The note written inside the book is dated 2005. My friend Lisa mailed it to me when I was very pregnant with my first child--a copy of Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way, a 12 week guide to "discovering and recovering your creative self."
And here I am, nearly eight years later, still discovering and recovering my creative self. While I've read bits and pieces of the Cameron's book, I've never committed to following the course step-by-step, week-by-week. But the chapter about shadow artists stuck. Cameron says a shadow artist dances close to the art, but doesn't step out and do the art.
I am a shadow artist.
Cameron asserts that shadow artists block their own creativity with judgments about what living an artist's life looks like. We don't take it seriously, and we think if we follow the path of our art/heart we will be broke. So what's an artist--what's anyone--with a burning desire to finally become who they really are--to do?
I can't tell you how to make a living. That's something we all have to figure out for ourselves. I have a successful track record of making a living as a shadow artist. I know for a fact I can do that. But can I thrive--personally and professionally--as an artist? Sometimes, that feels too risky for me. So, rather than finding some middle ground or building a bridge to help get me there, I usually set the art aside.
Here's the thing: I can't do that anymore. This year, I will step out of the shadow.
This year, I will free myself from the judgments that are so convincing, the beliefs committed to holding me in the safe and comfortable place of hiding. One day I hope to make a living as an artist. In the meantime, I'll focus on simply living as an artist.
Will you join me this week? I'm answering 5 questions posed by author and writing teacher Kate Hopper.