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Category Archives: Living a Creative Life

The Drawing of the Three Discussion

c08c0-drawingSome readers of the Gunslinger have complained that the book is dark, gloomy, and a bit of a slow read. While I do believe that book is a bit dark, and a bit gloomy, and the first chapter is a bit of a slow read, the rest of the book is quite the opposite. Many have also said that The Drawing of the Three is actually the starting point and that the Gunslinger is more or less backstory, and that readers could start with The Drawing of the Three and read the Gunslinger later. I suppose they could, but you miss out on so much of the story if you do that.

In the Gunslinger, we learn that Roland has left behind all of those who started the quest with him, who joined him along the way, or who helped him. Most of them are dead. We learn and sense that Roland is, in fact, more than capable of leaving those he cares about, even killing those he cares about, or leaving them to die. Roland is also more than capable of completing his quest alone, and in some ways seems to prefer it, even seems to reject companionship. But in the Drawing of the Three, Roland is forced to find the “Three.” The book runs parallel with Walter’s Tarot Reading. King even names a major section “Shuffle.”

The Drawing of the Three takes place primarily on the Western Sea or in New York… Jake’s “There are other worlds than these.” Eddie’s New York is set in the 80’s. Before we get to the Prisoner’s Door and Eddie Dean, we find ourselves cringing when Roland is severely injured by the Lobstrosities and loses his gun fingers on his dominate hand (his right one). And worse, his bullets get wet. The Lobstrosities don’t stop with his fingers, they take a chunk out of his calf,  he loses a toe and his boot to them. In the Gunslinger we see Roland as more of an Anti-Hero, but at this point in the book things change. Roland, the last gunslinger, has been injured to the point that we’re not sure if he’ll be able to continue as a gunslinger…”What had once been a thing so easy it didn’t even bear thinking about had suddenly become a trick akin to juggling.” Deep down we know that Roland, whose aim is true, will be able to shoot just as well with his left hand, but we know he’s changed and that his injuries have altered the chances of his success in reaching the Dark Tower. I cried in frustration and pain when he was injured. I remember being pissed in a completely different way than when I was pissed that Roland let Jake die.

Yes, Roland’s training helps him keep from losing control, and enables him to function even when others, including some gunslingers, might have been pushed over the edge, but he’s not perfect. He almost lost it after Jake fell to his death. And now, he’s so enraged that he actually takes a rock and smashes the lobstrosity with a rock, and then takes his remaining boot and crushes its head, over and over again. “IT was dead, but he meant to have his way with it all the same; he had never, in all his long strange time, been so fundamentally hurt, and it had all been so unexpected.” Ka? Some kind of weird atonement for letting Jake die?

Roland heads North. The MIB, who tricked Roland into thinking he is dead, watches Roland as he struggles on the beach, then heads in the opposite direction. Roland’s journey towards the Three, his new ka-tet. The first door is the Prisoner, which is Eddie Dean. The “grinning face of a baboon” is upon that door, which implies “a monkey on one’s back.” That monkey is not only heroin, but his brother Henry. The door allows Roland to see through the eyes of the person that he is supposed to draw. Once he crosses the threshold of the door he actually enters that person’s body and mind, leaving his body behind where it lays near the Western Sea.

Roland can assert himself and take control while inhabiting the body of the drawee, as well as communicate with the drawee. Roland soon learns that Eddie isn’t weak, but he does have weaknesses–heroin and Henry. Eddie is in big trouble, and Roland needs Eddie’s help, time is running out for the both of them. Roland convinces Eddie to go into the bathroom and to walk through the “magical” doorway into Roland’s world. They quickly rid Eddie of the drugs that are taped to him, while the plane’s crew are banging on the bathroom door. Roland gets Eddie back through the door mere seconds before they burst through the bathroom door. Eddie thinks quickly. Roland, however, is frustrated with Eddie and his clumsiness.

