Posted by: mew | August 18, 2009

Some Modifications to the Contract

So we’re starting out on Week 1, officially tomorrow, and I’m just getting around to signing my contract today.  I’m a little behind because I couldn’t find my copy of The Artist’s Way.  I think I loaned the book out, and it just didn’t make it back yet.  I may have given it away.  At one time I had two copies, and I know I gave one to a friend.  F. and I scoured the house and went through the many, many bookcases several times, and suddenly he pointed to a stack of journals and papers on my dresser.

“Isn’t that it?”

Well, it looked just like it.  The spine of an old “official version” of the Morning Pages journal was protruding from the untidy mess.  When I yanked it out, though, I realized it was the journal I’d kept on my first attempt at this course, begun in May of 2001.  The sight of the date, written on the original contract in my own hand, sent flashes of memory to my mind’s eye and a variety of emotions swooping through my gut.

Gratitude for having started the unblocking process.  Guilt, regret and grief that I had not valued myself enough to finish, to trust myself, to keep going.

Around week 10, doing TAW solo, I’d quit.  Quite suddenly, as I recall.  I have no idea why I did that.  Julia mentions something about creative U-turns somewhere towards the end of the course — is it possible I took one?  (At such a speed that I nearly flipped the car?)  I think I do owe myself a trip back through those pages sometime, just to see if I can uncover the mystery.  I’m not inclined to do so just yet.  Facing more evidence of my self-sabotaging tendencies would run counter to the excited, new-beginning energy I’m feeling as I start again.

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In motion again...

It’s great to be moving forward, with a group for support, and to feel really committed to doing the course properly this time.  I am going to persevere to the finish line.  I know it.  (And, my fellow artists, please feel free to encourage me!  I am already inspired by looking at all the blog pages of my many cluster-mates.  Robyn has gathered such an amazing group.)

But because I’ve been through TAW before — at least, through 83% of it, I know I have to make a couple of modifications to the contract before I sign.  Ever since I blew out the curve in my Contracts class, I cannot sign something unless I’ve read and agree with every word.  I suppose I can be glad my short stint in law school taught me a few things:  to beware the law, which is borderline insane, and that being a whiz at something doesn’t mean it’s the right path for you.*  Anyway, I’m adding three provisions to the contract:

  1. I must, must, must do the Artist Date every week.  There is no flexibility on this.  I will not invite others along.  I will not make excuses.  I will not apologize.  I am trying to think of  a consequence dire enough to correspond to a violation of this provision of the contract.  I’ll think of something – and feel free to make suggestions.  (Might be fun to come up with creative punishments….)  Ignoring my artist child, who is so valuable and so worthy and has been so mistreated over the years, is a despicable act, and I will no longer tolerate this behavior.  I commit to spending two hours per week with my artist child, just the two of us — and I mean it!
  2. I will write out my chosen affirmations.  This is because my flitting-around, can’t-settle-to-anything personality does not do well with nebulous instructions like, “Read them through once a day, and keep an inner ear cocked for any shifts in attitudes or beliefs.”  What this results in is forgetting all about the things by week three.  I’m borrowing an idea from my sister (I told you she’d show up again), who decided to take some of Shakti Gawain’s wonderful affirmations (from Creative Visualization) and write them out five times at the end of her Morning Pages, choosing three per week to focus on.  She then progressed to doing them with her non-dominant left hand — a practice I’m incapable of following.  (I’ll explain why if anybody’s interested.)  But when I added even one affirmation to the end of my Morning Pages, I saw dramatic results in my attitude and my life.  I will focus on two of the Basic Principles per week of the course and write them down in my notebook every day.
  3. And now, as to Morning Pages.  Ah, the MPs.  Can I just say I love them?  After my failed attempt (or nearly completed journey – I really have to watch my negative self-talk) to do TAW back in 2001, I had made the MPs a habit.  One I was in no hurry to give up.  They’ve been an important part of my life ever since, and I’ve accumulated a lot of notebooks.  Thing is, I got lazy about closing the loop.  I quit rereading the pages some time ago, and I really need to find the time to listen to what I’ve been telling myself.  (For those of you just beginning the course, don’t dare do this!  Don’t even look at the pages until week eight!)  I will not read the pages I write starting tomorrow morning, but I will make time every weekend for the duration of the course to reread some of the Morning Pages written over the last year.

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I guess I can sign now — and I’ll be ready to put my foot down on the path tomorrow morning, along with everyone else.  I’m pretty excited.

Happy trails, y’all!

*Note:  This post is dedicated to Dr. Edens, who said in astonishment, “But you do know you can quit law school?  It is allowed.  In fact, I think you might want to try writing books, instead of making yourself so miserable you want to die.” Thanks for the advice.

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Responses

  1. College professors are the best, aren’t they? One of mine, a Pulitzer-nominated author, told me there was a book in my head if I’d let it out. Here goes.

    Thank you for your lovely comments on my blog. I look forward to getting to know you better during the course.

  2. […] I have difficulty with this assignment, as you probably guessed from reading my personalized contract provisions.  I tend to undervalue play in life.  I think it is probably the result of the accumulation of […]


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