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Take a hike with The Artist’s Way’s Julia Cameron

I’m glad many of you wrote to tell me how much you enjoyed reading the recent interviews with Julie Wray Herman and Patricia Kay and even more glad that they gave you a lot to think about. I know Pat and Julie are happy to receive your comments, too. Stay tuned for information on September’s guest author. Meanwhile, let’s change pace.

Sometimes it’s nice to take a quick respite from the daily routine or constant stress of grappling with the writer’s life. For ten years I made an annual trip to Arizona’s Sedona/Flagstaff area where I stayed in a cabin in the heart of Oakcreek Canyon. My cabin was across the highway from a large running creek adn situated at the foot of a mountain. The rooms were wonderful and totally devoid of anything that resembled communication equipment: no TV, no phone, and no radio. Every night I went to sleep listening to the soothing sound of running creek water, and every morning I awoke to warm sunlight and, and again, to enjoy the constant comfort of the creek. In the early morning hours when the temperatures were cool, I spent the time hiking and exploring the rich red landscape of the Sedona hills. In the afternoon I returned to the cabin where the temperature was a good ten to fifteen degrees cooler and hung out with the butterflies, lizards, and other creatures of the day enjoying the cool, calm, running water. My stress levels dropped day by day, hour by hour. The creek became my companion through the hours and days of my retreat.

Julia Cameron’s book, The Sound of Paper: Starting from Scratch, published earlier this year, captures the beauty and ease of going on such a retreat—but without the heavy transportation and hotel costs. If you remove the paper cover, you’ll find the words, “Think of this book as a summer’s hike . . . “and so it is. Written during a summer spent in New Mexico, Cameron easily recreates both her inner and outer landscapes operating at the time. In short essays, she speaks of creativity, of her daily struggles and hourly triumphs, of her love for the craft and the pursuit of writing. Her writing is an invitation to join her in the process of reflection and discovery. Built on the pillars of Cameron’s earlier successful book, The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity (Inner Workbook), Cameron proves once again that she knows of what she writes and she does so with the ease and familiarity that will no doubt make any other writer jealous.

While the book can be read in one sitting, such a reading doesn’t provide time for reflection or time to sample the suggested exercises. This book is meant to be savored. The essays unfold easily, one into the other, and their rhythm and spacing allow for a deepening understanding, a gradual unfoldment of the creative process itself. As reader I enjoyed the familiar tone and the intimate sharing demonstrated by Cameron. As a writer I appreciated the craft exhibited by the essays and the gentle nudge provided by the exercises. As a person who is naturally reflective, I identified with Cameron’s almost constant need to wrestle with her creative process and chart her personal course.

If you are new to Cameron’s writings, this is a gentle opening of the door. If you are acquainted with The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity (Inner Workbook) or Cameron’s other works, The Sound of Paper: Starting from Scratch will be like a shared summer with an old friend.

(Click on the covers below for more info or browse for these and more in DWP’s Bookshop Mall found on the righthand column.)


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  • http://vikk.typepad.com/blog_trek/ Heather Aems

    You need to get back on SWA and get yourself to Sedona again. It’s time for a little down-time, so to speak. This advice comes from someone who believes firmly in the benefits of taking vacations, but who rarely gets to do so since moving to sunny (and I mean that in the most sarcastic way during this heatwave) SoCal.

  • http://vikk.typepad.com/blog_trek/ Heather Aems

    You need to get back on SWA and get yourself to Sedona again. It’s time for a little down-time, so to speak. This advice comes from someone who believes firmly in the benefits of taking vacations, but who rarely gets to do so since moving to sunny (and I mean that in the most sarcastic way during this heatwave) SoCal.

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