Sunday, June 01, 2008

the artist vs the adult

I've been a bit stressed. Probably PMS. Anyway, I've also been laughing a lot. Savie and I have been cracking each other up which is fun and cute. I actually don't laugh a lot for some reason. I'm not sure why. I used to when I was a teenager. Some people really make me laugh. My girlfriends and I laugh together. But I'm not the kind of person that laughs all the time. I do have a sort of satirical sense of humor. I think I need one of those Happy Bunny shirts that says "I'm laughing on the inside."

So I laid outside today on a blanket (I Love being outside. I just want to be out there permanently!) and I was reading The Artist's Way, and some things in Chapter 11 really spoke to me. I was thinking about how I have these two parts of my personality that are sort of in conflict. I have my very free spirit, bohemian, hippie, party girl, flower child, artist, writer, creative side. It likes to hang upside down from the monkey bars, swing super high, stand on my head, spin around and around in circles, do cartwheels, laugh my fool head off, dive with sharks, swim in the ocean, take naps, be lazy, travel around the world and shirk all responsibility. Then there is the very responsible part of me who never misses a deadline, pays all her bills on time, is a perfectionist and control freak, never drinks and drives, gave up smoking and drugs years and years ago and is a bit too lofty about that, works out and obsesses about things.

God just reading that makes me want to wretch. Actually they both are me all the time! That is the weird thing. I am not responsible only part of the time. My inner artist is a very responsible bohemian! Ha ha! That is kind of funny. Even when I'm traveling and being a bohemian adventurer, I'm still paying my bills, meeting my deadlines. Well maybe there is a tiny bit that is sometimes slightly irresponsible, just a tiny wee bit, but any time I do something wrong that responsible nerd reminds me and bugs me until I feel guilty. But there's just a little part of me that feels like the prodigal son and wants to let loose, and go back to my younger days when I didn't really worry so much about responsibility and could just have fun without consequence - or in reality so I thought there were no consequences. There always were. But I just wish for a bit I could have that whole mindset again, and just be wild and free. I have such a free bird living inside my heart and she so struggles with the responsible side. It really kills me sometimes.

So in Artist's Way Chapter 11, Recovering a Sense of Autonomy, it says:

"To a large degree my life is art, and when it gets dull, so does my work."

"As an artist I can literally die from boredom. I kill myself when I fail to nurture my artist child because I am acting like somebody else's idea of an adult."

"To be an artist is to recognize the particular. To appreciate the peculiar. To allow a sense of play in your relationship to accepted standards. To ask the question, 'Why?' To be an artist is to risk admitting that much of what is money, property, and prestige strikes you as just a little silly."

"As artists, we are spiritual sharks. The ruthless truth is that if we don't keep moving, we sink to the bottom and die."

These quotes and the whole chapter spoke to me because it helped me understand WHY I am such a bohemian! There are just some people who are like this -- the cultural creatives! I also came across this quote as I was reading the end of Chapter 10 today, Recovering a Sense of Self-Protection, which spoke to me, "It's a funny thing about life; if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it." - Somerset Maugham.

I also thought today that maybe I would like to start painting again. I am not good at it, but when I was going through a hard time around 2000 I bought some watercolor paints and brushes and M and I used to sit around and paint. Course he ended up being brilliant at it, and I was putzing around so I gave it up. But it was fun, and another way to creatively express, so I am just feeling compelled to maybe pick it up again. Just something to do.

Well since today is the Sabbath that is my excuse to do absolutely no work! I went to church, laid outside and read Artists' Way and now I'm going to go eat some Soy Delicious Peanut Butter Zig Zag (this stuff is divine! but a wee bit too fattening for regular consumption - save for stressful days) and I'm going to watch The Kite Runner! I am almost done with my bobcat article though, then it's on to Biomimicry, then to write a book chapter for Losing My Religion based on my trip to Colorado!! Lots to do...


Anonymous said...

Last summer the kids and I were in NJ at my sister's house with her 3 little ones. We started most days with 1-3 hours of painting. We bought big giant pads of cheap paper and went through several sets of watercolors. It was AWESOME - we came up with beautiful stuff and it was totally mindless! I looked forward to it and I actually continue to paint now and then when I get the urge - mostly cards. It doesn't matter "if you're good at it" - it matters that it feels good to do it! Love ya, Trish

Melanie said...

When you were going through the book the first time, did you do the "artist's date," etc? I'm doing pretty well with the morning pages, but I tried to do an artist date a couple of weeks ago and it was a total disaster:(. I haven't really done one since.

Unknown said...

I did a couple of artist's dates, but to be honest i haven't gotten that into them. I did morn pages religiously for several months (with my group, we're doing 1 chapter per 2 weeks but in these last chapters it's dragged out to 1 chapter in 1 or 1.5 months! We're getting behind...). Now I hardly do morn pages anymore. I didn't stress about doing them 1st thing, I'd just do them whenever and often it was at 2 or 3am when I woudl go to bed - is that morning enough? :) What was your artist date? The travels are like 1 big artist date, and the only real one I did I got a "free makeover" which I've always wanted to do but never had. It was great!

Melanie said...

Well, I wasn't very imaginative....I had a $25 AMEX gift card, so I figured I'd go to Target and buy whatever I figured a writer might want (journals, new pens, whatever). I got there and ended up with floss and a pack of pens and a chapstick. I was so frustrated at my inability to shop that I almost put it all back and just left, but I really needed the floss (how sad is that), so I went ahead and went to the register. And my gift card had expired. After I tried to run in through twice, thus irritating the cashier. The pens are nice, though. So, I've been afraid to try again. I thought about setting up a camp chair outside in the backyard and just sitting out there for a while, maybe reading or writing...I don't know.