I have many back burners, so many that I can’t remember them all until the familiar notes play again, or a picture or a color reminds me of what is under the lid on that saucepan on the back burner. And sometimes I forget what was there and it just blows away in an unfulfilled state.
A few months ago I had one of these convergences. Several people whom I admire for their creative pursuits mentioned the very same book for its helpfulness to them in understanding their creative drive. In the space of a few days, at least 3 different people mentioned this book, The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron. I know one of them was Sue at Mouse Notebook. I believe one was Susan Branch who is always telling me (kindly) to get off my duff and do something creative. And I can’t remember for sure but I think the other one was Stephanie Levy at Artists Who Blog. I am mad at myself for forgetting what those harmonic chords were that led me to go out and buy the book.
But I did. I acted on it and I paid money to make it a concrete plan, even though it had to go on the back burner until after camp. When everything was going to settle down. So I have the book even though I’ve only read the Table of Contents.
It happened again. Just this week. A harmony of suggestions and possibilities that I heard, that got loud enough to attract my attention. But I can’t remember what I was thinking or reading that made my mind turn the way it did. I am so mad at myself for not being able to reconstruct the alleyway that brought me here. Even last night at dinner I was able to tell Ron about what inspired me to sign up for an art course.
Maybe it was this from Ann Somerset Miles’ blog:
Or maybe it was Stephanie Levy saying this that made me so crazy jealous to create:
12 Countries in 12 Months.
For one In just a few days, I am beginning a new art + travel project called year, I will take a trip each month to a new city in Europe where I'll be making photos and sketches, collecting ephemera, and documenting my journey by creating mixed media artwork and illustrated journals.
Or perhaps it was this course description in another blog from Stephanie that made my ears prick up and my heart beat faster:
“Topics will include:
- believing in your creative dreams
- pushing through your fears and developing your self-confidence
- celebrating prosperity and earning money with your artwork
- increasing your financial abundance by creating multiple income streams
- using the internet as a way to stretch and grow your career as an artist
- creating artwork without inhibition and how to avoid getting stuck
- ditching procrastination for more creative play and practice
- nurturing your body and soul to increase your creativity
- avoiding burnout and promoting balance in your life
- finding positive support for your work and building a network
- connecting and collaborating with others to energize your creative business
- creating daily adventure and making your life more interesting
- expanding your horizons and finding your unique role in the world
- developing practical strategies for time management for busy women
- and much more! “
Or maybe it was just a composite of everything that has come my way from all the creative blogs I read, to my own yearning for expression.
In any event, I have decided to take a sabbatical from my normal, helter-skelter life and look seriously into my creative life. I don’t know what it means at the moment, exactly, or if I will in fact produce anything that brings me joy or money or brings anything of consequence to the world. The sabbatical aspect means that
1) I am not going to fill all my time with other people’s agendas. I will not be selfish, but I will be setting boundaries (I hope) on my time and energy.
2) I will set aside hours for the purpose of addressing back burner ideas and impulses.
3) We will not have international students living here this year, not so that I can be lazy but so I can give concentrated time to producing.
4)I will actually thoughtfully read The Artist’s Way and do the exercises it prescribes at the pace it recommends. I will journal, sketch, and pay attention to this drive in me.
5) I will follow through on my ideas, even if they don’t work. I hope I will keep following past the point of discouragement to the breakthrough of success.
6) I will take the e-course on Creative Courage and see where that leads me.
7) I will address all the stockpiled back burner issues for which I have already purchased paints, fabrics, patterns, or taken up storage space in my basement or craft room.
8) I will find that listening to the music of my life will bring me a quietness and satisfaction that I am missing currently.
9) I will plan little field trips to enjoy nature and art forms which will refresh and energize me, even if it’s just down the road or to a garden or toward the beach.
10) I will not sacrifice other significant relationships for this cause, such as my husband or my children or my God. I will also have time with them.
I am very excited about this turning point. Calling it a sabbatical gives me the sense of permission I need to do things a little differently. I hope I am able to maintain my purpose; being in a class will help.
We are going camping this next week. I am taking my camera and a sketch pad to be ready for what comes!