Saturday, September 25, 2010

Creative Girls

Something that comes up after we have been in recovery for a while is our creative longings or aspirations. Maybe we always wanted to write a book—but instead we just bored everyone at the bar. Or maybe we kept buying art supplies and not using them, or we wanted to buy art supplies but we drank that money instead.

I think that under a lot of addiction there is art and creativity trying to surface but shoved back by substances and shame. But then, a few years into recovery, we take a baby step of telling a sponsor, “Well, I always wanted to write, dance, act, make jewelry, design my own sweaters or make sculpture.” We laugh when we say it, as if, “Isn’t that the dumbest thing?” but if we are lucky—and this is why we have them—our sponsor or other women in recovery say, “So try it.”

You know these stories from the rooms: The lawyer becomes a painter, the doctor starts dancing, the mom writes a memoir—and sells it. Part of our recovery from substance abuse also means recovering our dreams. For many of us doing something creative was a dream.

I’ve found a wonderful book to help recover and take action toward those dreams. I’m reading “Creative Girl: The Ultimate Guide for Turning Talent and Creativity into a Real Career.” This paperback/workbook is by Katharine Sise who is a jeweler, designer, fiction and nonfiction writer. She has lived the slog from secret wishes to trying several kinds of creative work to making it happen. And the best part: making it happen imperfectly!

This is not one of those “Do these three things and you can quit your job and dance with Alvin Ailey” kind of books. She talks about money and fear and holding a job to support your creative work, and fear, and starting, and starting over, and yeah, the fear --and the joy.

I don’t know this woman but she feels like someone I could have a cup of coffee with and be very comfortable talking about wanting to write and what gets in the way. This book has exercises to do—or not do. And great takeaways like the “ten minute rule”—if you are procrastinating on a creative task set a timer and just do it for ten minutes. (A common fear is getting started.)

Ours is a program of action and Sise’s book may be a helpful guide to taking a next creative step.

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