Julia Cameron? Umm… flakey eccentric. I’m reading her autobiography Floor Sample and though she’s admired and respected by many for having written The Artist’s Way, The Right to Write, and many other instructional books, novels, and screenplays, I think she’s a little flakey, odd, unconventional. Or maybe a lot. That’s not necessarily a bad thing and it certainly makes for interesting reading.
Here’s what I’ve learned from her autobiography so far: she drank a lot, did drugs, blacked out frequently, became a writer, married Martin Scorcese, had a baby, left the baby with the nanny while she got drunk, divorced Martin Scorcese, moved, got sober, made friends with sober alcoholics, wrote, asked God for guidance, moved, wrote, moved, wrote, made friends with more sober alcholics, moved, made a film, taught, held creativity seminars, married someone else, bought a horse, bought a pony, bought another horse, traded a pony, got another pony, asked God for guidance, went to Taos and left her child with relatives, asked God for guidance, got her father to pay for the downpayment on a house, took lots of walks, felt stifled, asked God for guidance, wrote, left her child with friends, asked Scorcese for money to transport a sick horse, went to Taos, realized she was psychic, made her elderly father drive across the country so she could write in the car, wondered if her move would be right for her child, moved anyway, had her 2nd marriage fall apart, heard the page speak to her, went to London…
Whew! It’s a rather strange book. Everything appears to happen so quickly…Martin Scorcese was intelligent and attractive. We talked for 4 hours. Two weeks later I moved in with him.
No doubt Cameron is introspective, impulsive and intense. But reading this, I get the impression that she does just as she pleases. She considers how her choices might impact other people for all of 30 seconds, and then does whatever she wants, whatever her gut tells her to do, anyway.
This lifestyle works really well if you are a writer born into money and the ex-wife of a famous movie director who can pay for security deposits, private schools, plane tickets, horses and riding lessons. She alludes to her starving artist-single mother status but I’m not buying it. Real starving artist- single mothers don’t buy horses and travel abroad. They eat a lot of macaroni and cheese.
I wish my gut wasn’t so practical and concerned with things like health care coverage, stability and the welfare of my family. I could be flakey bohemian too. I’m all for celebrating creativity. Half my introverted life is spent following creative urges then shooting down my efforts.
Despite her peculiarities, her ideas about unleashing creativity have gained her lots of admirers. And what I respect most is that she remained an artist to her core and refused to turn her books into a “creativity franchise” as she was urged to do. She allows people to use her books on their own for their own purposes. She plants seeds of possibility that we are all creative and we need only to find our creative purpose to be able to shine.
Shine on you crazy diamond. That has nothing to do with the rest of the post, just a nod to Pink Floyd.