Thank heaven I have a new book to blog for, or I might never get back here! I have blogger's block bad... but I'm hoping this book might help a bit (I just had to get all those b's in there.. I love alliteration).
So far I like the book. I read Chapter 1, Week 1, today. I appreciate Gail McMeekin's voice in the first chapter, which rings with honesty. I also can relate to much of what she writes about, as a woman in this culture, and as someone who has struggled with chronic illness. And with the excitement she feels for art-making.
The thing that struck me most today though was the first line I read when I opened the book at random. It was a question - to remember the last time I felt so passionate about something, I would do anything to get it, do it, be with it. What I remembered was coming across a description of a year-long course called 'Somatic Spirit' at the Strozzi Institute. The course, which included a river trip in the middle, was an exploration of living in the body, all of our bodies. The description ran something like: the more we seek to live from the body, directly experiencing life, the more we experience ourselves as many bodies, or no body. The more we live in the body, the more we contact spirit, and the more we can be helpful. This was my kind of thing I would do anything to have/go to/learn. Something about holding the space for the physical, biological body, at the same time as spirit, excites me to no end. I want that! I want both. This is obviously an important learning for me, and it made me think about my attraction to art, or the place of art for me.
I haven't particularly identified as an "artistic type" up until now, so I've been wondering what I might do with this new interest. What does it mean - why am I interested? Why are other people interested? I thought today that what I am primarily interested in is not paint, words, or anything else, though I love them, but wanting to know more about, be more directly in the experience of, the deepest self. Wanting to know more about the nature of life. And why? So I can love. So that I know that those I love, and all others, will be loved; that we are held in this universe with care, and ultimate meaning. And sometimes art brings me to this bigger sense of self, and connection. The sensuality, expression, joyfulness, and community of art-making are also important reasons for me, especially joy. A part of me is finding it difficult to expand my identity to include "artist", but a part of me is just skipping off to join this fun.
And that's what I've done so far with the book.