PWN instructor Mimi Cross is once again teaching Choosing the Artist’s Path, a 12-week course designed to develop personal creativity and explore our connection to an artistic force greater than ourselves. We “sat down” with Mimi and asked her a few questions about this exciting class.
PWN: Hi Mimi! First off, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background with Julia Cameron’s internationally acclaimed book The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path To Higher Creativity?
MIMI: I was born in Canada, but grew up here in New Jersey, by the beach. I earned a Bachelor of Music from Ithaca College, where I worked on the college newspaper and became editor of the literary arts magazine. After that, I went to NYU, where I received an MA in Music Education. My focus at NYU was vocal jazz, and I’ve done a lot of performing; I’ve written songs and stories for most of my life. But despite all that, it took me a long time to understand that I’m an artist. The Artist’s Way was an affirmation for me, and helped me develop strong, healthy creative habits.
PWN: Can you explain how you structure the class and what students can expect? Also, why is it a 12-week class?
MIMI: The class is 12 weeks long because The Artist’s Way is basically a workbook that’s set up to be completed over the course of 12 weeks. I completed the book twice, and it changed my life. I came to understand that being an artist is a way of thinking, as well as a practice.
At one point, I took a weekend workshop with Julia Cameron, and that deepened my connection to The Artist’s Way. Because the workbook resonates so strongly with me, I often recommend it to others. Over the years, I noticed that many people I spoke to had heard of the book, or even had the book in their possession, but hadn’t gone through it. Or, they had started the book, but hadn’t finished it. I created Choosing the Artist’s Path to encourage people to go through this incredible 12-week process, and to provide support.
Each week, participants read one chapter of The Artist’s Way, complete the tasks and check in that Julia Cameron designed with such insight, and take themselves on a solo “artist date.” In our weekly class meetings, I draw attention to the main concepts of the week’s chapter, create a safe space for sharing experiences, and often provide a prompt for further inspiration. I’m basically a creativity cheerleader! And I can promise that if participants commit to this 12-week program, they will move forward in their lives, and/or their art, in a more creative way.
PWN: What draws you to teach Choosing the Artist’s Path?
MIMI: Often, people who lead or teach are seeking to provide their clients or students with a skill or service that has made a difference in their own lives. The Artist’s Way is packed with profound tools and wisdom that accelerated my own artistic growth and sharpened my creative abilities. Maybe more importantly, this book confirmed that I was on the right path. The artist’s path. Introducing others to this path, or guiding them along the way, feels a lot like making art to me. It puts me in a similar state of flow and focuses my attention on living my most creative life. It’s an honor to work with others in this way, on something I love.
PWN: Is there one thing you can share with us now that can help us writers develop our personal creativity?
MIMI: Sure. This is a biggie: Try tuning in to nature in a new way.
For example, you may want to try the following:
- Place a notebook and a favorite pen or pencil by your front door.
- Leave your phone inside, and go outside.
- Take a slow walk.
- Look at the sky, and the clouds.
- Try thinking differently than you normally do. In this case, consider: The sky is everywhere.
- That’s right. The sky is above you, but where does it end? Down by your feet?
- Continue your slow walk, observing nature. Trees, plants, flowers … Notice the light.
- Feel the air on your skin.
- Once you’re back inside, pick up your notebook and pen/pencil, then sit comfortably.
- Deepen your breath. Then write about your experience with the sky.
- See where that leads. Let the writing go wherever it wants to go …
I hope others enjoy this creative meditation. The inspiration came from one of my favorite books, by author Jandy Nelson, titled The Sky Is Everywhere.
PWN: Well, thank you, Mimi, for taking the time to talk to us. Choosing the Artist’s Path certainly sounds like an incredible creative experience!
Learn more and register for Choosing the Artist’s Path.