Monday, December 29, 2008

What Price Creativity?

I belong to a group of women who are making a conscious effort to perfect their "art". We meet several times a month - twice to create art and twice to talk about it. We have done beading, painting, drawing, making Christmas ornaments and it's amazing what you can produce during three or four hours of concentrated effort. I know nothing about beading, for example, but the hanging I made - which now lives in our sunroom - brings a smile to my face every time I see it.

We're working through a book called The Artist's Way, by Julia Cameron. We read a chapter every two weeks, follow the instructions and do the exercises. Then we get together and talk about anything the process brings up. I'll admit I was hesitant to join in at first. I've seen the book for years at bookstores and libraries, and I never once wanted to pick it up. But I couldn't turn down the chance to get together with a bunch of creative women and talk about things on a regular basis.

It sure has been interesting so far. Each week seems to peel back a layer until we're not talking about creativity anymore - we're talking about life with a capital "L"; the big, scary stuff that you don't tell anyone. It is meaty and good, and it's what my soul has been crying out for. It's about time to process some of these things.

So this week I was pleased to snuggle down in bed and read our latest chapter, when a section title leaped out that scared me to death: Reading Deprivation.

Reading deprivation. Is she serious?

Apparently she is. "For most artists, words are like tiny tranquilizers. We have a daily quota of media chat that we swallow up. Like greasy food, it clogs our system. Too much of it and we fell, yes, fried. It is a paradox that by emptying our lives of distractions we are actually filling the well."

Okay. Sure. By all means, let's fill the well. I have officially been reading deprived for eight hours. Sort of. I just read that paragraph. And I did read aloud to the kids. So shoot me.

But I didn't read any other books, magazines, cookbooks or online websites since 11 am. And I won't for the rest of the week. That really is deprivation for me.

As for creativity, well...I sorted and cleaned out all my kitchen shelves, caught up on some work and made a flower fairy with my daughter:

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