Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Step Into The River



Last fall, Julia Cameron was a keynote speaker at the Women Writing The West Conference in Santa Fe. I found her talk on her book, The Artist's Way, refreshing and bought the book to work through it. I made my way through the 12-week workbook, not perfectly, but open and trusting it to move me forward with writing my cattle rustling book. I appreciated finding my creativity opening like the petals of a flower, slowly and delicately.

As I found my creativity, three C's kept rising to the top - Creativity, Curiosity and Connection. These three C's drive me. When I approach life from the basis of creativity, curiosity and connection, I am open, curious and move forward in whatever I am doing. When life becomes a list of tasks watched over by a stern taskmaster, I am closed, fearful and anxious.

Applying the three C's to writing my book has helped me to write again after a couple of years of depression and writer's block. Allowing myself to be curious helps me step into the scenes. Sometimes it is being curious with the research and other times it's the simple curiosity of "What happens next?" Creativity means I can try writing it different ways, moving in and out of various points of view, seeing the manuscript as a lump of clay instead of an immobile object. Connection is the reason I am writing the book. It all started with a family connection, my great-great-uncle, but it is really a story of connections: who knows who, who did they work with, who were they friends with, who is related, who has past connections? It is also my connection to the story. What speaks to me, what draws me in, what is it that won't let me go?

Western performer, Mary Kaye, shared a video on creativity and in it she quoted her cousin, western yodeler, Kerry Christensen. When she started in the music business, he told her, "Any time you start a career in a creative profession, whether writing, music, or art, it's like stepping into a stream of moving water. You have to take the first step into the water and it's cold, it's scary, but you have to trust that the flow of that creativity is going to take you to exactly where you need to be."

When I picture stepping into the stream of moving water, of course I picture the Arkansas River in Salida. And I know that creativity, curiosity, and connection are what move me into the stream. The river is the unknown, but I trust my Creator to move me through it and trust that the flow will take me right to where I need to be and where the book needs to be.

I created the poster in the photo above, framed it in a blue frame, and set it on the shelf above my computer. It reminds me to to choose creativity, curiosity or connection in the book and to step into the river, trusting the book will end up exactly where it needs to be.


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