Tag Archives: Julia Cameron

Creativity Anniversary

6 Jul

While I, the Muse, have been around forever, my 4 Chicks only recently celebrated their one-year blog milestone. In honor of this, their paper anniversary, I inspired the Chicks to put pen to paper and retrace their shared journey. Because like one’s marital anniversary, it is well worth remembering and commemorating when and how you first decided in earnest to pursue your creative passions. And those with whom you choose to share it are your creative soul mates for life.

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Namaste

16 Apr

Me and Eva: the light in me sees the light in her.

Whether or not you’re a yoga bear, try sharing this respectful Indian greeting with those who share your creative soul. The meaning of namasté goes beyond its translation of “I bow to you.” It speaks to a recognition of the spark of divinity, the light within each of us. For us aspiring writers and other artists, you might substitute the word creativity for divinity, as they are in fact one and the same.

Julia Cameron calls them believing mirrors, these rare people placed in our lives by a greater hand to help us make sense of our unique journeys. The more I doubt myself, the more I cherish my believing mirrors. They each know just who they are, and I am grateful. They include my sister, my lifelong friend from childhood, the other 4 Chicks, and most recently, the supportive congregation of other sojourners down the path of children’s books, those bravely committed to write 12 picture book drafts in 12 months in 2012.

To all these and more, I tip my creative visor to you and say:

Namaste. The spark of creativity in me bows to the spark of creativity in you.

Week 12: The End of the Walk

16 Apr

Well, they took 12 months instead of 12 weeks to finish The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, and that’s how long they took to finish Walking in This World, too. For the past year, the 4 Chicks have walked and talked their way through this second book together. To celebrate this completion, and in the spirit of Cameron’s many excellent creative exercises in her books, I inspired the 4 Chicks to hold a “Letting Go” fire ceremony, burning their fears, frustrations and other negative feelings that might otherwise block their future creative paths, as well as a whimsical “Dream Planting” activity, articulating their top three creative dreams for the future and giving them fertile ground in which to grow.

If I, the Muse, inspire you as well–be it writing, illustration, music, drama or any other artistic endeavor–consider bringing together three fellow sojourners and continue further down your own creative path today.

 

Chicks Chat About Authenticity – Week 11

4 Apr

 

In the end, an artist’s life is grounded in integrity and the willingness to witness our version of truth. There are no set markets that assure us of safe passage.  This week focuses on personal responsibility for our creative caliber and direction.

– Julia Cameron

Sticks and stones can break my bones…

10 Feb

Actually, I never liked that saying. Why would I care about names hurting me if someone’s breaking my bones? But there is a point: people who are throwing the proverbial sticks and stones and names can’t hurt you if you don’t let them.

I have an inner circle of those I can trust and an outer circle of everyone else. And levels within those circles. In Walking in this World, Julia Cameron talks about camaraderie (a word that I can never spell correctly the first time, incidentally), and the importance of having the “right” people around you. Those who know how to be supportive while offering constructive feedback. Here’s an exercise to see which of the following people should be allowed into your inner circle of trust:

Scenario: You just finished your first novel and you show it to your friends/critique partners/family members/whoever for their thoughts. You know that it’s only a first draft and it needs editing, but you want their initial thoughts.

Candidate A: “Hmm. It’s okay. But it’d be better if you’d do a story about sheep castration, since you grew up on a sheep ranch. You should write what you know. Did I tell you I wrote a story once?”

Candidate B: “This is a piece of crap. I know you can write better than this.”

Candidate C: “Hey, I like where you’re going on this project. I think if you weave in some of your personal experiences with xxx it will make this piece stronger.”

Obviously, in this situation, Candidate C is the ideal choice (although it’s not a bad idea to keep the occasional Candidate B around to kick us in the butt when we need it–kidding!).

What it comes down to is trust. I’ve had plenty of exposure to people who’ve had little snarky comments to make about this or that, looking like they’re happy for you but really trying to find a way to get in a dig somehow.

Here’s how you deal with it. Keep those people —————> here. As far away from you as you can shove them (figuratively, I hope).Image

That doesn’t mean that other people can’t try to hurt you. They can. But it is up to you to keep these “you-aren’t-good-enough-aren’t-smart-enough-aren’t-talented-enough” naysayers at bay.

I’m lucky to have several wonderful people in my inner circle of trust, starting with my fellow Chicks. If it wasn’t for these girls, I would’ve been too chicken to venture into the outer world of writing. I have a wonderful critique group as well. Do I still hear comments from Bitter, Party of 1? Of course. But I just smile and say, “Okay,” (in my head it translates as, “whatever dude”) and move along. I don’t think about them again. It doesn’t bother me at all, because those comments don’t filter through to me.

Don’t let them filter through to you.

Chicks Chat About Camaraderie – Week 10

31 Jan

Despite our Lone Ranger mythology, the artist’s life is not lived in isolation.  This week focuses your attention on the caliber of your friendships and creative collaborations.  Loyalty and longevity, integrity and ingenuity, grace and generosity – all of these attributes are necessary traits for healthy creative exchange.

Everyone’s a Winner!

21 Jan

Congratulations to that one Muse follower–both lucky and clever–who correctly named all ten 70’s and 80’s sitcoms parodied in 4 Chicks and a Muse: The Theme Song. And now, the winner of the all-new Kindle is revealed, Chick style.

But like all creative journeys, the most important thing is to TRY. So…

EVERYONE who entered the contest will receive a copy of Tracey’s picture book, Addie and Ollie.

Disney Marathon

7 Jan

“I consider the pavement between 20 and 26 sacred ground: not for training, to be tread upon only with a race number on your chest.” – Hal Higdon

Disney Marathon 2012

Tomorrow is my big day.  I will be running the Disney Marathon.  The race starts at 5:30am and I’m in wave C.

