by Odilia Rivera Santos
Years ago, I picked up a book entitled The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. It was a book for creatives to help make us more productive and Cameron included various exercises and one strange suggestion for writers: stop reading.
Instead of stopping reading altogether, I stopped reading The Artist's Way. The suggestion of morning pages was a good one -- the author suggests writing three pages every morning. I could easily write 50 every morning, so limiting a freewrite to 3 was intriguing. The images were more vibrant and events dramatic in the condensed version, which felt like having bouillon cubes in the cupboard. I could always return to my literary bouillon, drop one in a pot of dilution material -- dialogue, setting, pauses, esoteric phrases, etc.
I published quite a few poems, nonfiction and some fiction from my morning pages. The not reading part always seemed daunting. I have always read novels, nutrition, philosophy, psychology, and poetry as if my life depended on it.
A friend today mentioned that sometimes a lonely act such as writing can use company, specifically the company of other writers.
Writing is always a liberating experience for me and it is the one constant. Regardless of my gypsy-like existence in which I appear to always be comfortable with the thought of immigrating to a foreign land or borough, writing is a nourishing constant. Without writing, I am at a loss for words and range of emotion in civilian life. My maturity and confidence in the creative realm leaves other realms in the dust.
I am most alive, relaxed, excited, happy, at ease, and happy with myself when I have made adequate room to write and get ideas out into the world.
One of my new year's resolutions is to start my new year's resolutions early.
Resolution #1: I will read only on Fridays. Ouch!
Resolution #2: I will work collaboratively with other writers.