- Creative Clusters Guide (part 1)
- August 16th, 2010
by Julia Cameron
(reprinted without explicit permission, but since this is in regard to creative clusters, public sharing is implied by the author.)
When THE ARTIST'S WAY was first published, I expressed a wish for Artist's Way groups to spring into being. I envisioned them as peer-run circles--"creative clusters"--where people would serve one another as believing mirrors, uniting with the common aim of creative unblocking. It was my vision that such circles would be free of charge, that anyone could assemble one, using the book as a guide and a text. Many such peer-run circles did form and many more are forming still. Such artist-to-artist, heart-to-heart help and support are the heart of The Artist's Way movement.
Not surprisingly, many therapists, community colleges, wellness centers, universities, and teachers soon began running facilitated Artist's Way groups, for which they charged a fee. The Artist's Way groups were led rather than simply convened. To the degree to which they adhered to the spiritual principles of creative recovery and introduced people to the use of the tools, they were--and are--valuable. Any group that starts with such a leader should, however, rapidly become autonomous, "graduating" to a peer-run, nonprofit status.
There are no "accredited" Artist's Way teachers. I chose not to franchise The Artist's Way but to offer it as a gift, free of charge. It is my belief that creative recovery at its best is a nonhierarchical, peer-run, collective process. In this it differs from the academic and therapeutic modes. Any professional using The Artist's Way should realize that autonomous, peer-run creative clusters must remain the eventual goal. Facilitated groups can serve as a sort of bridge to this end.
In my years of teaching and traveling, I have frequently encountered excellent results from peer-group clusters. On occasion, I have encountered situations where The Artist's Way has been unduly modified. Whenever there is a misplaced emphasis on intellectual "analysis" or therapeutic "processing," there is the risk of undermining creative unfolding. Very often, what could be interpreted as "neurosis" or a deep-seated problem is simply creative resistance.
The Artist's Way and all my other "teaching" books are experiential books. They are intended to teach people to process and transform life through acts of creativity. Both books and all creative clusters should be practiced through creative action, not through theory. As an artist, I know this. The Artist's Way and other books are the distillate of thirty years of artistic practice.
It is my belief and my experience as a teacher that all of us are healthy enough to practice creativity. It is not a dangerous endeavor requiring trained facilitators. It is our human birthright and something we can do gently and collectively. Creativity is like breathing--pointers may help, but we do the process ourselves. Creative clusters, where we gather as peers to develop our strength, are best regarded as tribal gatherings, where creative beings raise, celebrate, and actualize the creative power which runs through us all.
- pgs. 272, 273 from Finding Water: The Art of Perseverence, copyright 2006 by Julia Cameron