Making art is an act of faith. It does take courage to share ourselves with the world. I call myself a “floor sample” of my own tool kit: my tools are born of practice, not theory. One of the questions I am most frequently asked is whether I still do Morning Pages and Artist’s Dates myself. The answer is yes. The tools I developed in The Artist’s Way are the tools I still use today in my own writing practice. When people ask me how I am so prolific, I sound like a broken record: by consistently doing Morning Pages and Artist’s Dates. I won’t share my morning pages here, but I’d like to post some excerpts from the work that is born of–or rather, created because of–them.
It interests me that you don’t believe in God, yet you still believe in creativity. For myself, I do not differentiate between God and creative energy. I do not picture God “out there.” In-stead, I tend to think we are all made of God making some-thing more of itself To put it differently, we are all creations of the Great Creator and we are intended to continue creativity ourselves.
Did you know Einstein called God “the Old One”? He was a highly spiritual man but not a religious one. At root, he believed that matter and energy were the same essence, that mass was made of energy. This has interesting implications for an artist. It posits a universe made of pure creative energy—which you may or may not call God. Everything is made from this energy, and that includes art. That makes God the Great Creator, or the great artist, whether you choose to believe it or not.
Because artists work from their inner core, many of us have experiences of inspiration, which I would define as conscious contact with the divine. I believe we achieve the same transcendent state making art that meditators achieve when they meditate. Time and space drop away. We are utterly absorbed by what we are making. Painter Robert Motherwell talks about the “brush taking the next stroke.” When we are acting on inspiration, we lose our sense of ourselves as individuals. The art moves through us as our ego stands aside. For a writer, the word seems to find the next word. For an actor, the gesture seems to find the next gesture. This is why writers learn to “drop down the well” and let go. This is why actors learn to be in the moment. What is being in the moment but being in touch with God, who might also be called the Great Now?
Now, you are young and you have one hopes, a long time to think about all of this. Better yet, you have time to experiment, Do not take my word for anything. Try letting a creative force work through you and see if you don’t work more freely than when you consider yourself to be the “author” of your art.
It’s just an idea.
Excerpted from Letters to a Young Artist – pg 37-8