I may have mentioned that I am ophthalmologically challenged. Nah, it’s not a word, but I was going for something more original than “blind as a bat.” The only place I step without my glasses is from the bed to the shower in the morning, and as soon as I’ve toweled off, those babies are on my face to stay. I was a dedicated contact lens girl for about thirty years, until middle-aged eyes decided to dry up and reject those cellophane wrappers. So it appears I am four-eyes for life, since I’ve checked out laser surgery and as it stands today, it’s not an option for me.
Why does of this matter to you? Because yesterday—at the recommendation of Paula, (please check out her blog and beautiful paintings) I started The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron, billed as a course in “discovering and recovering your creative self” —getting as far as the “Basic Tools” chapter—which explains the course requirement for “Morning Pages.”
I’m sure so many of you know all about this, but I ask your indulgence, because it’s new for me. Basically, Julia says that first thing in the morning, every morning, throughout the life of the course but hopefully for longer, you need to write three pages, long-hand, stream of consciousness, on anything that comes to mind, “a brain drain” Julie calls it, “the primary tool of creative recovery.” I interpret Morning Pages as a way to clear the, um, clutter, out of your brain to leave it clean and fresh and receptive to creativity.
“Oh right,” I thought, upon reading about them yesterday. “Like I’m going to fit that in. Hmmm. Does she mean as soon as I get up? No way. Well, maybe I could do it after school drop-off, before I sit down to the computer. Still though, it seems rather—demanding don’t you think? Every day? First thing? That’s going to mean getting up earlier. Seriously—every day? Oh well, maybe I’ll buy a notebook over the weekend and give it a try— I suppose that can’t hurt, too much, right?” And so it went.
Until, this morning, when I received the gift of an extra sleep-in, because my daughter has no school. After my husband kissed me goodbye, I rolled over, and glancing at my bedside table, caught sight (albeit, a blurry one) of a blue toile cloth-bound journal, a gift to me, which has perched untouched, around which we’ve dusted, since August. “Hmmm” again. “Morning pages? Nice book. It’s kind of small, might be cheating. Could always write more then three pages to even it out. Maybe, just for this morning I'll see how it feels—”
So, with no glasses, in the gray, predawn light, with my eyes about two inches from the book, I began to write—letting it all out, not caring about punctuation or spelling, still in bed, leaning on my elbow, my hand cramping, but scribbling anyway.
Engrossed and focused, I poured out words until I had occasion to look up--
and scream “Oh sh_t!” at huge black shape standing in front of the picture window of our first floor bedroom, no more than twelve feet from me. “What the heck is that?” I panted, while scrabbling at my bureau for my glasses, all the while trying to untangle myself from the sheets so I could run. Really, it could have been a man, it could have been a bear, I just couldn’t tell.
Sorry for the interruption Julia, I know we are probably not supposed to stop, but once the glasses were on, I saw two deer, lifting and placing thin legs through the backyard path beside the window; and as if she knew I could see her now, one turned her head and stared at me, soft eyed and still, drinking me in, a five second gaze that said, “Good Morning Liza. This is what you were meant to see.” And then, turning away, the two does stepped up the hill, followed by their hiccupping trail, folding themselves through the tight-leafed rhododendrons lining our yard. I watched one small tail flipping as they disappeared.
The Artists Way is a twelve week course. My two week borrow from the library won’t cut it. Hello Amazon? I need to buy a book.