Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Artist's Path

Keeping with my theme this month – and just to make things super-simple for myself I have the same theme across every area of my life – I’m trying to figure out the right path for this year. Between my student years and my teacher years I have been in school for 28 years. The result is that my “new year” resolutions are always sparked by looming September. The months of June/July/August are like mystery meat on the cafeteria menu. They exist and they look like time, but really, they aren’t. So, when it’s almost September I start evaluating the past year and trying to figure out how to improve my “lesson plans” for the coming year.

My theme this year is KBO: Keep Bungling On. Last year was Press On so some of you will wonder about why I’m so concerned with the whole motion thing. Hey, I’m going with it. Get it! So, as part of my attempt to sort myself out I’ve started reading my tarot cards every morning. I do a really simple spread – 1. Theme of the Day 2. What Lies Below the Surface 3. Advice From Above. The advice I get is usually something along the lines of – Keep Bungling On.

In my Bungling I happened across a really great spread that is called The Artist’s Path and I thought I would share it here for those of you who might want to Bungle With Direction. I’ve done this spread with many of my artist friends (I’m not a professional tarot reader and you will not see me on the Psychic Network any time soon, no worries!) and it’s been really interesting to see what comes up. So, the spread is pretty simple (I’ve included diagrams just in case anyone wants – and you can email me through my website http://www.michellenewcome.com/ for a pdf of the instructions). I did not invent this spread, it came from a great artist named Monicka Sakki, you can find her at http://www.sakki-sakki.com/

If the idea of Tarot terrifies you, then you could always just “think” about these questions and then journal about them.

What is your self-image of an Artist? What is your relationship with this identity?
Where are you now, while looking at your path with an Artist's eye?
What is the driving force; what feeds the internal springs of your creativity?
What external factors or forces inspire you? What gets you going?
What blocks your creativity?
When you're blocked, what do you do instead of creating? How do you spend (or squander) your time?
What are your views on the relationship between Creativity and Money?
What you need to give up in order to pursue your Artist's path?
What you need to do next, to make sure you walk forth down the creative path you've chosen?
After dealing the nine cards of the Artist's Path spread in the form of an arrow, but before reading it, place The Artist card as a Significator at the end of the spread (S/10). This card is You. Accept your creative powers and responsibilities, and your Artist's Path ahead will be clear.

Now turn the cards face up one by one and begin to read the spread in the arrow form.

What I like about this spread is that last part - Accept Your Creative Powers and Responsibilities. In other words, KBO People - KBO!


Sally Kilpatrick said...

Keep Bungling On--I like it. Right now I'm swamped with two children--one in preschool, two classes, a thesis, a GRA position, and attempting to not backslide on exercise while removing whatever the heck it is that stinks in my kitchen. Bungling sounds so much easier than achieveing, and I might get lucky and achieve something along the way.

As for the Tarot reading, I'm just surprised you have a moment to draw a few cards--says she who had to run after the bus with her son's glasses this morning.

Michelle said...

Sally - I'm equally surprised you have a moment to do anything! I well remember grad school and being a GTA and GRA. I had my first child in grad school. Really, I'm amazed I survived. No wonder you are such an awesome multi-tasker - you have to be when you're in grad school!

Anna Steffl said...

Just working against my own bungling self. I'm going to revisit this post later today and really do it justice. You've brought up crucial questions here.

Too bad I always kind of liked mystery meat. I'll eat it all year round if given the chance.

Michelle said...

One of my nutri-system entrees was mystery meat this week and I have to say, Anna, it was not all bad.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Love the mystery meat analogy.

Sandy Elzie said...

My mantra is Keep on Keeping On. I like having the directional focus on continuing on a forward path...not taking a step back or sitting down. (that's when you lose your mojo)

I've never used Tarot cards. I get my direction from another source, but we all need to take time to examine ourselves to see what slows us down (or stops us) and what triggers us to move forward toward the goal.

Then we need to kick the things that hold us back to the side of the road and embrace the triggers that move us on.


Cinthia Hamer said...

Wow, Michelle, great blog topic! You gave me a lot to think about...now if I could just find the time to actually do something with it.

My sister, who is an artist (watercolor, acrylic and oil), is coming for a month-long visit. What a great thing for us to do together, since we're both artists in our own way.

Thanks again for a wonderfully thought-provoking topic.

CiCi Barnes said...

Great thinking post. I bungle though quite often, but sometimes I let the 'stuff' get to me and I curl up in my shell, hoping 'this too shall pass'. I usually find it's still there waiting on me to bungle through it.

I have learned with my writing to keep going no matter how down you might get about it or how much time other stuff tries to steal from writing time.

Writing has made me a tougher person and I'm thankful for all the bunglers out there taking the journey with me.

Bungle on, Michelle. I'm right there with you.


J Perry Stone said...

Bring the cards to M & M!!

And now I'm cutting and pasting all your questions to ask writer friends on other loops.

The most interesting one to me is #1, What is my self-image as an artist and what is my relationship to this identity.

The negative part of my answer is something that made me feel bad: Procrastination.

The positive part, however, makes me want to kick the procrastination part in the ass: I'm %100 positive that everyone who truly wants success as a writer can have it.

Nicki Salcedo said...

I particularly like that you can answer these questions without consulting the cards! But do bring your cards to M&M.

When you're blocked, what do you do instead of creating? How do you spend (or squander) your time?

I like to cut the grass.

What you need to give up in order to pursue your Artist's path?

I don't watch TV!

Michelle said...

I'll bring my cards to M&M - we can amuse ouselves without resorting to watching Huge Package Man on Youtube this year. :)

Linsey Lanier said...

I agree with Sandy. Those are some awesome questions to ponder. Good to have the answers written down somewhere to review from time to time.

Thanks, Michelle.


Marilyn Baron said...

Very interesting post. I never tried Tarot Cards, but hey, why not? Yes bring them to M&M.

My sister is an artist too and right now we're collaborating on a book which has been a very interesting experience.

I enjoyed your post.

Marilyn Baron

Maxine Davis said...


I enjoyed your thought-provoking post. And I liked the Tarot card approach. I need to get me some of them if you can do them for yourself.

Pamela Varnado said...

Finding a muse isn't always easy so if Tarot cards work for you, I say go for it. A friend did a reading for me and it actually helped me to work out a plot point I was struggling with.

Tami Brothers said...

I had a Tarot card reading done a few years back at the Renaissance Fair. I was really bummed because it seems so generic. The guy was really rushing to get as many of us through as he could. I think I’d like to try it again. Never looked into it since then, though. You make it sound easy. I might have to give it a try again.

Great post. It was definitely thought provoking. I think I have the germ of an idea brewing…grin…
I definitely want a copy of that diagram!!!


Michelle said...

Send me an email if you want the diagram.

Ana Aragón said...

I have to admit I'm pretty dumb when it comes to Tarot readings. But the questions certainly give food for thought! What is my self-image of an artist? Right now, I'm sitting in bed with my mini-laptop on my lap, a favorite post. I guess that would be my self-image!

And "mystery meat"? Never heard the term, but it sounds like something my mom cooked on Fridays!

Great post...and please do bring your cards to M&M...I'd love to learn!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post. I definitely can relate to the bungling part! :)