Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Courting the Muse



A couple weeks ago, I had the pleasure of hearing local writer Marjorie Sandor reading from her latest book.  At the conclusion, she asked if anyone had questions.  The first question went straight to the heart.  Louise, a woman who brooks no bull and wastes no words said, "How do you write so well?" Marjorie was a bit flummoxed, but only for a second.  She said, in summary-- Well, I complain, I struggle, and then somehow I eventually get out of my own way--of the story and my ego--and it gets down and I am surprised.

That's a great distillation of the process, I think.  We all have an artistic language.  Some of us suppress it; some express it.  We have a lot that gets in the way:  our lack of faith in our own truth, our drift towards judgment and self-deprecation, our measuring against others whose gifts differ from our own.

I was one of those kids with the art teacher who said, "Cows aren't that color" and "Follow the directions".  I also have a just slightly older sister who is a very gifted artist.  As a result, I assumed I wasn't capable of art for a number of years.  Two weeks after  I moved to Oregon, through wondrous serendipity, I was invited to participate in a weekend of wild artmaking with a group of mostly "real" artists.  I was intimidated, but infected by their loving enthusiasm, I tried everything-- felting, basketry, painting, sculpture.  I found that I could love the process even when the outcome was--well, relegated to the attic, or used for wrapping paper.  Occasionally, I even made something I loved. In the meantime, I learned to appreciate my own muse, oddball that she was.  I became less afraid to try things I wouldn't necessary shine at doing.  Heck, it's no less a time waste than net-surfing or TV, and for me, much more relaxing.  I started a wonderful web poetry games group, engaging parts of my brain I didn't even know existed.  And something in me that wanted, healed.

Joseph Chilton Pearce said, "To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong".  Judgment is a real deal-killer for the muse. We can create for expression, for fulfillment, for purging, or for pure joy.  We don't have to show it, or sell it, or even judge it-- it can be enough just to do it.

If you are a shy, reluctant or unexplored artist, join me this weekend for a four hour workshop on freeing your muse.  It's a bit late notice.  My muse has been on holiday and I haven't been on the blog.  But if you're reading this by Thursday eve, throw me a line.  If you'd like to hear about future events, get on the email list by contacting me at janasvo-at-comcast.net (substituting @ for -at-) or check out the website at:
janasvoboda.com