|Walking in this World, Chapter One
||[Jan. 11th, 2008|09:31 pm]
At the end of 2007, one of the quilters I respect on the About.com forums asked if anyone was interested in doing the artist’s workbook, Walking in this World. It’s a 12 week (one chapter per week) workshop sort of book designed, so it says, to jump-start your creative impulse if it is stalled, or let it flow more smoothly if not. A brief review of the sample pages on Amazon didn’t look too.. er, flakey (some of the ‘advice for artists’ books out there are a bit woo-woo for me) so I said: “sign me up!”
So as part of the process, we’re to do a weekly evaluation of how things went.
Morning Pages: The book recommends writing three pages of stream of consciousness writing as soon as you roll out of bed. There is, in fact, a little contracty-thing at the beginning of the book so that you can commit to this and the other exercises required on a weekly basis in writing.
These went surprisingly well. On the days that I was not swamped with events, it was easy to write three pages. Things I learned: writing three pages a little at a time over the day doesn’t work for me; writing in the evening, not so good; writing with people coming and going/the TV on is a no go; and, even with a good pen my hand cramps at about page two. The only day that I didn’t manage at least 2.5 pages was the one where I was trying to write at the quilt guild meeting in between saying hi to folks trickling in. One page and I surrendered to the process of the meeting.
Insights? Yes, some, mostly related to my personal life. What really struck me with these pages was the sense of purpose? motivation? that I felt. I don’t know about jump-starting creativity, but I certainly felt overall much more productive going through my days. I suspect this is the morning pages doing what they are supposed to do: clear out the clutter and give cleaner vision for the rest of the day.
Artist’s date: Again, a weekly requirement. An hour-long trip: “Go do something your inner artist will respond to,” to paraphrase. Whether that’s a trip to the craft store or the library or the local art gallery or someplace else is left to you. Mine was more or less serendipitous. My friends and I bugged out of the guild meeting early, and as it was about an hour before lunch (usually the meetings break up at lunchtime) elected to meet at a local quilt shop. Well, right next to the quilt shop is a bead store. I went in to get a flyer about the yoga sessions they offer (odd, I know) and was seduced by the full wall display of seed beads. I spent quite some time perusing them and buying a few to use in beading blown eggs (something I used to enjoy years and years ago.) Then as a follow-up, went to the craft store and got a book that should be titled “everything you wanted to know about beading but were afraid to ask.” It even includes the style of beading I used to do, back in the day. (I didn’t know it was actually a style!)
Weekly walks: Walk at least once a week, for as long as it takes your brain to unkink. The gorgeous weather in our area made this one a breeze midweek. I learned that thirty minutes is about right for brain-dekinking, that I am sadly out of shape, and that I’d like to go walking more often. Good intentions were no substitute for action, but at least once a week is the requirement and that’s what I got.
Those are the exercises for every week of the journey. Beyond that, there are “tasks”, short assignments for each chapter. I got two of the three tasks in the chapter done this week before my check-in date of today. The last one, rest and imagine for fifteen minutes, I think should result in a nice nap. I plan to try it on Saturday.
The second task, make a list of ten positive (I missed that little word on the first reading and was glad to see it on the second read-through before I did the list!) attributes and use it to write an ad for yourself, generated this:
Artistic, detail-oriented quilter seeks like-minded community. Trustworthy and loyal. Dextrous fingers and keen close-sight* a plus for finicky projects!
*I’m severely near-sighted and have always regarded it as a blessing rather than a curse. Taking off my glasses lets me do the finest stitching with ease!
There’s the weekly report. I had fun this week and am looking forward to next week. I did get more creative stuff done than I have in the past. So, it must be working. Next week I am debating posting in smaller chunks throughout the week. This is quite a missive. Thank you to those kind readers that made it this far, to: