Got an email from an old friend last week. He’s getting ready to facilitate a “Walking in this World” group. WitW is a book by Julia Cameron. She wrote it about 10 years after her defining work, “The Artist’s Way.” I did the AW experience in fall of 2003 and it was quite an eye-opener for me. Several of us felt like we needed to repeat the course, or attend an “AW for Dummies” version or something. Well, here’s my chance. WitW starts in March. The premise is simple: we are all creative beings, built with a desire to create inherent to our very natures, put there by the ultimate Creator. Julia proposes that those of us who used to be very in tune with our creative nature because disillusioned or frustrated or just plain afraid to “put it all out there for everyone to see”, sort of hiding our lamp under a basket. She says a lot of things that make sense, and it’s easy to think about reconnecting to that creative side of ourselves, of myself, but it’s much more difficult to actually do the work.
It’s true. Doing the actual work of reconnecting with the creative self is scary. You have to be willing to start over, to be a rank beginner again, to possibly learn to do things differently than you used to, or even to do something totally different than what you used to do. I had that experience in AW. I walked in as a non-playing musician. I left 12 weeks later a fledgling writer, leaving several stupefied classmates behind, folks who could not believe that I was in reality a computer geek, and not a writer or actress or lounge singer or something. Go figure.
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking the last couple of years, of wondering what I’m meant to be or do. And I don’t have any answers. I read blogs and first novels and poetry and then look at what I might have to say about, well, anything, and think to myself that I have absolutely nothing worthwhile to say about anything. My life is not about self-sustaining agriculture, or the size of my carbon footprint, or how my career gives me the opportunity to travel and see and do things that I wouldn’t have otherwise. Right now, today, my life is about trying to get my 18-year-old son to grow up, to be independent, and responsible, and trustworthy. And it’s about helping my daughter realize that it’s ok to be a tomboy without giving up being a girl, and that it’s ok to get frustrated and say no to people when they intrude on her privacy or try to take advantage of her generosity. And it’s about helping teenagers trust adults when they’ve lost the ability to trust their parents for whatever reason. Just everyday, ordinary things.
And my life has become focused on creating useful things, like socks that fit my feet perfectly because I made them to do that.
None of these things are earth-shattering. The future of our planet does not hang by a thread of anything I’m trying to weave together to make that thread stronger. And for that reason, I feel silenced by this writing. What difference is there in my choosing to record the mundane experiences of living in rural/suburban central North Carolina in 2008? If I’m not doing anything to fit into the media and political mold of world change, why do anything at all?
Do I really want to walk in this world?
I don’t know.