednesday, August 26, 2009

TAW: Checking in Week #1

My first week of The Artist's Way started out with a bang, but ended with rather a whimper. That's okay! Because I feel like I covered quite a bit of territory.

How many days out of the week did you do your Morning Pages? How was the experience for you?

Six out of seven days. I thought I would dread it, but for the most part, I really don't. It helps me wake up, helps me get the chatter out of my head. I noticed that most of the time, I feel energized after I've finished my morning pages. More ready to start the day.

I covered lots of subjects, issues and ideas with my Morning Pages this past week. Sometimes my thoughts went places that really surprised me. I really focused on just writing-- not penmanship or spelling or order or anything else. I tried to just write, write, write. I used up all the ink in my pen, which cracks me up. New pen tomorrow, how long will this next one last?

Did you do your Artist's Date this week? What did you do? How did it feel?

I did do my AD, but for some reason, it was a real challenge. My Censor kept whispering, "Wasteful, indulgent..." So I kept putting it off. Finally did it Monday night and felt it was a complete and utter flop.

I have a fantastic set of watercolor pencils that a friend gave me and I have an uncolored pack of the Major Arcana cards from the tarot (not Rider-Waite, but very similar images) and I've been dying to color them. But for whatever reason, I've been putting it off. So I thought, perfect Artist's Date activity! I lit incense, lit the candle on my desk altar, opened the windows in my craft room so I could listen to the night sounds outside; crickets and the wind rustling the leaves on the trees. I pulled out my cards and my watercolor pencils and sat down.

I had The Fool colored and I wanted to add an "aura" around him, so I experimented with colors and washes on a separate piece of paper until I got the look I was wanting. Then I tried in on my card. I didn't like it. I tried to improve it. Still didn't like it. Realized I was clenching my jaw, had a knot in my stomach, was getting a headache. The Censor kicked in, belittling me. I kept working. Still didn't like it, and now I was afraid it was going to start to look like mud if I kept dinking with it. Decided I should move on to the next card, but at that point, all the joy was out of it for me. Bleaugh. It had been an hour. End of Artist's Date.

However, because it was such a flop, I took myself on another AD today. I guess since Week 2 has officially started, it could count as my AD for this week, but I'm counting it for last week. I decided to explore the public library that's right here in our neighborhood. I've never been there. As a creature of habit, I always forget we have a library close by, and go to the library in our old neighborhood.

I was a little skeptical when I saw how small the library was, but determined to explore. I, of course, gravitated towards the craft and hobby books. First thing I saw were cookbooks. All sorts of cookbooks about making recipes from all over the world. OoOoo! And books on antiques. Ahhh! And gardening! Woo-hoo! Papercrafting, woodworking, weaving, crochet, home decorating, calligraphy... I was getting so excited. How could I have forgotten the veritable treasure trove that is the library?

And then I found books on polymer clay. SQUEE! Not very many, mind you, but just what I was looking for-- "How to Make Clay Characters" by Maureen Carlson, which is on my wishlist. And even better, I found a book I've never seen before, "Create a Polymer Clay Impression" by Sarajane Helm. Just a quick flip through it made me swoony with happiness, all the new ideas to explore! So I renewed my library card and brought some poly clay books home to pore over, drooling. Yeeesssssss. Artist Date #2 was much more satisfactory.

Were there any issues this week that you consider significant to your recovery? Describe them.

I discovered that as a child, my creativity was actually nurtured by my mom and Gram and my teachers. I couldn't really recall any negative voices from childhood. My Censors voices come from people I've known in my adult life. Interesting. Also interesting to realize that those people were all unhappy, negative and mentally unstable people, so their criticism was more about their own misery, and not really about my creativity. Ha!

But the loudest Censor voice is my own. And I'm really not sure where the roots of this voice began. Not from criticism from others. Fear, I think. I think that voice stems from fear... lots more to explore there, and I'm sure it will happen over the next 11 weeks.

My Imaginary Lives:

1) Sea Turtle Rescuer and Rehabber
2) Sculptor
3) Yoga instructor for plus-sized people
4) Forensic Investigator-- specifically, Blood Spatter Analyst
5) Owner of a Therapy Dog-- specifically, a pug named Hobson

Other lives: Professional Organizer, Vet Tech, Art Therapist, Medical Transcriptionist, Belly Dancer, Metaphysical Shop Owner, Tarot Reader, Master Gardener, and a perpetual College Student.

Somehow, I forgot all about working with Week One's affirmations, so I'll be working with those this week. I used to pooh-pooh affirmations, but now I advocate for them. They may feel hokey and fluffy, but I've found they really do work for me. I've successfully used affirmations in the past to help me with anxiety attacks, depression and insomnia. I can't believe I forgot about them this week.

Onward, into Week Two...


Garnet said...

Remember, in the book, she says that you can expect to mess up or otherwise not enjoy your first few AD's because they will feel so different and new to you, not to mention it gives your Censor a wide playground to pick at you the whole time! But it sounds like your second AD was F-U-N! Don't you just love it when that happens? And then, maybe, your next AD can stem from what you discover in those books acquired from Week 1! Like taking your clay to the park and working with it there. But I do hope you'll pick up those water colors and tarot cards and try again soon. It takes practice, or so I'm learning!

I was wondering...are you writing the answers to these book questions in a private journal and then just sharing some of your responses to us readers on your blog? Or are you using your blog as that journal in which to explore your creativity answers? (Sans Morning Pages) Just curious. Typing's soooo much easier for me but I'm trying to handwrite while working with this book as much as I can myself!

I'm scared to join that group! I'm still only halfway through Week 1 and ya'll are already starting Week 2! I feel like I came to school a week late! LOL Do you think that'd be okay? Or no? Be honest. I can totally take it! :)

Michelle Eaton said...

Gald to hear your second AD was so much fun. Going to explore the local library sounds like a great idea. I have never been to ours.

Meredith said...

That was a great check-in. I appreciated reading about your account of your difficulties with the Artist Date. Thanks for the honesty :)

Your list of alternative lives was very unique! It made me want to get to know you more.

Congrats on finishing week one in fine form!

Anonymous said...

A very successful week. I've planned to make the library my artist date for this week, actually I've been meaning to go to the library for some time and so now I have something to give me apush.

A great check in.