Sunday, February 05, 2006

AW: Week 4 Check-In

1) Morning pages. Every day. Lots of whining about the reading restriction, otherwise about normal - maybe a bit more focussed on organizing the work-a-day stuff. I've started, the past couple weeks, getting impatient to get on with my day half-way down page 3, which means the bottom of page 3 almost invariably has a "Done!" exclamation as I hit the last line. ;)

2) Artist's Date. That trip up the Gorge on Sunday, intended originally to be a poetry time. It didn't work out as what I planned but it still was pretty good, the falls were just incredible with as much rain as we'd been getting.

3) Synchronicities. One minor one and one irritating one. The minor is that I've wanted a new front-door mat for a while and Thursday I got a coupon book that had them on sale, so I got one. The irritating was, I've also wanted a new video card for a while and there was a good one on sale...but it turned out not to be compatible with my computer, and I had to return it!

4) Other issues:

Reading deprivation bit. What I've learned is that I was an idiot to do this and I won't do it again. Sunday I was depressed and sick (hard to tell which came first, but I'm sure the cold weather in the Gorge did not help the cold). Monday I was feeling better but still depressed. Tuesday, I felt yucky. Wednesday I was partway through the half-hour of blog reading I'd allowed myself, racing as usual, when I came across the first of several posts from my old college friends remembering C, a friend of ours who died that date years ago in a car accident. I don't normally remember dates, so I hadn't attached special significance to that one until I encountered that entry. I was almost out of blog-reading time and I had already felt out-of-sorts and bitchy all week and wanted to take back my word about the blog time, having not done so only out of guilt and shame (which Cameron is good at setting up, even as she preaches against it!). I tossed it to the four winds, said screw it, and removed the restriction time on blogs altogether.

Thursday, Friday, and yesterday were all much better than the earlier part of the week. I felt more together, less scattered, less lonely, less depressed, less desperate. During the earlier part of the week my poetry output had sagged slightly and my interest in photography had just about gone to zero (except for the shots of Multnomah Falls, which was incredible and I knew I would want to try for some - but it was too cold to linger long). I haven't recovered the poetry output but I think I will, and the photography - well, I took a ton of pictures Saturday. :) Some of them even came out! :)

Basically what I found was, until I tossed off the restrictions, my week had been reduced only to shoulds. I should pay the bills, I should clean this, I should do that. Not because all my wants center around reading - but a lot do, and frankly I got so depressed with the feeling of having to rush through my friends' posts rather than savor their comments, I didn't want to do much! I didn't do the life pie exercise this week. I'm pretty sure it would be balanced in "suck" though - except for work, where I was able to continue on as normal. (And where, thank you very much oh high-and-mighty Cameron, every major task I had this week required reading.)

I feel alive again. Thursday and Friday I cleaned the computer room because I wanted to, bought, and set up the new desk I'd wanted, searched for, measured, found, and selected - and had meant to be working on all week but didn't really want to until then. It's really nice. (It's not any better than my old one - but it is narrower - which means I can put some shelves in now. I need those shelves. I'll be even happier when I get those but that is dependent on other people - I hope. If none of our friends with a truck is willing to help out, I'll have to rent one just to get them home, which will be annoying. Affordable, but annoying.)

I learned most of all this week to trust my inner voice, which said that no matter how much Cameron hammered it home and finger-wagged in her text, this was a bad idea. I said I'd do this and so I tried to - and kept trying, even when it felt wrong, for fear of shaming by you guys (and by myself!). (And why would I fear that? There has never been any sign you would shame someone for doing only what they can. Why? Because Cameron hammered it home so hard it seemed like a shameful thing! Stupid of me to project the author's attitude on the other people doing this when I know very well I'm one of us and I don't agree with her, and it's been very much a "take what you can" manner from everyone. But I wasn't exactly in a mind-space to be smart, I guess. Sigh.)

I did keep from reading books or magazines, and most news, though that was also the source of some irritation. I found a copy of Artist's Sketchbook early in the week with a lead article of "Launch a Year of Creativity". No reading!!! Augh! But I bought it and I stuck it by my desk and I have not read it yet but I do have it there to do so. And I wanted to play with some bookbinding stuff, maybe, to see what it was like, but I never have done that. I have a book on it but I could not read it. (Now I'm not in the mood for it any more. I'm not sure if that's sour grapes, missing the timing, or if I just wanted to play with bookbinding because I wanted an excuse to read the book....)

I am still irked with Cameron, though. She ladeled the shame and guilt phrasing and stories on really heavily. The exercise #10 that described lapsing into reading as having a "tantrum" I read on Tuesday and it reinforced my intent to force myself to keep doing this in spite of being sure that it was damaging me (what if I was imagining it just because I wanted to read? What if my depression was a tantrum?). AUGH! I'm kind of glad for Wednesday's wake-up call, at least I only endured half a week of that. I almost had abandoned it Tuesday if I had not read the exercises. Sigh.

Frankly I think our charming author has a God complex, is incapable of imagining lives unlike her own, and is more than a bit hypocritical in telling us to set aside shame, then shaming us. But that's just me. I had a lot of anti-Julia-Cameron rants in my morning pages this week, though. (As early as Sunday, I was having daydreams about what I'd have said to her face at the next meeting if I were in one of her workshops instead of doing this on the 'net. I'd probably have thrown a huge fit and quit.)

I'm not quitting. But I am going to try to fight my conformist nature a bit more and be willing to reject outright things that seem to be doing damage when I try them.

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