Between Eddie and Roland, they handle the Customs interrogation. Roland’s strength gives Eddie the courage and strength to withstand the questions and the withdrawal he feels from the drugs. Roland doesn’t trust Eddie. He knows that Eddie has an inner strength, that he’s a survivor, but you can hear the mistrust when Roland tells himself, through Cort’s voice, “You did yourself ill to feel well of those to whom ill must eventually be done.” And Eddie fears and likes Roland, and thinks that in time he might even grow to love Roland like a brother.

Though Roland takes Eddie and Detta/Odetta through the doors without their explicit consent, he tells himself that he’ll release them once he’s reached the Tower, and that they might even be able to go back to their own worlds and times… he’s honest enough with himself to know that that is not likely though. “Neither, however, could the thought of the treachery he contemplated turn him aside from his course,” and we see how Roland’s quest is all Roland can think about, all he allows himself to be concerned with. Ka? We wonder about that, especially after the MIB’s voice creeps in to remind Roland that he’s already sacrificed Jake for the Tower, and now Roland is ready to sacrifice his new ka-tet to a life in an alien world and time, where they might die and never return home…Roland is a prisoner of his quest for the Dark Tower.

Once they finish with Balazar, which was one hell of an action scene, Roland’s life is in Eddie’s hands. Roland fights with his infection and Eddie fights the withdrawal from the drugs. Eddie hates Roland for kidnapping him and leaving him stranded in a world where he has no access to his drugs. Yet Eddie continues to take care of Roland, including killing lobstrosities so they can eat. Eddie even builds what Roland calls a travios and drags Roland north. Eddie’s resourcefulness would have met with Cort’s approval, Roland things, but Roland ridicules it in his mind. Eddie thinks about killing himself, but the fact that Roland needs him keeps him from doing so. Eddie tells Roland of his life, tells him about Henry. Eddie hopes to get a response from Roland, perhaps and agreement about Henry, but Roland says, “What’s past is past, and what’s ahead is ahead. The second is ka, and takes care of itself.” Eddie grows to hate Ka.

The second door is called the Lady of the Shadows. Eddie thinks it’s a way back to his world and a way to get drugs. Roland places his life in Eddie’s hands, even turning over his guns to Eddie. He tells Eddie that his old life is over. After they reach the Tower Roland doesn’t care what Eddie does, but until then that part (meaning the drugs) of your life is over. Roland says, “You could be a gunslinger. I needn’t be the last after all. It’s in you, Eddie. I see it. I feel it.” High praise coming from Roland.

Eddie threatens to kill Roland once he passes through the doorway, especially since Eddie knows he can’t pass through the doorway without Roland, but Eddie can’t kill Roland.

Detta/Odetta is a prisoner within her own body/mind. She lost her legs from the knees down when she was pushed in front of a train. Later in the book we find out that it was in fact Jack Mort who pushed her. We learn of her history through a series of flashbacks. Roland was able to enter Eddie without being noticed, but Detta detects him right away. Roland sense her other personality, “not the way one would look at her reflection in a mirror, but as separate people; the window became a windowpane and for a moment Odetta had seen Detta and Detta had seen Odetta and had been equally horror-struck.”

Roland warns Eddie that she is dangerous, but Eddie is smitten with Odetta. He “hears with his ears, but not with his heart.” Roland hears Eddie’s story about Detta’s and Odetta’s brief awareness of each other and knows that he has to somehow make her two personalities face each other.

Jack Mort. The Death door. Jack Mort is a sociopath, and Roland picks up on this. Mort does not know that Roland is there, he’s too intent on what he’s doing–he’s about to push Jake Chambers in front of a car. Ka? Roland worries that he’ll be forced to watch Jake’s death, and fear that it is punishment for sacrificing Jake beneath the mountains. But Roland pushes forward, distracting Mort long enough that he misses his chance to push Jake, and Jake isn’t crushed beneath the wheels of the Cadillac Sedan. Roland wonders about things… if Jack Mort had been meant to kill Jake then he won’t be able to stop, but he knows he can’t be responsible for Jake’s death a second time, and pushes forward–this is a selfless act, and because of his contact with Eddie it makes him wonder about the implications of his decision. He also doesn’t think about the paradox that he’s created.

