Sunday, 1 September 2013

Monsters From the Deep

So my Creativity Course got off to a roaring start and the first thing we have to do is learn to write 'Morning Pages'.  Writing Morning Pages is a technique in which you empty the subconscious, sort of vomit it onto the page, at least once a day. Preferably you do it first thing in the morning, without thinking, judging or editing your work.  It's not a new idea - one wonders whether artists and writers have been at something similar since the first troubador hiked his wares at the castle gate.

Since the first troubadour...

There are various famous works one could learn from - the journals of Virginia Woolf, to name but one, and Dorothea Brande's brilliant classic 'Becoming A Writer'. Out of print now and hellishly expensive, it's still worth looking out for. DB gives those wonderful pep talks so redolent of old black and white movies. "If you fail repeatedly at this exercise, give up writing. Your resistance is actually greater than your desire to write." Superb, no doubt spoken with a cut-glass accent, it almost makes one feel like a grown up.

Dear, Dear Dorothea...

 Natalie Goldberg also gives some great advice about writing practice, very Zen, and I refer to 'Wild Mind' constantly, a decade after buying it. However, in the year 2013, when artists talk of 'doing their pages', they usually mean, doing their pages a la Julia Cameron.

For the next 16 weeks it's Julia's way of doing pages that I shall be sticking with, day in, day out, or stand up and explain at the weekly 'Check In.'

After working my way slowly through the larder and chomping everything that's not nailed down, I finally get to it, scribbling all the dismal, unfulfilled truths about my writing and my writing past, all the unfinished works, the plummeting self confidence, the 'Monsters from the Deep' who said, or thought foul things. The ones that looked at me in some awful way, or so I believed at the time. It doesn't feel good to get it out there. I was raised in the 'Keep Calm and Don't Mention a Thing' school of optimism. It's hard to believe, right now that in 112 days my creativity will be as high as one of those old Barage Balloons you see in Foyle's War. But, as the man himself would say, with that wry and rather sexy smile, 'We'll see.'

Monsters from the Deep

The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:
The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
Moans round with many voices 

Ulysses, Alfred Lord Tennyson 1809-1892

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