The Sound of Paper, by Julia Cameron (Review)
Category: Nonfiction Subject: Writing, creativity, and creative block
How I got the book: Public library
The Sound of Paper: Starting From Scratch is a series of related chapter or essays on creativity and creative blocks. Author Julia Cameron (The Artist’s Way) begins each essay (or chapter) by musing on some aspect the day-to-day life of the worlds in which she lives, beginning in New York and moving from there to Taos, New Mexico, where she spends part of each year. From walks in Central Park to drought and eventual rain in Taos, Cameron makes connections between daily life, nature, and the creative process. Along the way, she explores ways in which artists, whether they are writers, composers, or visual artists, can persevere through the inevitable periods of creative block and the doubts and frustrations that can stifle their work.
This is the first of Cameron’s works on art and creativity that I have read, and I found it both helpful and insightful. The essays are short, quiet, more comforting than challenging. And yet there is wisdom here. Each essay is followed by a gentle suggestion, a small exercise to nurture the spirit and revive the creative impulse.
This is not a book for anyone who is uncomfortable with the spiritual. Although Cameron does not promote any particular religion, she does suggest the need for openness, gratitude, even the relinquishing of control to a Higher Being. Prayer is one term she uses, though the concept is certainly not limited to formal prayer. A deep sense of connection to life, to the natural and everyday world, and to a greater spirit infuses Cameron’s work and is an integral part of how she herself deals with creative block.