Jake entered the Way Station by sort of being reborn into Roland’s world after dying in his when he was killed because Jack Mort pushed him in front of the Cadillac. Saving Jake’s life means that Roland has changed things so that Jake never actually entered Roland’s at the Way Station. Roland contemplates much about what has just happened, but he sees that Detta has Eddie tied up and at the mercy of the lobstrosities. Roland knows it’s a trick to get him to come back. Roland knows that Jack Mort is not meant to be part of his ka-tet. Mort, who caused both of Odetta’s injuries (the one that made her personalities split, and the one that caused her to lose her legs). Mort represents Death. Death for the split personalities of Odetta and Detta.

One of my favorite parts of this book comes now: The gun shop scenes, the pharmacy scene, and the scene with the cop who shoots at Jack Mort but the cigarette lighter saves Morts life and yet helps end his life at the same time. Once Roland projects the message to the Lady of Shadows, calling her by both Odetta and Detta, she turns to look and Roland jumps Mort’s body onto the tracks. The train cuts him in half at the waist, but Roland has crossed back with boxes of bullets and antibiotics. As Mort is cut into two, Odetta and Detta split into two physicalities and struggle with each other as they witness through their own eyes and through Jack Mort’s–Odetta hugs Detta and tells her “I love you” and they become one again. She goes down to the beach with Roland’s guns and saves Eddie from the lobstrosities.

The newly combined personality of Odetta and Detta, takes on her middle name, which is Susannah, and then ends up taking on Eddie’s surname. She’s strong, has heart, but is able distance herself from her emotions. Roland believes that Susannah is the third person he was supposed to draw. But… and here it is y’all… what we’ve all been waiting for…

When Roland killed Jack Mort, he changed Jake’s situation. The real third person to be drawn into Roland’s ka-tet, and back into Mid-World, is Jake.

Though Eddie has tremendous respect for Roland, he knows that Roland would sacrifice all of them for the sake of the Tower. Eddie tells Roland, “if you kill what you love you’re damned.” Roland believes he might already be damned for sacrificing Jake but he sees the possibility of redeeming himself. He promises Eddie that he won’t consider sacrificing them, and wouldn’t have considered sacrificing Jake, but there is more than only one world to win, that his mission is bigger than just the Tower, that it’s to save everything, all worlds.

In the back of my mind, throughout both books, I keep wondering if the Tower is salvation for all worlds but damnation for Roland, or if it’s salvation for Roland but damnation for all worlds, or a bit of both for both…

 

*Note: much of my information has come from the books, the afterwords, Robin Furth’s Stephen King’s The Dark Tower A Concordance Vols I and II, and Bev Vincent’s The Road to the Dark Tower.

 

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September’s Wrap Up and October’s Happenings

 

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Finding Water Week 4: A Sense of Balance

I’m sorry it has taken me 2 weeks to complete this week, but that might have been synchronicity at work, since this week is actually about:

Pivotal to any creative journey is the ability to resist the cliff’s edge of drama. All of us are tempted to binge on negativity. It is the careful husbanding of optimism that allows us to move productively forward. This week’s spiritual toolkit is aimed at dismantling the hobgoblins of fear and distrust that poison your well. You will align yourself with a Higher Power that extends itself in benevolent ways on your behalf. Sketchbook in hand, you will practice being in the now, where there is always sufficient safety for you to experience balance.

Over the past two weeks, I’ve incorporated my morning and evening stretches, my evening pages, walking, self-care, art, writing, reading, and a bit of meditation into my day.

