“The grace to be a beginner is always the best prayer for an artist. The beginner’s humility and openness lead to exploration. Exploration leads to accomplishment. All of it begins at the beginning, with the first small scary step.” Julia Cameron
After a lifetime of teaching and traveling and spending most of my life away from the country where I was born, where I still have my circle of family and friends and support, I have but a few regrets. I have regrets in both my personal and professional lives.
On a personal note I regret having spent my life away from my loved ones, away from the people whose company I not only enjoyed but needed most. That was a choice we (my late husband and I) made, to escape the civil war in Lebanon. What better choice did we have then when as newlyweds we spent most nights in the basement turned shelter of our building praying to stay alive.
On a professional level, sometimes when I travel down memory lane I feel that I shouldn’t have wasted my years going to university. I had a dream then. I still do. I wanted to create. I wanted to write. I wanted to spend my time listening, seeing, observing, connecting to people. I wanted to spend my time searching for something, I didn’t know what. The only knowledge of life I had was from the many books I read.
Julia Cameron writes:
“Creative people are dramatic, and we use negative drama to scare ourselves out of our creativity with this notion of wholesale and often destructive change. Fantasizing about pursuing art full-time, we fail to pursue it part-time or at all.”
To become a full-time writer, since at the time I hadn’t seen enough, done enough, experienced enough relationships, and accumulated enough special knowledge and facts to fill my pages, I thought I needed help. I thought I lacked the practical training and professional techniques I needed to get it all down on paper and put it across to the toughest of all readers. If only I had listened to my heart instead of my head.
Edward Abbey wrote:
“I don’t think a college degree is necessary to become a good writer. I’m not even certain it’s an advantage. College probably won’t hurt you- if you don’t take it too seriously. But far more important, I believe, is broad general experience: living as active a life as possible, meeting all ranks of people, plenty of travel. Trying your hand at various kinds of work, keeping your eyes, ears and mind open, remembering what you observe, reading plenty of good books, and writing every day – simply writing.”