I’ve trained as much as I possibly could, while running a business with my hubby, raising 2 little girls and trying to go back to school.

During my whole year of training of had my high’s and low’s.  I’ve question myself why I’m putting my body through this? Am I trying to prove something to myself?  But also I’ve had amazing revelations about what I could really do and how much my body can really handle.   It’s amazing to hear your mind say “give up Eva, you are to old for this” to my body saying “I can go longer, just keep pushing, don’t stop”.   It feels like the battle of good and evil.

My evil side is always complaining.  But my good side admires what I’m doing.  I know this sounds crazy but when you only have yourself to keep you company for 4 hours straight you get tired of hearing yourself.  You try to focus on the music, then you go through your checklist of things that you need to do for the month, you start planning your next Halloween party, and then the only thing left is thinking about how much pain you are in.

So, is this all worth it you may ask?  YES!  It’s worth all the pain.  You turn out realizing how tough you really are.

It’s amazing how going through the Julia Cameron, “Walking In This World” book with my 3 other chicks has helped me not only creatively but also helped me push myself in other things that I though would be impossible for me to do.

If we all lived our lives not fearing what other people might think of us, or letting insecurity stop us.  I wonder how much we all can really accomplish.

New Year’s Playfulutions

1 Jan

I don’t believe in resolutions. If Julia Cameron’s Artist’s Way books have taught me anything, it’s that trying to impose more discipline and work to any endeavor–artistic or otherwise–is far less effective than learning to PLAY.

Resolve involves being determined, taking a lofty goal seriously, and working hard to achieve it. It also sets us up for all-or-nothing thinking that sabotages our real, day-to-day would-be progress. The stoic martyr sacrifices to reach what end? Their own.

No, this year, I’m determined to take myself and all I do far less seriously. Acting resolute ultimately brings self-disappointment, frustration, and guilt–even if they’re well masked by success. Yet acting playful allows me the freedom to be a beginner, to try something new, to learn, to experiment, to risk, and to have greater compassion on myself and others when things don’t go according to plan.

That said, I do believe in the power of articulating our deepest wishes. A goal sounds scary and is usually followed by its thugs, the shoulds and the should nots. Sometimes a list of goals is more a reflection of our fears than anything else. But a wish is a recognition of what truly lies within our hearts. Great achievements are always driven by passion, a symptom of deep love, capable of overcoming our self-bullying doubts, unconscious pot shots and–worst of all–expectations.

So what are your deepest wishes for the coming year? Forget about all the things you should and shouldn’t do. What do you want to do? What do you love to do? What do you longingly dream of doing when you’re all alone? And how can you take a little step today to do a little more of it? If you’re still hesitant, check out Chick Vivi’s What’s Waiting for YOU? for a healthy dose of positive thinking.

When our theme song video (and details for winning the Kindle!) comes out tomorrow, it will be clear that the 4 of us had a lot of fun making it. Yes, there was plenty of planning, collaboration and time involved, but it certainly never felt like work. Now, to apply that model to the rest of my life and go clean up the strawberry muffin my son proudly mashed into the carpet. It’s okay. It’s just part of this funny game I’m playing called my life.

Chicks Chat About Resilience – Week 9

23 Dec

There is a Chinese proverb that goes something like this: Fall down seven times, stand up eight. That ancient writer might have gained that wisdom from me, the Muse. The Chicks are in the process of learning it now. In any endeavor, whether you fear and fail is not as important as whether you try and try again. I am beckoning you. Keep seeking me, and the worry, fear and self-doubt you feel will not be roadblocks but signposts along the way.

Join the 4 Chicks as they chat about Julia Cameron’s Walking in this World: The Practical Art of CreativityChapter 9: Discovering a Sense of Resiliency.

Happy Holidays to you and here’s to a creative 2012!

.                             .                            .

Apricot Glazed Cornish Game Hens with Italian Sausage-Rice Pilaf

Ingredients

  • 4 Cornish game hens (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds each)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 pound Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/4 cup diced carrot
  • 1/4 cup diced celery
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • 2 teaspoons minced orange zest
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 2 tablespoons toasted almond slivers
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon chopped thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 5 teaspoons salt
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups apricot jam
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • KICKED UP DAN VERSION:   ADD ½ CUP COINTREAU

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat the oil in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat and add the sausage. Cook until the fat is rendered, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the onions, carrots and celery and cook until the onions are translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and 1 teaspoon of the orange zest and sweat for about 30 seconds. Add the rice and cook stirring continuously for 3 minutes. Add the raisins, almonds, parsley, thyme, cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cover the pot and place it in the oven and cook for 30 minutes.

Remove the rice from the oven and increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees F. Place the rice on a sheet pan or a platter to cool.

Combine the apricot jam, orange juice, COINTREAU and remaining zest in a small mixing bowl and whisk to blend. Place the glaze in a saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Allow glaze to cook until reduced by half. This will take about 8 to 10 minutes.

Season the hens with the remaining salt and pepper on the insides and out. Stuff each hen cavity with about 3/4 cup of the cooled rice and place in a roasting pan. Use a pastry brush to spread the glaze on the hens and place them in the oven.

Roast the game hens for 15 minutes, remove from the oven, and spread another layer of glaze over the hens. Return the hens to the oven and roast for an additional 15 minutes. Remove the hens from the oven, spread the glaze over the hens, and return to the oven.

Continue to cook for 30 more minutes, or until an instant read-thermometer inserted in the thigh registers 160 degrees F, and inserted into the rice registers 140 degrees F.

Serve the hens with any extra rice pilaf.

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