“As an artist I must be able to see into the future. I mist be able to cast an idea forward and see it fleshed out and standing on its own, a real creation.” That really hit me this past week. Since I’ve been fleshing out the outline for my novel for NaNoWriMo using tarot and the hero’s journey (Arwen’s 33 Days to Finish Your Novel course), I’ve been in the “now” with the novel, but I’m also seeing that finished work in my head. How it’s all coming together. I’m also noticing that my art, at least my daily sketches that are part of this week’s chapter, as well as my daily art for my journal, are changing. Not a whole lot, but enough that I’m noticing what feels more “me.” I’m finding my authentic voice with my art. 😀 That feels good. I’m not quite there yet, too many days are not really thought out and just thrown on the page because I’m in a hurry. I need to slow down. Enjoy the process.

“Anything that curbs our enthusiasm is the enemy.” So true. Comparing yourself to others is a good example of something that curbs our enthusiasm. I look at my drawing, at something I painted with watercolor, or my art journal page and then I look at someone else’s, someone who is trained, or how has been at it for longer, or…and no matter how decent my page is it’s not going to look decent compared to someone else’s… It’s like comparing apples and oranges. I’ve had to stop doing it. Now I watch other people’s process videos for helpful tips, tricks, techniques. I refuse to compare my works to theirs, unless about a technique–if I’m doing something wrong I need to know what I’m doing wrong and how to correct it.

“Each day I must find something to love in my day at hand.” STAY IN THE PRESENT. Since I started the little sketchbook Jen sent me I’ve been practicing the “Illustrate your life” portion (It’s one of the Divining Rod exercises) and it has helped me focus on being more in the present, on finding something positive each day.

“It shall pass.” Remember this, she says. Use it as a touchstone. There are cycles of acceptance. She says there are “bleak seasons and fruitful seasons. Successes and failures….to find the dignity in the doing…and (to remember) it counts for something.” This is something I am still working on. I realized how one bad day, or one bad piece, or one bad… throws me off and then the “I don’t know why I’m even trying to be a writer, to draw, to paint, to…” starts in my mind. I’ve got to learn to be more resilient when it comes to things like that, and to keep it simple. To find my “Calm oasis and listen, enjoy a sense of communion with a greater power than myself.” Getting outside for the walks, communing with nature, with the universe, really does help me. And sketching at least one small piece of my daily life has been fun…it makes me slow down.

 

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Week 3 of Finding Water: A Sense of Support

finding-water-julia-cameron-960x288Uncovering a Sense of Support
Critical to any creative journey is sense of creative support. You must practice discernment, weeding out that which does not serve and watering the shoots you want to foster.  This week’s tasks invite you to consciously interact with those who are positive on your behalf. Reaching out to others for their belief, you will also reach within and steady your personal confidence. If you had the faith what might you try” This week’s explorations will lead you into knowing your own mind.

When I first saw this chapter (my first attempt at Finding Water), I wasn’t thrilled about it–this time, however, things have changed. Cameron talks about having a network of friends and family there to be supportive. She calls these supportive people in your life Believing Mirrors. Accordingly, they reflect back to you the beautiful being that you are when you aren’t able to see it yourself. And through their own beauty they inspire you and speak the words you were thinking, but hadn’t formed yet or the words that you’re afraid to say. In turn, you will reflect the amazing creative beings that they are and that you are yourself–without having to actually work hard at it, which is what we do when we’re doing it alone. In a group setting, this multiplies. Cameron states that “creativity occurs in clusters,” and I agree with her. Over the past month I’ve found this to be true myself.

This week has been chaotic, especially the weekend. I’ve been busy with family, as well as personal and creative projects. I missed doing Morning/Evening pages more than once this week. I had to split my Artist Date into two different things because of time and obligations, but I ended up having much more fun than I might have had I just done what I had originally planned for my Artist Date. For more about what I did for my walk and my Artist Date I’ve included the video for this week.

