An epiphany of sorts hit me as I was commuting to work on the train not too long ago: I’m a good writer, dammit. I need to write. A lot. Not just pages or Facebook posts. Something substantial. Everybody knows it, is impressed by it, and says I should do something with it—but I don’t. Julia Cameron, in The Artist’s Way, says that the refusal to be creative is self-will and contrary to G-d’s plan for us. This is something to keep in mind.
What prompted this epiphany?
There was an artist sitting in the 3 row on the train next to me. She was doing a pencil drawing of a peacock feather, from memory, without any self-consciousness whatsoever.
There had to be a reason that this artist sat next to me. I surmised that we probably would end up not saying a word to each other after that encounter—but maybe she was an angel, a messenger from the Great Creator to tell me that just like she was sitting right here on the train and unselfconsciously drawing her feathers, I can do my art, in whatever my chosen medium is, and do it anywhere. Artists like other artists, Julia Cameron says. When a third person came to sit in this 3-row, rather than get up and let the third party sit in the middle, the artist scooted over next to me. It was probably easier for her to do than get up and move all her stuff, but the net result was the same. I remember hearing or reading of some experiment in which two newborn babies were put in the crib together and one baby was in another crib by himself. The two did better in terms of health than the one. Something about the positive energy of being with another. I think the two babies were brothers—two of a kind. She was warm—radiating a kind of warmth while she drew, and I felt it. Not a sexual or sensual kind of warmth; just a warmth generated by positive creative energy. It was really incredible. Just as I was getting too down on myself for not doing anything in my creative life … this happened. Truly an angel from the Great Creator. Better an artist than another corporately dressed businesswoman, any day.
The bottom line is—I just need to make my art, wherever I am. It doesn’t have to prevent me from going ahead with whatever other plans I have. Wherever I go, there I am. How Zen is that. But it’s true. I can take my pictures and write my songs wherever I go.
"Pretty Pencil Peacock," by Amy Nelson (no idea if this was the artist on the train)