This year as I celebrate 25 years of my card business, Ampersand Cards, I’m marking 25 years of self-employment and my life as an artist. This is also my 25th year of writing daily Morning Pages, a la Julia Cameron and her book The Artist’s Way.
I always verge on saying that her wonderful book changed my life, but I think it’s more accurate to say that her book inspired me to change my life. With her words in my head, I left a soul-crushing job and struck out on my own, with writing and art. I have never looked back.
So I began the daily ritual of writing Morning Pages. This is one of the key components in Julia Cameron’s instructive course. First thing in the morning you write out, in longhand, three pages (give or take) of whatever comes to you. It is a kind of emptying out, letting loose all the big and little threads of thought/feeling that are roaming around in your brain. It can be a great way to work through all sorts of problems and issues, too. It has been the best part of her teaching, for me. Not a discipline, as many people seem to think, but for me a daily ritual that is one of the loveliest and most welcome parts of my day. And this year marks 25 years of doing it almost every single day, wherever I happen to be. Most days I want to have just a few more moments.
I always write sitting up in bed, a cup of tea by my side, one or two dogs lying by me, the tree-filled east view out my windows. Perfect. But now that I’m older, it hurts my low back to sit like that. Ugh. I’ve tried a few things to make it better ergonomically but the results are only minimally helpful. To think of doing it anywhere else is horrifying! And there is absolutely no room in my bedroom for any sort of chair. Anyway, a chair. Really? I don’t think so. I guess it’s a little silly to carry on like this when it hurts, but nothing I’ve come up with is as satisfying. No, I believe I’ll trudge along as I’ve been doing. I only have to hobble for a brief while after I stand up. It doesn’t take that long to unwind my back . . .
When you find a thing that is just so satisfying it seems ridiculous to stop, doesn’t it?
“For me starting the day without a pot of tea would be a day forever out of kilter.” ― Bill Drummond, $20,000: A Book
“Pages clarify our yearnings. They keep an eye on our goals. They may provoke us, coax us, comfort us, even cajole us, as well as prioritize and synchronize the day at hand. If we are drifting, the pages will point that out. They will point the way True North. Each morning, as we face the page, we meet ourselves. The pages give us a place to vent and a place to dream. They are intended for no eyes but our own.”― Julia Cameron, The Miracle of Morning Pages
“Think of your pages like a whisk broom. You stick the broom into all the corners of your consciousness. If you do this first thing in the morning, you are laying out your track for the day. Pages tell you of your priorities. With the pages in place first thing, you are much less likely to fall in with others’ agendas. Your day is your own to spend. You’ve claimed it.” ― Julia Cameron, The Miracle of Morning Pages
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Thanks for listening,
P.S. MerryThoughts is the name of my first book, out of print at the moment. The word is a British one, referring both to a wishbone and to the ritual of breaking the wishbone with the intention of either having a wish granted or being the one who marries first, thus the “merry thoughts.”