The word ‘express’ has a number of connotations — you can express yourself through the words that you say or write, through painting or sculpting, with music and dance.
Express also connotes high speed as in an express train or express post. It can also mean to show or reveal e.g., the smile on your face shows your happiness, or you can express your anger through your tone of voice.
It also means to press or squeeze out, for instance essential oils of citrus are expressed from the peels of the fruit.
I have no difficulty expressing my opinions or showing my emotions, but when it comes to being creative, finding my voice with my writing, it seems that it has to be expressed in the way of pressing or squeezing it out. Such a painful process!
To help with the creative process I’ve been reading Julia Cameron’s book, The sound of paper. The subtitle—Inspiration and practical guidance for starting the creative process—caught my eye as I’m always on the look out for inspiration with creativity.
Before you do anything else, Cameron recommends that you make three creative tools part of your routine:
- Morning pages – writing three pages of longhand (in the morning) about anything you like.
- Artist dates – a once-a-week festive outing which you do alone. She says that you should choose something that enchants and interests you.
- Walks – a twenty-minute walk, two or three times a week and an additional weekly hour long walk.
Intriguing that these are tools for creativity, do you agree?
I’ve started the Morning pages, and found that I don’t lift the pen from the paper til the three pages are done. However, I have kept a journal for a long time, so that may help.
And walks with the Princess dog Lily are part of my routine already.
The Artist date was a little difficult as I generally don’t go on dates alone and so far, I haven’t been on one. But I have found something I’ve been wanting to do for ages and it’s in the diary (more on that in another post).
The book has very short chapters with thought-provoking titles like Setting off, Drama, The storm and Seasonality, and at the end of each one there is an exercise to complete.
The picture above is my attempt at the task of Setting off. You collect a number of magazines and cut out images that speak to you, and paste them onto a sheet of cardboard. Cameron says that your collage is, “a portrait of your consciousness at this point in time”.
I think it’s also a way to express yourself, to find the personality lurking under the surface. You can discover a lot about yourself from your choices. I found myself drawn to images with different shades of pink, pictures of beautiful houses and landscape images – a number of them featuring water. And I especially like the text ‘Little wild child’ which I like to think is a latent force beneath my introvert temperament.
The next part of the task is to use words which describe your personal discoveries. This is where it becomes interesting!
Another task is The life of the imagination. Cameron suggests that certain phrases expand our imaginations in positive directions. She asks you to number from 1 to 10 and complete the phrase, “If the best of all possible worlds were reality, . . .” ten times, as quickly as possible.
‘Best’ is the important word here. She believes that we can start making the best a reality by starting to do things differently.
The book has lovely essays which are inspiring to read and interesting exercises which aren’t difficult.
If you have, like me, sat in front of the blank page and found no spark, or felt a rising tide of panic, then The sound of paper may be just the thing to unleash your creativity and allow you to express yourself in the way you see yourself in your imagination.
Go on, I dare you to express yourself!
PS: This blog post is my interpretation of the Weekly photo challenge: Express yourself.