When our esteemed editor-in-chief, president of the blog, oh, you know who I mean, when n.k. sent the call out for book reviews, I thought, “Ah, hah! I have the perfect one.” But, attempting to give the reader even a glimpse of the experience proved to be a daunting task. It is not just a book but an author, who changing my life. Not just as a writer, but as a person. Is that a powerful statement? Yes, but these are powerful books.
The writer I am speaking of is Julia Cameron. I started with her book, “The Artist’s Way” and am now continuing my journey with “The Right to Write.” I call it a journey because with both books, your mindset will start at one point and end at a very different destination. For clarity sake, I will confide my thoughts and opinions to the first book, “The Artist’s Way.”
Ms Cameron subtitled it, “A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity.” It is a book not just for active writers, painters, or anyone else who would label themselves artists. Through the twelve weeks of exploration and tasks, Ms Cameron opens up a new way of seeing your world. For example, before reading the first page I would have called myself very close to being an atheist, certainly not a Christian or member of any other religion. I had explored them all and found them empty. So when Ms Cameron mentioned God in the introduction, I almost threw the book in the trash. But, I kept reading and found that her definition of God found a place in my heart and soul. To quote Julia, “…we are talking about is a creative energy. God is useful shorthand for many of us, but so is Goddess, Mind, Universe, Source, and Higher Power…The point is not what you name it.” She believes that by listening to messages sent to us via the Higher Power, we open ourselves to the creative path that is waiting for us all. We also need to trust those messages to lead us to where we need to go. A mantra repeated in the book is, “Leap, and the net will appear.” All of this is a radical change for one who believed only hard work and extreme good lucky would bring success to any artists.
Ms Cameron lists her Basic Principles that govern the twelve weeks of spiritual and creative growth. The first one states, “Creativity is the natural order of life. Life is energy: pure creative energy.” Her book takes you along a path of growth with experiments and essays that draws the reader deeper and deeper into their own beliefs. Many times, I had to put the book aside when I became angry or disgusted. But at second glance, I would always gain new insight into my past or present assumptions on life, creativity, and the Almighty. As she says, “Remember, this is useful pain; lightning illuminates.” With Ms Cameron’s guidance, I have discovered long forgotten pains that have stopped me from being the writer I could be and the person I should be.
The two tasks that Ms Cameron insists are essential are The Morning Papers; three handwritten pages done each morning. They are put aside, not edited or looked at again. The second are Artist Dates. These are periods of time the reader is to set aside for themselves to explore or experience the “inner artist.” Both are used to help clear away any blockage to creativity. Along the way, she helps dig deep into long held beliefs and new directions of thought.
It is difficult to put into a few paragraphs the essence of this book. The impact this book has had on my life is impossible to describe. But, I urge everyone who writes daily, has been published, or never ever shown their writing to anyone else, to read The Artist’s Way. It’s a life-changer.
Ms Cameron has also done a book that speaks specifically to writers is “The Right to Write.” I will leave that review for another time, except to say that she believes we are all born writers.
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editor's note: All reviews are the sole opinion of the author. They are not an endorsement by Page & Spine. -NKW