Truth is, with each passing week I’ve realized that 1. I need to prepare for my Artist Date better. 2. I need to make the time for my Morning/Evening pages. 3. I need to ask for help more. I know that things are getting better, I can feel it inside and out, but it’s slow going and I’m not the most patient of people–What? Me? Nope, I’m not. It’s one of my flaws.

I prefer to do things on my own, I don’t like asking for help, nor do I like feeling like I’m not able to do things myself… so asking for help is difficult, but not impossible. Over the past few years, I’ve had to ask for help from family and friends much more than I wanted but it helped me, and made me feel good–I have people I can ask for help. Over the past month, I’ve realized (thanks to our group, Destination Me) that I am not out here alone, and it’s alright to ask for help. 😀

Overall, this was a much better week, and a much better experience, than I thought it would be. Now, I’m off to address thank you cards.

 

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Finding Water Week 2 Check In

Week 2 is titled: Uncovering a Sense of Reality. At first glance I was unsure about this chapter, but after reading the introduction I felt good. Stronger. That perhaps I’d gain more of a sense of my own power and strength… resolve.

“As you explore your inner world, your outer world will come more sharply into focus. As you face your imagined barriers, you will encounter real ones, as well. This week’s wortk will help you to become more grounded and farseeing. As you seek your own internal support, as well as the support of friends, your creativity will become more steady. As you undertake small actions on your own behalf–watering the garden, as it were–larger actions will seem more possible. A sense of your own power will return to you.”

The first section is called Claustrophobia. I know that feeling even though I am not claustrophobic. Feeling like you’re stuck, enclosed in a room, stuck looking at the same four walls, backed in a corner creatively–blocked, or even just overwhelmed and suffocated by all the things going on, especially if there are outside forces causing you drama. Cameron states that “drama is contagious,” and gives an example of a young writer who called her quite a few times in a short amount of time, about how the writer’s friends were “misbehaving,” that “life itself” was misbehaving, and that “things weren’t going her way.” The writer is unable to write and blames all the stress in her life. I’ve been there.

Cameron says, “It is only when she is not working that her normally nice boyfriend suddenly becomes the monster. It is when her mind is not on her work that it is so closely focused on the workings of everyone else’s personality. Her own personality is what is on tilt, but she can’t see that.”

I agree, and disagree. There are those who are never going to take an artistic career seriously, who see being an artist (like a writer, musician, painter, illustrator…) as not being a real job…You can’t change their minds, all you can do is what you do, have boundaries, and do your best.

My reality is that I sometimes lose focus, get distracted easily, and/or I try to do too much in a day. Along with a few other things that I discuss in this video about Week 2 of Finding Water.

 

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My Favorite Art/Journal/Craft Supplies

We have been discussing our favorite supplies and products for the Decorated Page project.

Here’s part of my list:

Carbon Desk Fountain Pen

Carbon Ink Cartridges (Waterproof ink)

TWSBI Eco Fountain Pen (Clear) with Fine Nib

Pilot Kakuno Fountain Pen Fine Nib

Grace Watercolor Brush Set

Prismacolor Pencil Sharpener

Karetake 36 watercolor set

Noodler’s Heart of Darkness Ink (with free Noodler’s Fountain Pen)

Platinum Preppy Fountain Pen

Akashiya Sai Watercolor Brush Pen Set

The Decorated Page by Gwen Diehn

Sakura Watercolor Field Sketch Set with (aqua)brush

Derwent Inktense/Watercolor 12 ct pencil tin

Saunders Uhu Glue Stick

Uniball Signo Broad Point White pens

Pentel water/aqua brush set

Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils 24 ct

Ebay: I look for used books. I also got the Yarka St. Petersburg watercolor pans from there, as well as Jinhao fountain pens.

Goulet Pens: I’ve ordered notebooks like Rhodia Webnotebook, as well as the Leuchtturm1917 softcover,  and nibs for my fountain pens.

And the SevenSeas Crossfield, Standard, and Writer.

