All the writers who’ve attended my retreat Answering The Call, know I’m an avid fan of Julia Cameron’s Artist Way books. Her writing never fails to ground me when I become overly anxious about the creative process. I used to lug a ton of her books there in a duffle bag and hole up with a fistful of pens, hot green tea, Paula Red apples and reams of foolscap. Let the Shadows Fall Behind You was birthed in a tiny unadorned room containing a single bed at the end of a silent hall on the second floor. A statue of the Virgin Mary stood outside the door, which I found comforting when one of the nuns who runs the Villa told us it was haunted. I spent hours propped against pillows gazing out the window that overlooked an ancient evergreen, whose dark branches slowly rose to the foreground, gaining inky definition each night as the sun slipped behind the hills.
Last week I met with my friend Sara to talk about getting together after Christmas to discuss Walking in the World one of Julia’s new books, as we each start a new project. The novel I’m writing now is set in the 1930’s and, of course, the critic inside my head keeps harping that I shouldn’t be writing about an era of history I didn’t actually live in, and that I’ll probably get it all wrong. Coffee with Sara was just the spark I needed to accept that voice and get back to the drawing board anyway.
Do you have a wet blanket haunting your writing? If so, you might enjoy this snippet on YouTube of Julia Cameron speaking at Wisdom House February of last year.
Good-bye wet blanket.