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A Reading Vocation

"I Must Read, Read, and Read. It is my Vocation." - Thomas Merton

This is where I chronicle my reading life.  I also blog about writing at Lacey's Late-night Editing.


Book 96/100: The Creative Life - True Tales of Inspiration by Julia Cameron

The Creative Life: True Tales of Inspiration - Julia Cameron

I have lots of Julia Cameron books on my long "to-read" list, but I wish I had skipped this one.

Honestly, I feel like her publisher just put this book out there because, well, it's JULIA CAMERON, and people will buy it for the name. Because if it were written by anyone else, except like, Stephen King or someone else who has immediate name recognition, I don't know what editor would have been interested in it.

A lot of reviews reference it as a "diary," but it's set up more like a memoir. It doesn't have the intimacy of immediacy of a diary, even though it is written in first-person. It's a collection of mundane conversations, weather reports, and play-by-plays of what Julia and her friends ate every day. Everyone is vastly talented -- a singer, a pianist, a writer a painter, etc. etc. etc. Julia talks about being "blocked" or having "trouble" with her writing throughout, at the end says that it has been a "difficult year," but it looked blissfully easy to me -- working on her own schedule, getting away with not writing anything useful, hanging out with brilliant friends who also think you are brilliant, walking the dogs, flying to London, somehow having enough money never to eat at home, etc.

I kept wondering what the point of it all was, and waiting for something to HAPPEN, and about halfway through, I realized that this is it. Nothing was going to happen. Ever.

There was one moment of tension when Julia mentioned how she missed Taos but couldn't go back there because it was where she had her "breakdown." I think that's the only place where I felt I *wanted* to read the book and not just *finish* it, but it never panned out to be more interesting than that. So, if you haven't read the book, sorry, I just ruined the most interesting part.

I think that, for many creative types, periods of being "fallow" or "unproductive" are necessary to regather your strength and determine your next direction. I think "The Creative Live" was written during such a time for Julia. It's just too bad that she felt the need to publish her fallow year.

(After all the snark: I gave this book 2 stars rather than 1 because Julia's writing IS good, her attention to detail sharp. I just wish those talents had been utilized on writing where something actually happened.)