“By setting the jumps too high and making the price tag too great, the recovering artist sets defeat in motion.” – Julia Cameron
All of Cameron’s books are great, she is a big part of the reason I have been a functional artist all my adult life. That is, I make stuff, and I have a nice life, too. I have never, for example, shot my wife during a party.
The bit of hers that I remembered today is that when you set goals (jumps) for yourself, set ones that won’t spook you, and don’t move them around to sabotage yourself.
I got the sensation someone else was doing this to me today, and this made me think I must do it to myself, and it must make me crazy (you know how that works, nothing pisses you off as much as other people treating you the shitty way you treat yourself).
My jumps, traditionally, are:
1. writing Saturday and Sunday and one other day a week, at least an hour.
2. do everything I can to get my students to spend as much time as possible engaged in reading and writing
3. sweaty exercise 30 minutes at least once a week
These are all quite approachable jumps, so I could get through the week (I always think in weeks) and get ’em all. But I prefer to get crazy and reset the jumps, especially if they seem “too easy”:
1. Have won a Pulitzer Prize before age 30. (Especially difficult after 30.)
2. Make my students be respectful and learn and enjoy doing it.
3. Be immortal.
These are less approachable.
On the way to work this morning, I had no idea why I was teaching, I wanted to do anything but go to school except I couldn’t think of what that was, maybe just ride the subway all day, up and around and around.
After my two morning classes talking with kids about the Vietnam War, I loved my job and thought it was the best.
Then in the afternoon I had a mouthy, not-together class, and I decided I was not cut out to be a teacher, I can’t do anything right or please anyone, that includes myself.
It was not an unusual day.
More low jumps:
1. When you’re furious or furiously depressed, let yourself feel it.
2. Just go on and feel it.
3. Maybe a little more.
4. Still there? Yeah, you’re all right.