Julia Cameron began writing at age 18 and has been writing full-time for 43 years. She is a very prolific, as revealed in her writings in The Artist's Way Series, other books on creativity, prayer books, books on spirituality, fiction, plays, poetry, a feature film, and a memoir. Cameron is a Living Spiritual Teacher on our website. Hurtling at breakneck speed through another year in her life, she decided to slow down and "string together the beautiful beads that make up my life." The result is this diary of sorts with vignettes from Cameron's everyday life on New York's Upper West Side.
The mythology surrounding writers is that they are individuals who enjoy being alone and far from the madding crowd. Cameron's life is just the opposite: she is enmeshed in a variety of relationships with friends, collaborators, and other artists. They help, inspire, and encourage her. She finds that her creativity is enriched just being around them on a regular basis.
Cameron certainly keeps busy resurrecting Avalon, her first musical; teaching "The Right to Write"; drafting a collection of short-stories; and working with other creative folk on a variety of projects. In the class she teaches, she discovers that a lot of people are grumpy; she concludes that this depressing state often stems from setting the writing bar too high and not meeting one's own expectations. They play a game called "popcorn" in which they give each other positive feedback.
Cameron shares her relationship with Nigel, her inner censor who is on her back for having lost her voice. Meanwhile, it is pouring outside and her dogs, Tiger Lily and Charlotte, are responding in very different ways to the rain. Bothered by Nigel's criticism and bewildered by what to do about a book deadline she can't make, Cameron calls her friend Sophy Burnham for advice. This wise writer reminds her that an acronym for fear is "False Evidence Appearing Real."
Cameron is to be commended for sharing a glimpse of her creative life and for having the courage to reveal her personal flaws, emotional vulnerabilities, and writing crises. It is good to know that she has no qualms about relying upon others for help, inspiration, and encouragement when she needs it. We were especially impressed with her philosophy that although creativity is sometimes dramatic, more often and more happily "it comes to us with quiet urgency. Our days are calm and our creativity bubbles along like a gentle stream."