Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Artist's Way: A Travel Guide

Books with Your Barista
Jared A. Conti   

This Way is not for the faint at heart

My copy is beaten up, broken down and a little toasty around the edges. By notations inside the book, I started a journey almost four years ago to the day, but there are life references that lead me to believe that I’ve worked through it at least once since. And this isn’t the first copy I’ve had the pleasure to own. I’ve started paging through my copy, though there’s one in the mail coming any day. I need to retire this one because I don’t want all my notes from past years bogging down my thought process.

The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron is not for the faint at heart. I’ve meandered along this 12-step creative recovery course a handful of times, and I still struggle and get caught up from time to time. Though you could classify this as a self-help book (what better way to start the new year?) at the same time, you’ve had all the help you’ve needed until this point.  The Artist’s Way helps you get through it all.

Labeled as a creative recovery, you don’t need to be a creative to make headway here, the book nudges you along. This program, to be done singly or in groups follows two simple tenets: morning pages and artist dates. There’s plenty of “homework” at the end of each chapter to keep you moving in the right direction.

Morning pages consist of three written longhand pages per day, which sounds harder than it is, but once you get grooving there’s no stopping you. Artist dates are meant to get you out and doing something, preferably alone, to get your brain moving about. Ms. Cameron makes you think of creativity like a well: pages dump out the stagnant water while the artist dates are there to fill the water back up with clean.

This book digs deep and tears open parts of you that were long forgotten. Sometimes you didn’t even know they were there. Old hurts are remembered, but with them comes healing. What you can do as a creative individual knows no bounds.  

Treat yourself to a real gift during this cold, dreary season.

This was originally published in the Lock Haven Express, 01/17/2013.


  1. ah, I have this downstairs. Perhaps it is time to re-read.

  2. You know, morning pages AND artist's dates would seriously help me right now. Mayhap I ought to break out my copy ... which won't be hard, since I'm staring right at it!