journaling

marilyn in the moon

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I went off with my hands in my torn coat pockets; 
Becoming My overcoat too was ideal, 
I Travelled beneath the sky, Muse! and I was your vassal; 
Oh dear me! what marvelous loves I dreamed of!
My only pair of breeches had a big whole in ’em. 
– Stargazing Tom Thumb, I sowed rhymes along my way. 
was at the tavern My Sign of the Great Bear. 
– My stars in the sky rustled softly.
Listened to ’em and I, sitting on the road-sides 
On Those pleasant evenings while I felt September drops 
Of dew on my forehead like vigorous wine;
And while, rhyming Among the fantastical shadows, 
I plucked like the strings of a lyre the elastics 
Of my tattered boots, one foot close to my heart!
Arthur Rimbaud
i can remember writing with intention for the 1st time at 16. i was engulfed in melancholy about leaving home and making hard decisions although that is hindsight describing them. at the time- i was just puffed up like a blowfish reacting to a fearful situation and i penned a simile poem  about the vastness of the once-seen ocean as it reflected the enormous terra i had stumbled upon in my world.
i didn’t write again for about 8 years. i did however, craft a number of drug inspired song lyrics sung to the tune of “i can’t really sing” and performed on the front steps of brownstones along chicago’s near-north side. these were seldom heard by anybody else but me. however there was a time i deciphered an image of marilyn monroe in the face of the moon. on many warmer weather nights, i crooned unabashedly to her image and bled some poison from my soul somehow feeling connected to the tragic quality her life represented. 
i journaled for awhile from 1983 until 1985- sporadically at best, and i got a taste of the relief that this activity could provide. life, however, hadn’t provided me with the surety required to make syncopated entries. at best there were scribbles and partial cave drawings which upon revisit conjure up ghost fragments which are both chaotic and sublime. 
since my hiv diagnosis in 1985 until 2005 after finding recovery, i had mostly  hidden this specific part of me from the world and worked hard to deep it separate. this certainly fueled my addiction. the darkness that settled in those years left scars and pockmarks that still  have memory. but i picked up writing again in 2006 in the form of blogging and have been adding entries without fail since then. this is the 2nd generation blog and a style may have begun to emerge. i have found peace, distortion, friendship, inspiration, trauma, challenge, freedom, and fight through the tip-tapping of the keyboard as my musical instrument crafting my lyrics and music to my inspirational  marilyn in the moon. 
i am very clear that i write because i am able and because it pets my soul like i might caress a chinchilla collar. it keeps me warm and feels like a hug. there are many times when i can’t feel my muse. this is overshadowed always by the times that there is clearly a constellation of the points of light in my world. 

starting a group- the artist’s way

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A Guide for Starting Creative Clusters

Creative ClustersWhen The Artist’s™ Way was first published, I expressed a wish for Artist’s™ Way groups to spring into being. I envisioned them as peer-run circles – “creative clusters” where people would serve one another as believing mirrors, uniting with the common aim of creative unblocking. It was my vision that such circles would be free of charge, that anyone could assemble one, using the book as a guide and a text. Many such peer-run circles did form and many more are forming still. Such artist-to-artist, heart-to-heart help and support are the heart of The The Artist’s™ Way and The Vein of Gold.
Not surprisingly, many therapists, community colleges, wellness centers, universities, and teachers soon began running facilitated Artist’s™ Way groups, for which they charged a fee. The Artist’s™Way groups were led rather than simply convened. To the degree to which they adhered to the spiritual principles of creative recovery and introduced people to the use of the tools, they were – and are – valuable. Any group that starts with such a leader should, however, rapidly become autonomous, “graduating” to a peer-run, nonprofit status.
There are no “accredited” Artist’s™ Way teachers. I chose not to franchise The Artist’s™ Way but to offer it as a gift, free of charge. It is my belief that creative recovery at its best is a nonhierarchical, peer-run, collective process. In this it differs from the academic and therapeutic models. Any professional using The Artist’s™ Way should realize that autonomous, peer-run creative clusters must remain the eventual goal. Facilitated groups can serve as a sort of bridge to this end.
In my years of teaching and traveling, I have frequently encountered excellent results from peer-group clusters. On occasion, I have encountered situations where The Artist’s™ Way has been unduly modified. Whenever there is a misplaced emphasis on intellectual “analysis” or therapeutic “processing,” there is the risk of undermining creative unfolding. Very often, what could be interpreted as “neurosis” or a deep-seated problem is simply creative resistance.
The Artist’s™ Way and The Vein of Gold and all my other “teaching” books are experiential books. They are intended to teach people to process and transform life through acts of creativity. Both books and all creative clusters should be practiced through creative action, not through theory. As an artist, I know this. The Artist’s™ Way and other books are the distillate of thirty years of artistic practice.
It is my belief and my experience as a teacher that all of us are healthy enough to practice creativity. It is not a dangerous endeavor requiring trained facilitators. It is our human birthright and something we can do gently and collectively. Creativity is like breathing – pointers may help, but we do the process ourselves. Creative clusters, where we gather as peers to develop our strength, are best regarded as tribal gatherings, where creative beings raise, celebrate, and actualize the creative power which runs through us all.

