Week 3: Detective Work Part I


Dividing this into three parts for my own sanity.

Favorite childhood toy: Usually a doll – Sally, Snoopy, a Raggedy Ann. X-files of course ruined them all for me. Looking back I think I really wanted a real best friend, the kind I never truly got.

Favorite childhood game: Badminton. It was one that was dependent on cooperation and concentration – it seemed like a good mental reset, and usually led to me getting on well with my sibling.

Best movie I ever saw as a kid was Clash of the Titans. I still haven’t watched the remake. I think it seeded the possibility of Paganism in my mind, even if I now do often feel quite unpleasantly like a chess piece that gets moved around.

I don’t do it much but I enjoy collage. I was resistant to it at first, working through Vein of Gold, but it’s actually both effective therapeutically and magically. I’ve been trying to find time and space to do it lately – I forget how much prep is actually involved though.

If I could lighten up a little, I’d let myself go to one of those TV writers meetups. I’m utterly daunted by the writing scene here which is why I’ve barely entered it as of yet.

Enemies of my Creative Self Worth

There have been far less since childhood. But there are a few from back then that I didn’t visit in my Creative Monsters Hall of Fame.

Mary Gullick, Zoe Gullick, Marjory Gullick, Chloe Gullick - outside Altoncourt, Killara? c.1909 from Gullick family, c.1909-1922 / photographed by William Applegate Gullick

Mrs. Bleach

My kindergarten teacher  –  she often complained of my daydreaming too much. She  definitely valued me less than the other students. When most of them accidentally called her “mommy” she let it slide. But since she really hated my mother for reasons unknown to me, she really would not let me call her that. She also often demanded I ask for the bathroom “properly” as in “May I got to the restroom?” when other five year olds in equal need of relief could just ask for any old term that didn’t get their pants peed in. Obviously there was more to the attitudinal abuse than just misunderstood creativity – and more’s the irony, it came out that she’s distantly related to me. Perhaps she’s one of those that caught the narcissism gene, and given I was already large at 5, she probably identified the scapegoat gene in me.

Mrs. Pile-of-

My first grade teacher – another one who had some shit with my mother going on behind the scenes. She often liked to blame me when someone near me talked to me in class, reprimanding me instead of the real instigator. When I told her that she was mistaken (since she only seemed to notice when I spoke) she seemed to take some glee in saying I “had the shoe on the wrong foot.” Years later she tried to convince me a dog that was not mine was mine – she just had this condescending view of me, and truly thought I was stupid. She then got defensive when I snapped at her that I could recognize my own dog.

Mrs. Rat

My fifth grade teacher, who, notably, had some kind of friendship with my kindergarten and first grade teachers. She really had a weird fixation on me, and despite often disciplining me with little or no cause – once for smiling during a lesson, not even disrupting anything – seemed to think I should remember her fondly. I don’t. I distinctly remember her giving a good citizen award to every girl in my class except me. She also demanded that I become a “scholar.” I was 11. 11 year olds do not need to be scholars, they just need to turn in their homework on time, which I did. She seemed convinced i did not belong in the Gifted and Talented program – my test scores were low the year before because I was ill and my mother did not really prioritize my healthcare like someone who wants her child to live a long and healthy life. Honestly, I wasn’t “pretty” like the other girls in the gifted program, and that was where her insistence I didn’t belong came from. I’m well aware that the attitudes of all three teachers had everything to do with fat bigotry, but also with some bizarre ongoing conversation about my family. Ironically, she was the one that found the poem I wrote and dropped forgotten – but I suspect it was really Mrs. Wilden, the more open-minded of the fifth grade teachers, that recognized I could write.

I was friends with one of my fourth grade teacher’s sons in my late teens/early twenties. When I told his mom these stories later on, she refused to believe me.

Artist’s Way: My Blurts, My Affirmations

Unidentified woman trying on hat in front of mirror, Washington

Blurt: I’ll never be good enough for the San Francisco writer’s scene.

Affirmation: I am worthy of participation in my new community.

Blurt:This place is too big – I’ll get lost in it.

Affirmation:  I will find my way.

Blurt:People will reject me because of my body/appearance.

Affirmation: My body is a vehicle that delivers me to the people I will most benefit from knowing.

Blurt:There are people out there looking to take advantage of me.

Affirmation: I will find friends worthy of my trust.

Artist’s Way: Take 3

Sometimes in creative recovery you have to rewalk the steps, even after great successes. This is what’s happening with me right now. At the moment, my life is chaos – I am living in San Francisco, and much of my life has changed. While I have two books coming out this year, I am feeling out of touch with that deep, listening part of me that creates art. So I am once again walking the Artist’s Way myself, hoping to dig into my new framework. Especially since I am learning so much of self really is tied to geography.

A little mitzvah for you all…

For those of you that find daily affirmations helpful, I put a little something together.

Here are the Principles of the Artist’s way – in a slideshow.

Also, the base affirmations are here, also in a slideshow.

You can bookmark these and do your daily affirmations before you get started.

Also, if you haven’t already caught it, Julia Cameron is now teaching the Artist’s Way online.

Video: How to Write Badly, Well

The exercise in Sound of Paper today is not good for public disclosure. When that happens, I’m trying to find videos on creativity, art appreciation bits, photography, or blog posts from other people traveling the Artist’s Way path.

Today’s about writing badly resonates with me. I have been making the last few years the path of the beginner. I lived with two perfectionists growing up – and as a fat child, I was utterly imperfect, beyond correction, and I am still treated by them as though this is some infraction I have committed against them personally because I am not exactly who they demanded I be. (No, G.O.D committed the infraction – it was one of this little “f you’s,” that the Creative Force drops after it watches things go on for awhile – sort of like this particular f-u from God to free-will interfering conservatives.) Instead, I have pursued my life as my fat, highly organized yet at times messy and beautiful self.*

What I’ve also been doing is taking up things I kinda/sorta want to do but told myself I couldn’t. I’m actually glorying in the criticism I’m getting of the bad art in Spellcasting picture book, and the perspective is helping me with the play I’m doing a first draft of as I dive heavily into the revisions of the Divorcing a Real Witch book. I can do it badly! Yes! It’s way more important than making it perfect. Someone else can fiddle with formatting and duck away from actually writing because it’s not “just right.” I get the secret:





*I have a really good life. It’s way better than what those tools were trying to force me into. And I am grateful for the composite DNA from my ancestors, the subvert messages from the few really caring teachers at my school, and for the surprisingly subversive tone of Sassy and Seventeen magazine in the 1990s.