**** This post contains  some affiliate links. In plain English, this means that I might receive a small commission (this doesn’t cost you anything) if you subscribe or purchase something through some of the links I’ve provided. You will never see me post a link to a product or service that I haven’t used myself and love! (Learn more here)

 

 

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Week 1 of Finding Water

Working on Finding Water

Working on Finding Water

Uncovering a Sense of Optimism

Julia Cameron starts this week off with the mantra that “you’re never to old to be young at heart, never to old to be a beginner.” I agree wholeheartedly with that, as a matter of fact, in the past few years I’ve began several new things (creating art again, writing a novel, making YT videos, my own website, created a group on FB with three other women, and am now working on three major creative projects). 😀

Cameron goes on to say, “To begin, resign from competition, stop comparing yourself to your idols,” and to that I also add to your old self and to your future self. In the Divining Rod section of this portion she asks you write about your deferred dream(s). Here are a few of mine:

  • Take a watercolor class
  • Finish my novel (completely)
  • Publish my novel
  • Take a photography course/class
  • Go to a writer’s workshop and a writer’s retreat
  • Take a cruise with my husband

When I thought about what I’d have to do to make some of those things happen I knew the answer immediately…Money. Some of that isn’t feasible right now, but there are other things I can do that are. I can research free watercolor classes, free photography classes. I can write every day and work on my novel… (I’m working on that currently).

She also asks write down a list of people you can go to for encouragement:

Friends, husband, DM group, family… I’m not naming names here… 😀

Now we’re to the focusing portion, and the big thing here is to “take time to see,” which means to take the time to really look at the world around you. Taking time to smell and see the roses. 😀 She says, “I must work to husband my own optimism. I must cling to the small and positive.” The Divining Rod for this section says to make a list of 5 beautiful things you’ve recently spotted.

  1. My grandson’s smile.
  2. The sight of my husband taking the time to make me coffee before he went to work.
  3. The sunrise after the storm
  4. The blush roses in my rose garden blooming with dew still on their leaves.
  5. A bird on my clothesline singing.

Grounding: “What I am doing still matters in the scheme of things…Optimism is partially the happy accident…” and my favorite part of this section: “The doing of something productive regardless of outcome is an act of faith…just do the next right thing.” Believe you can and you will mentality. The Divining Rod section here made me realize just how often I turn to simples tasks to ground myself:

  1. doing dishes
  2. making coffee
  3. taking a shower
  4. taking walk
  5. folding laundry

Possibilities: She says, “Learn to try…learn to act affirmatively.” and that “wherever creativity is afoot, so is blossoming.” But my favorite part is this: In order to make art we must be willing to labor…to reach inside and draw forth what we find there…it begins with possibilities.”

It’s is possible to do things.. You say… “Oh… It is possible that I can write a novel.” And then the notion of well “I can” becomes “I think I’ll try.”

  • I could try writing poems again.
  • I could try (again) to learn the new video editing software.
  • I could try to put the flooring in the kitchen down myself.
  • I could try writing short stories again.
  • I could try creating my own Tn folder/pocket dashboard things.
  • I could try making my own facial scrub…

The CHECK-IN

  1. I did Morning Pages 6 out of 7 days. I wasn’t feeling well on one of those days and went to bed really early. It helps clear my head when I do them, and the only repeating issue is that I noticed I need to slow down… I need to take a little time for me and make sure that I use the time for my Morning Pages as a more of a meditation thing as well.
  2. I did my artist date. I actually did more than one. I took two nature walks just to enjoy the outdoors, and I went on a coffee/hot chocolate date with my grandson and we created art. 😀 I felt much better after all of those things.
  3. I walked multiple times during the week. I took a longer walk one day, but the other days I walked for 20 minutes. So 4 walking days out of 7. It felt good, and I enjoyed the fresh air and sunshine. I also spent 10 minutes walking around in the rain–for fun, before the storm here got bad.
  4. I need to remember that it’s okay to ask for help.

 

 

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