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By Teaching I Learn

I first learned that I should teach as I was out on a walk. It was 1980 or 1981. I was praying for a sense of direction and I heard, "teach." I was shocked. I wanted a creative idea, and teaching seemed punitive to me. I called a girlfriend up, distraught.

"I'm praying for my next creative action," I told her, "and I keep getting told to teach."

"I'll call you right back," my girlfriend said. And, fifteen minutes later, my phone rang.

"Congratulations," said my friend. "You're now on the faculty of the New York Feminist Art Institute. Your first class convenes Thursday."

And so, that Thursday, I met with a room full of blocked artists. Over twelve weeks time, I taught them what I knew about unblocking. Sure enough, they tried the tools and they became unblocked. This was truly exciting to me. I agreed to teach the class again.

I could never have known that what was being birthed would ten years later be published as The Artist's Way.

Also amazing to me was the impact that teaching had on my own work. I discovered that as I taught unblocking, I myself became further and further unblocked. Rather than undoing my work, as mythology might tell us, teaching helped me to work more freely.

This has continued to be true for all the years, all the classes, and all the books that have transpired since.

No matter how many times I teach the tools, I always find it exciting. Every class is unique, yet they all respond to the basic Artist's Way toolkit.

It's thrilling to me that I have been invited to teach in Holland next month. It's like planting a garden--I know that my students will blossom.