Guidelines

  1. Use a Twelve-Week Process with a Weekly Gathering of Two to Three Hours. The morning pages and artist dates are required of everyone in the group, including facilitators. The exercises are done in order in the group, with everyone, including the facilitator, answering the questions and then sharing the answers in clusters of four, one chapter per week. Do not share your morning pages with the group or anyone else. Do not reread your morning pages until later in the course, if you are required to do so by your facilitator or your own inner guidance.
  2. Avoid Self-Appointed Gurus. If there is any emissary, it is the work itself, as a collective composed of all who take the course, at home or otherwise. Each person is equally a part of the collective, no one more than another. While there may be”teachers,” facilitators who are relied on during the twelve-week period to guide others down the path, such facilitators need to be prepared to share their own material and take their own creative risks. This is a dialectic rather than a monologue – an egalitarian group process rather than a hierarchical one.
  3. Listen. We each get what we need from the group process by sharing our own material and by listening to others. We do not need to comment on another person’s sharing in order to help that person. We must refrain from trying to”fix” someone else. Each group devises a cooperative creative “song” of artistic recovery. Each group’s song is unique to that group – like that of a pod or family of whales, initiating and echoing to establish their position. When listening, go around the circle without commenting unduly on what is heard. The circle, as a shape, is very important. We are intended to witness, not control, one another. When sharing exercises, clusters of four within the larger groups are important: five tends to become unwieldy in terms of time constraints; three doesn’t allow for enough contrasting experience. Obviously, not all groups can be divided into equal fours. Just try to do so whenever you can.
  4. Respect One Another. Be certain that respect and compassion are afforded equally to every member. Each person must be able to speak his own wounds and dreams. No one is to be”fixed” by another member of the group. This is a deep and powerful internal process. There is no one right way to do this. Love is important. Be kind to yourself. Be kind to one another.
  5. Expect Change in the Group Makeup. Many people will – some will not – fulfill the twelve-week process. There is often a rebellious or fallow period after the twelve weeks, with people returning to the disciplines later. When they do, they continue to find the process unfolding within them a year, a few years, or many years later. Many groups have a tendency to drive apart at eight to ten weeks (creative U-turns) because of the feelings of loss associated with the group’s ending. Face the truth as a group; it may help you stay together.
  6. Be Autonomous. You cannot control your own process, let alone anyone else’s. Know that you will feel rebellious occasionally – that you won’t want to do all of your morning pages and exercises at times in the twelve weeks. Relapse is okay. You cannot do this process perfectly, so relax, be kind to yourself, and hold on to your hat. Even when you feel nothing is happening, you will be changing at great velocity. This change is a deepening into your own intuition, your own creative self. The structure of the course is about safely getting across the bridge into new realms of creative spiritual awareness.
  7. Be Self-Loving. If the facilitator feels somehow “wrong” to you, change clusters or start your own. Continually seek your own inner guidance rather than outer guidance. You are seeking to form an artist-to-artist relationship with the Great Creator. Keep gurus at bay. You have your own answers within you.

reprinted from theartistsway.com

and in the spirit of the creative source, an homage to the concept of creating something new- the remix. remixes are the newer generations nod to appreciation of an piece of art and building upon it. this is one of many many remixes that have made an impact on me.