10/16/21: The Artist’s Way, Week 7 —- Listening and Connecting #poetry
Julia Cameron’s words are in quotes.
“Art is not about thinking something up. It is about getting something down … instead of reaching for inventions, we are engaged in listening.”
OK, yes, I know. Not an issue for me. This part comes easy. The soul leads. The rational mind applies. I am a much wiser writer than I am a man. I often read my work as if someone else wrote it. I’m not being instructed to say much more about this topic at the moment. I am being told to keep reading.
This state of listening has become not only my way of art, but also my way of life. Forrest Gump and that fucking box of chocolates, not knowing what he is getting. The only thing wrong with Forrest Gump is the stupid part. I’m smart. Someone once saw me in a show and seriously called me an idiot savant. I’m not an idiot. I just know that everything is worthy of serious consideration and reconsideration. That’s the poetic sense. Why keep going on and on about the beauty of some fucking tree? Because our soul and the world are in constant states of transformation and we can see our selves reflected in the world and vice versa. There are infinite depths to everything.
I am a little impatient reading this chapter. This is the easy part for me. Tell me again about where money comes from and how to avoid idiots and assholes, Aunt Julia.
Wondering about listening seems to be for people who want to be artists, and not someone like me who just is one, whether I like it or not. (I like it — love it — but I had periods when I was much younger, my mid-thirties maybe, when I wished I was anything else.)
This section is another perspective on the ideas of synchronicity and abundance. Be open and you get everything that you need, for your creative work, for your life.
She’s writing about perfectionism. Not a problem for me. I’m delighted by everything that I write. That doesn’t mean I won’t edit or re-write. I just think my writing and me are both great. My mother taught me that I was the most wonderful person in the world, and I’ve never forgotten the lesson. Trying to make things perfect seems like wasted effort to me, and those perfect touches rarely seem worth the trouble. I think perfectionism is a form of people pleasing. Look, I’m thrilled if you like me, but there’s nothing that I can do about if you don’t. No, I don’t care about being perfect. I care about being true. Again, so far I don’t think this chapter is written for me. This stuff is for people trying to be artists. I don’t think you can try to be an artist. She says that anyone can learn a more creative life. But not everyone is an artist. It’s useful … the artist’s way can be applied to tother ways, but I don’t think any real artist ever thought about this stuff —- except maybe women and other oppressed people who have to go through forms of revolution and liberation to be able to do anything since they have been kept down for so long. I’m entitled. My entitlement, which I renounce socially and politically — I am repulsed by the idea of any superiority over anyone else — I crave friends and peers not followers and acolytes … but it is useful that I was programmed to think that I am great and deserve the best of everything. I can expect that without taking anything from anybody else. I wish my sense of entitlement to everybody. Babies should be spoiled, and society should fulfill every person’s material needs so that we can all make art or do whatever else is our authentic action and we can glory in each other’s beauty.
Julia is talking about willing to do something badly to get good at it. I’ve always done that. Jump in with both feet, fuck up and jump in again. You have to be willing to fail. It’s not even failing really. It’s called working.
Lawyers are anal — compulsive, fearful and nervous about every move, literary writers are precious regarding their linguistic jewels — that hushed overly enunciated oral presentation style of the academic poetry reading is one of the funniest tings on earth, and improvisers are fucking slobs. Of course I over generalize. Only 95% of each group have those characteristics. Be conscientious to detail, revere beauty in your writing and be loose — and don’t worry about it. And know if you aren’t an artist, and observe the characteristics of an artist’s talents to further develop your conscious skills.
“As blocked artists, we unrealistically expect and demand success from ourselves and recognition of that success from others.”
I have done good shit and been successful, and then have been recognized by others, or denied recognition by assholes and idiots. I recognize myself and I listen, synchronize and tap into abundance to get more recognition from good people, and more inspiration to do good shit. I have often been praised as a risk taker. I deserve it. I go back and forth on this, but I don’t think that I have ever been blocked. I’ve been oppressed when overwhelmed by mean and stupid criticism at times, but that’s all over now. That’s different than being blocked. I kept going. I did lose my faith that I could get recognition from anybody else but myself. That was my problem. It’s a big world, and there are a lot of people who want to love someone like me and what I do. I thought that was the “connection” that Julia was writing about in this chapter, but it seems to be more about connecting to the voice of God. God will lead me to the people meant for me — and gigs, publishers, producers, audiences. He’s already started. (My God is a he because I have a penis.) When you get stuck being around idiots and assholes, you can start believing those groups are all that is. When you let go of them, you let your wounds heal, and then you realize there are great people out there. Then you keep singing. Even alone in your room. And you go out into the world alone. You put yourself out there. And the good vibrations draw you to the people meant for you. That’s part of what putting my writing on a blog is … it’s a message in a bottle. Some people will actually read it. maybe even more importantly, I fill myself with consciousness of who I am and what I see in the world. And when I have an opportunity to connect with someone meant for me — I’m full and ready. They will be too. Everything will be direct, effortless and apparent.
I’m doing this piece like a homework assignment. I want to get it done as fast as possible …
“If you lose you win, if you win you win …”
Right, for example every idiot or asshole that I ever met I engaged with believing that they would be good people. In those losses, I won because I learned more about what idiots and assholes look like. The idiots and assholes taught me how to recognize good people too.
“Jealousy is a map.”
I get it. Jealousy doesn’t make me feel animosity for another person. I know a very nice man who has published 12 books. I saw that factoid and felt jealous. That has nothing to do with him, I’m happy for him. I want to be published and produced. Sometimes I have to separate whether I feel jealous because I am listening to other people regarding what I should want. But it’s not that. I want to be published and produced. I am a much different kind of writer than the nice man, so unfortunately I can’t learn anything practical from his path.
Early in this iteration of my writing life, in the early years of my blogI have shared my ambitions with “successful” assholes who ridiculed the purity of my desires. Hacks and con men. I’m ecstatic. I never have to talk to anyone like that again. I can talk to you!
“Martin Ritt says, ‘I don’t have much respect for talent. Talent is genetic. It’s what you do with it that counts.”
Yes. I take no credit. I am proud of what I have done with it, and continue to do. It’s a process. I’m not a problem to myself.
Next up — Week 8, Recovering a Sense of Strength
Copyright 2021 Richard Thomas