In her multiple books and workshops, Julia Cameron repeatedly affirms that artists must let themselves play. Her logic? Our creative selves are much like children. Her various interpretations make a great deal of sense to me, especially considering how modern Western civilization discourages both artistic endeavor and play in its adults.
Grown-ups are dissuaded from doing things considered silly or worthless, which is how many people would define play. The message is that we shouldn’t be goofing off, or doing much of anything society doesn’t find redeeming. This usually equals monetary gain, though I think anything dubbed as social networking has become acceptable, however mind numbing are some of those Facebook games.
Personally, I think doodling in a notebook is redeeming. So is writing a poem or reimagining characters from a book. Quite literally, play is a form of redemption, its many glorious forms saving sanity and giving this short existence value. Whether making something with my own two hands or enjoying what others have created, these things improve my perception and very quality of life.
I’m not saying anything new or profound here. But today I perused “The Artist’s Way” to read quotes set in the page margins and one in particular stood out. None other than Pablo Picasso supports these views.
In his words:
Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.
I couldn’t agree more. Will you join me in some creative fun? How might you let yourself play this week?