Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Morning Pages: Tool or Crutch?

A while back I read someone's post where they commented about the morning pages and referred to them as a crutch. I no longer recall the context and honestly it doesn't matter for this post - what stuck with me was my reaction to that term.

I was immediately upset and wanted to say they are tools, not crutches. And it did not take more than five seconds for me to realize that's silly. Crutches are tools, too.

What's the job of a crutch? It is to keep someone upright when they otherwise might hurt themselves staying that way or not be able to stay that way at all. To protect an injury or a limb that never grew straight, or to support someone when their own limb cannot do the job. Why on earth do I read "crutch" as a negative term, when in fact crutches are very valuable to the mobility (and probably sanity!) of people who need them? Certainly using crutches incessantly when you don't (or no longer) need them is probably bad for the body and might let things atrophy that could be saved - but when they are needed, using crutches is a valuable and positive action.

That said, I still don't think the MP's as Cameron presents them are crutches. (On the other hand, perhaps for some people they are and work better that way.) Because she suggests you keep doing them forever, whereas most crutches are used for injuries and are set aside once the healing is complete (or to the point where the crutches aren't needed any more, at least). That may be how some use morning pages, but it isn't how they're presented, whether one agrees with that or not. Of course, some people must always use crutches, but I don't see even blocked creativity as a permanent injury - the Artist's Way is short-term and might be likened to a crutch, but surely the morning pages aren't.

All of which is likely totally irrelevant to the original point of the post I read. But it was triggered by it. It's been percolating in the back of my brain but was never important enough to write up. (I'm still not sure it is, but hey, I have nothing else to do tonight that hasn't already been done. Pfeh.)


Endment said...

Very insightful post. Morning pages have been very useful for me. I began writing morining pages during a time of stress in my life (soon after AW was first published) Have continued them (with only a few exceptions) since and find them a helpful tool, or crutch, whatever they are called, they help me.

GreenishLady said...

I have never thought about crutches in that way before - How novel to look beyond the usual accepted negative connotations we attach to a crutch. And as to whether the Morning Pages are tool, crutch or ? - Somewhere else, Cameron says they perform spiritual chiropractic - bring us back into alignment, and I can go along with the alignment, but I feel it's more internal, and about energy-flow, so I call it spiritual tai-chi. Chiropractic is an occasional event when you are in need of obvious treatment, but tai-chi is an ongoing daily practice, and that is also how the pages operate. - At least, that's how it feels for me.