Friday, December 4, 2009

I did it my way

Best of 09 Challenge: Book. What book, fiction or non, touched you?

I have been singing professionally since 2003. My career took off fast and before I knew it I was learning role after role, quickly, fervently, and often alone on the road. I was passionate about my learning. I was a good student and dotted every i and crossed the t's. I delved into my characters with gusto and total devotion. It was always easy to be motivated to work and to sing. Then suddenly things began to shift. I found I was less motivated, not because I didn't love my work, but because the fire had gone out of my love for myself in the work. What I mean by this is that it is easy to produce a product that has everyone's stamp on it. If you are a good student like me, it is easy to listen to every coach, conductor, and director and give them the product they want. It is easy to make every little adjustment when you are a work-a-holic and people pleaser. But pretty soon, as in my case, you will long for the little girl who just loved to sing because she had something to say. You will start to miss yourself in your work.

But, hallelujah, there is someone who gets it and she wrote a book about ten years ago all about the struggles of being creative and I encourage every artist to grab one and read it. Whether you paint, write, or sing, her words will resonate with you because we all need encouragement and tools to guide us to our best selves as artists/creators. There is a lot out there than can cloud us and get in our way from discovering and being the best we can be. The book is called the Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. In it she gives you tasks to help you find your voice and to help you lead with your heart and not your head. There are numerous quotes in the book from famous artists which inspire and help you know that you are not alone on this fabulous but somewhat daunting journey. Check it out. I downloaded it to my Kindle so that I can keep it fresh in my mind. Oh, and by the way, I still dot my i's and cross my t's and I am still a good student and generous collaborator. The only difference is now I do it with my wishes and artistry clearly defined and echoing in my ear. Here is a small excerpt from the Artist's Way by Julia Cameron:

"People frequently believe the creative life is grounded in fantasy. The more difficult truth is that creativity is grounded in reality, in the particular, the focused, the well observed or specifically imagined. As we lose our vagueness about our self, our values, our life situation, we become available to the moment. It is there, in the particular, that we contact the creative self. Until we experience the freedom of solitude, we cannot connect authentically. We may be enmeshed, but we are not encountered. Art lies in the moment of encounter: we meet our truth and we meet ourselves; we meet ourselves and we meet our self-expression. We become original because we become something specific: an origin from which work flows."

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