The Artist’s Way
This morning I began something new. Morning Pages. They came at the behest of Julie Cameron, the author of The Artist’s Way, a book that’s been referred to multiple times now in the work I’m doing in the SMU Writer’s Path program.
Morning Pages are simple. You wake up. You grab a pen and you’re then to write out three pages in long-hand about whatever it is that pops into your head. There is no right. There is no wrong. There is no editing. No review. No one, not even yourself, are supposed to read what’s written. The exercise is done purely to free one’s mind of the gunk that’s collected there that’s blocking the way to creative thinking. Pure. Simple. So far, mid-day, it feels like it’s working. At least once I got up from the desk this morning, I felt like I’d left a lot of baggage on the page and emptied it from my mind.
Then came a walk with Maycee. Actually, my Morning Pages contain multiple references to her whining and begging to go out. She’d already been out. So I was compelled to let her on to the porch. Nope. More whining. More writing. More whining. Back inside. Then she went to the front door and rang the Christmas bells that are hanging from the knob. Maycee is now six months old and those bells only were put there last Wednesday. Thursday, the twins, Reagan and Haley, I’m told because I didn’t witness it, trained her to ring the bell with her nose. That she’s learned to do that, I can testify. When she needs to go out and poop, it’s ring, ring, ring.
After a second trip out this morning, I completed my Morning Pages. I didn’t go back and read them. I went on with my day, which now led to another trip to the potty area for dogs, and then Maycee and I left out on our usual morning stroll of at least one-mile’s length before 8 a.m.
Done with that, shaved and showered, I got in the car and headed to meet with my mentor, Ron Rose. You see, I’m at a stuck point in the development of The Privacy Patriots, the novel I’ve been trying to develop over the course of 2014. I gathered up a couple of notebooks I keep working through, grabbed a laptop and iPad and out the door I went, promising to be there by 9.
Traffic on 635 was a mess, so I wound up running parallel to I-30 west until Dolphin Street. Made it through the Canyon and on the other side, began to realize I was actually going to make it to our rendezvous point early. And then the car stalled. It apparently went into “Limp Mode.” A design feature to keep serious damage from happening to the engine.
By 9:20 my car was attached to a tow truck and headed from whence I’d just come, back to Mesquite. By 9:44 a.m., the time OnStar’s people said the truck would be at the spot of origin to get me, we were pulling into the repair shop.
The shop, one I told the tow truck driver I use because it’s so quick, is backed up. They have about three or four jobs in front of mine. So Bruce, the owner of the shop, dropped me here back at home.
And instead of going and talking to my mentor, discussing, hashing and rehashing, God revealed to me another plan.
You see it was yesterday that another now very significant mentor in my life, Author Suzanne Frank, told me to go do something besides trying to work on my book. She said to go trim the tree. (I didn’t write her back and let her know there are already three up.) She said to bake something. But to get away from my book and let my mind wander a bit.
And so I began reading Week One’s section in The Artist’s Way.
When I did all but about three of the first week’s exercises, I turned my chair from the desk, leaned my head back and closed my eyes and said a prayer.
I Am A Brilliant And Prolific Writer
I wrote in a notebook the following sentence:
I, Donald J. Claxton, am a brilliant and prolific writer.
And then I wrote it out again. Eight more times I repeated this function for a total of 10.
And as I wrote, I began to hear little voices saying, “No you’re not.” “You fool.” “If you’re so good, why haven’t you published anything significant yet? Your 49th birthday is Saturday. What the hell have you been waiting for? Lunch?”
I wrote those things down, too.
And then I identified people, “Monsters” the book refers to them, in the past, who might have called me things like that or said things about my writing that was negative. And then I identified positive people and positive things that have been said about my writing.
There are a couple of more exercises I need to do for the first week. And I will do them another day. Tomorrow, I will get up, scribble some thoughts about hopes and prayers the car gets repaired and isn’t going to cost a lot of money, money I don’t have, to get on the road again.
Tomorrow I have a writing class at SMU that I missed in November because of a family tragedy back in Alabama. Now, at the moment, even being there tomorrow night feels like it’s in jeopardy.
But I have to firmly believe as I sit here at this writing and believe that the same God who made sure I took some time today to be still, to think, to not think, to just meditate and breathe in the good and the bad of life, is going to make sure tomorrow works itself out, too. Perhaps if the day had gone some other way, I’d be upset about all this.
Something tells me already today’s first week lesson has already taken hold on my heart.