To celebrate the release of Julia Cameron’s new book, The Listening Path, I was able to attend the live release party, entitled Connect, Create, Inspire, via video chat. The event took place on Wednesday, January 27th, at 7pm PST, and was hosted by The Bay Area Book Festival, The Ruby SF, and Green Apple Books. Julia Cameron, so-called “Godmother of Creativity” and author of The Artist’s Way was in conversation with Judy Collins, Grammy-winning singer songwriter.
The Listening Path
During the event, Julia and Judy covered a wide variety of topics related to her new book, The Listening Path. Judy asked about the events inspired Julia to write the book, the power of listening to spur creativity, and the steps of the new program.
Q: what prompted to you write this book?— Rachel Critelli (@rachelcritelli) January 28, 2021
A: “I moved!” Moving from Manhattan, full of noise, to Santa Fe, a quiet and calm space, Cameron says that she began listening more closely to natural and human sounds, which made her feel “smarter,” which she wanted to share in this book.
Through The Veil
Practitioners of The Artist’s Way will be very familiar with the tools used in The Listening Path. These tools include morning pages, artist dates, and artist walks. But The Listening Path broaches new territory. Julia confessed that she felt scared that people wouldn’t take her chapter on going “through the veil” seriously. But thankfully, the material ultimately did make it into the final book.
Cameron says that she was fearful of sharing this idea, afraid it was too “woo woo,” but she found that people were very receptive, as if “people were just waiting for permission.” In fact, a friend told her “woo woo is where it’s at!”— Rachel Critelli (@rachelcritelli) January 28, 2021
Some of the highlights of this event included original poetry readings from Julia Cameron, as well as an in-depth discussion on the practice of Morning Pages.
Original Poetry Readings
One major highlight of the event was when Julia read some of her original poetry. First, she read a piece called Come to Me, and then a second, entitled Jerusalem is Walking in This World. Julia explained that she has never published any poetry at the time of this event. She writes it for herself, calling poetry “a place to speak her secret heart.” She cited Mary Oliver, Rumi, and Kabir as three poets who inspire her. Her poetry is available for free on her website.
The event also took a deep dive into a topic that is very polarizing for many: Morning Pages. Many people resist writing them, and they often cause many an artist wayfarer to lose steam. Judy and Julia discussed creative ways to get morning pages done. Judy says she dictates the pages aloud, and Julia writes hers over iced coffee. The key is to make sure to do them within 45 minutes of waking up.
Julia says she does her pages over iced coffee “awake and grumpy!” She describes writing notes to herself in a scattered way. Unlike a journal, where you pick a specific topic, morning pages are “petty to profound,” including “buy kitty litter,” to “call my sister.”— Rachel Critelli (@rachelcritelli) January 28, 2021
Judy describes her morning pages practice: she has written morning pages for years. She has switched to dictating her pages into her phone, which allows her to read her writing, which is illegible when written by hand!— Rachel Critelli (@rachelcritelli) January 28, 2021
But Julia emphasized repeatedly during this conversation the importance of doing morning pages. They are a way to get in touch with your own inner voice.
Advice to young writers: Julia says do your morning pages and listen to their guidance! Judy says everything is scary and nothing is guaranteed, but you can take the reins at any time, by listening to your inner guide.— Rachel Critelli (@rachelcritelli) January 28, 2021
Closing the Event
The two panelists were kind enough to go overtime and answer many questions from the audience. The moderator said that questions from the audience were pouring in. Questions seemed to center around The Artist’s Way, which Cameron graciously answered. Too soon, it seemed, the event ended, and I left feeling excited for this new book.
I live tweeted this event, and you can find the entire thread here. If you want to know more about The Artist’s Way, check out my article, My Journey: The Artist’s Way. Get a copy of The Listening Path here.