Last week I made a self-collage as suggested by Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way. Almost blew this one off. I used to assign this kind of stuff as homework, but I’d never bothered making one myself. Seemed a little self-indulgent. But that’s the whole point, because according to Cameron, our inner child represents our artistic self, and we need to nurture that child by taking her on weekly artist’s dates. So this was my artist date for the week.
I gathered glue, scissors, and starting thumbing through a few magazines. I got into stream-of-consciousness state and starting ripping. It didn’t take long before I had a healthy stack of pictures because don’t our magazines reflect our interests and the kind of life we want? Whole Living, More, and Runner’s World. That’s all it took, plus a few other graphics readily available on the web. I arranged them all on a sheet of yellow which just so happens to be my favorite color.
This is what I discovered. I really like outdoor activity. Of course I knew that but I’d never articulated it quite like this. I have a picture of a runner along a trail, a mountain to hike, a dock at the edge of a lake, my favorite beach on the Gulf, and a couple of bikes. Nature feeds me spiritually as well as physically, so I suppose that’s why these photos take up so much collage space!
I’m digging yoga these days so I included a photo of the Half-Moon Pose. Yoga helps me enter the moment, breathe in the good, and let us not forget, motion is lotion for aging joints and muscles. The football huddle represents my like for spectator sports, especially football.
Books next. I clipped an ebook because the Kindle is hard to beat when I travel, but I also have pictures of actual books because nothing will ever replace the delicious feel and scent of a book I can caress with my hands. Sometimes I kiss my books but you’ll be happy to know that I’ve never kissed my Kindle.
A book titled Everyday Prayers is there because my spirituality is about more than the great outdoors. Prayer is more an act of listening to the small inner voice as I attempt to connect to the vast universe and the oneness that resides there. If that sounds paradoxical it’s because it is.
Had to use the pic I came across of the cappuccino, but that could just as easily have been a chia tea latte, or a plain cup of coffee. I don’t discriminate. The cool wine bottle cut from a Trader Joe bag represents my other liquid of choice. And it’s okay that the TJ logo is on it because that’s where I love to shop for food. And wine. Caffeine fires up the neurons and gets me thinking about this life we’re living. And when I get tired of trying to figure it out, I just pour myself another glass of wine and go with it.
The random picture of the single flower to represent the flower child I always wanted to be — free-spirited and naked of pretense — but never quite got there.
Now, switching gears to my expanding electronic world: The Apple logo with the bite taken out of it because “once you go Mac, you’ll never go back.” In my mind, the logo also connects with the motto of Steve Jobs: “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.” Words to live by. I love music – many different styles – so I pasted on musical notes and a staff to represent this fact. I also included a picture of a nano iPod because that’s my favorite management tool for my music and it’s the genius invention, alone with iTunes, that turned around the company that makes my laptop. And iPhone. The real reason I’ve hung onto the iPod is because it was a Christmas gift from my grown daughters one year. The gift told me they’d paid enough attention to know that it was something I’d more than likely love — and might even be able to figure out without too much help from them. So it was a thoughtful gift on their part. And they paid for it with their own money which made it even better!
A big part of who I am at this juncture is repped by the Zen-like desk, highly organized all around. This is much like the aesthetic space I have created at home for writing. Writing is messy work! But this is how I like my space when I enter it in the morning. Now, if I will just put things away the night before.
And I have to mention the fashion accessories – the boots, the bag, the scarf, the jewelry – because I do have a bent toward fashion. And though I’ve tried, I can’t seem to shake this. Must be all those paper dolls I dressed and designed for as a little girl.
Can you tell that I got into this? I understand why Cameron said it’s one of her students’ favorite exercises. It may turn out to be mine. The process helped point me toward my true self. And isn’t that what we’re all after?