Confession time: I didn’t think when this year began that I’d be able to withstand another year in the Dreaded Day Job. I cried, I begged, I pleaded, I fasted and prayed – and I stayed stuck. It was like fighting with the Tar-Baby – the more I fought the stucker I got (and like the Tar-Baby, He say nuthin’).
Twelve months on, and I’m still at the DDJ, and none of the myriad resignation letters I have composed in thought have yet been set to paper. (A question for any employment lawyers out there: what’s the legal status of an employee who sends in several different resignation letters in one envelope?) But the year has not been wasted.
During the year I have worked through Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. (Although I did miss some exercises due to a bout of
zombieism bronchitis and I did get a couple of months behind at one point.) This has involved fun things like starting a scrapbook, playing with bubbles and making a jester’s hat. Less enjoyably, there was the dire Week Without Reading. Never Again.
While I haven’t been exactly religious in my observance of the ‘basic tools’ of the Artist’s Way – morning pages and Artist’s Dates – I have used them, and found them useful. One of the best things about the Artist’s Way is that it’s adaptable – not everyone has to do it the same way. It’s alter-to-fit, not One Size Fits All (which it never does).
The exercises for Chapter 12 include restorative and expansive tasks like mending something (in my case a summer dress that I can now wear after 18 months in the mending pile) or repotting a plant. I have brought home Bob the Parlour Palm (named after my favourite Simpsons character) and am on the lookout for a larger pot for him.
In the meantime I shall remove the freesia bulbs which ended up in the same pot (long story) and give them a taste of the fridge. For some reason they sprout in autumn, bloom in winter and die off in spring. Are they hemispherically confused?
I dare to dream that bringing Bob home from the DDJ is just the beginning of the longed-for ritual of Cleaning Out The Desk.
I am becoming unstuck. (Not in the two-sandwiches-short-of-a-picnic way. I think.) I wouldn’t say that the Artist’s Way is the key to creative freedom and the solution to all your problems, but it’s helped me push the boundaries of what I thought possible in my life – and to my delight, some of the boundaries give. (Although they do need to be pushed pretty hard…)
I am glad I did the Artist’s Way, and perhaps someday I shall do it again. But for now, I’m going to look back with gladness – and look forward with hope.