Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Where in the World Has Joni Been?

As the devotees of this blog (tiny handful that they are) are aware, Joni's Window has been effectively closed for some time now.

Well, it's spring now - actually, it's almost summer - and Joni is throwing the window open again!

When last I blogged, I was spending inordinate amounts of time in my recliner, eating bad carbs and watching endless reruns of "The Sopranos."

I am happy to report that in the intervening months - as winter waned and the days grew longer and marginally sunnier - I got a bit of a life. I got busy, got out of my recliner, cut out the bad carbs (and have lost 20 pounds since February 1 - thank you South Beach Diet!), and started watching "The Sopranos" one week at a time like everyone else.

Over the winter and spring, I led an Artist's Way group at my church. For those not familiar, the Artist's Way is a 12-week program designed by Julia Cameron, described by the author as a "spiritual path for creative recovery." In other words, it's a way by which those of us who always wanted to write (or always wanted to paint, or to act, or to sing or what have you) can get back in touch with those creative desires and find a way to live them out. There are readings and exercises each week designed to get you in touch with your "artist child." (OK, stop sniggering. It may sound a little airy-fairy, but if you put aside your cynicism, it can be very enlightening, even consoling.) The two big assignments each week are Morning Pages and an Artist's Date. To do morning pages, you get up early every morning and before you do ANYTHING else, you fill 3 pages in a notebook with whatever comes into your head. There are no rules, no right or wrong - just keep putting words down. Because I am NOT a morning person (with a capital NOT), many of my morning pages begin by noting how wonderful it is to sleep and how wonderful it would be to get MORE sleep and how awful alarm clocks are and how wonderful coffee is. I have covered those topics extensively in my Morning Pages notebook.
Including myself, there were 10 people in our group - and they were all highly inspirational to me. We shared a lot of our hopes, dreams and fears - and quite a few good laughs - over the course of our 12 weeks together. I am looking forward to leading another group in the fall. I hope to touch on some of our Artist's Way experiences in upcoming posts.

About Julia Cameron: If you've never heard of her (many people haven't), she's a writer, songwriter, filmmaker, teacher and a sort of spiritual guru to creative types everywhere. Her book "The Artist's Way" has been in print since 1992, and has spawned bazillions of groups and classes all over the world. (Catty biographical note: She was also Martin Scorcese's first wife, who he dumped for Liza Minelli while he was making "New York, New York" in 1976. Interestingly enough, the final credits of "New York, New York," include a big "Special Thanks to Julia Cameron." We can only wonder what prompted this gratitude. Perhaps she was an exceptionally gracious dumpee?)I still have the original 1992 edition of the book - in which she sports a bad, frizzy 80s perm in her author photo. The other people in my group had the 10th anniversary edition of the book on which the author photo resembles a Glamour Shot, with Ms. Cameron airbrushed and glamorously coiffed. Quite a contrast.

But, anyway - back to MY life!

I've done a lot of other things over the past few months - visited friends in the Dallas suburbs(and miraculously managed to keep my views on George W to myself while visiting. As my friend said "Please don't say anything about the president. This is Bush country, and everyone has a gun.") Sang in my church's Good Friday concert of Faure's Requiem (difficult, somewhat avant garde music. If you put a gun to my head right now and said "Hum a few measures of "Agnus Dei" from Faure's Requiem or I'll shoot!" I'd have to tell you to pull the trigger. I've completely forgotten every single note in the piece. And it's not like I didn't spend a lot of time practicing it. Go figure.) Good Friday was a preternaturally summery day, and our non-air-conditioned sanctuary was a steambath that night, even with all the doors open. In my long-sleeved blouse and black winter slacks, I nearly keeled over a couple of times.

I've also been reading a bit, most recently "A Million Little Pieces." Two co-workers recommended it, so I tried to put aside the pre-conceived notions one might have about a work of fiction that has been (unsuccessfully) passed off as a searingly honest memoir.
I'm aware that my bullshit detector was turned up pretty high as a result of the notoriety surrounding this book, but I found it hard to believe that Oprah - or anyone else- thought this story was true, even before its untruth was exposed. You can always tell when James Frey is lying, 'cause that's when his book starts to sound like it was written by an inexperienced high schooler trying to sound tough and wordly - and getting every bit of it wrong. The particularly suspect parts are: 1)The opening scene on the airplane (Has anyone ever really been allowed on a plane when their shirt front is covered with blood, vomit, and snot and they're bleeding from a hole in their cheek?); 2) The "dental surgery sans anesthesia" scene (every pain cliche in the book - phrases like "white hot light" and that kind of crap); and 3)Lilly's rescue from the crackhouse (Detail after lurid, over-the-top detail - by the time he gets to the piles of rat feces in every corner and the cold, viscous slime on the stair railing, he is seriously gilding the lilly.)

Well, anyway - Since I have a life again, I plan to write about it much more frequently. I'm sure that will make the one, maybe two people who read my blog regularly want to jump for joy!!!

1 comment:

Parisjasmal said...

Glad to see you pulled out the old Windex and shined up the window!!!

James Frey--BLECH. And Oprah's whole manufactured drama about James Frey --Double Blech.

I have NO desire to read his book. I have enough of that negative stuff in my family, I do not need to READ about it

Have a great day!