Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Sound of PaperThe Sound of Paper by Julia Cameron
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don't know if I'm the only one feeling this way, but most of the time, I pick a book to read based on my mood. There are some books that have been abandoned for years in my bookshelf, simply because I don't feel like reading them, yet.

Thus, it’s kind of frustrating when you have to spend about 30 minutes walking back and forth between the high shelves in the library, because you don't know what kind of book that you want to read.

I’m really when I found this book, "The Sound of Paper", next to a book titled "The Tao of Jung" that I initially picked.

The Sound of Paper is a book about an artist’s way in finding source of inspiration through spiritual approach. It contains short essays about finding and befriending the sources of inspiration needed by an artist, be it a writer, composer, actor, or painter. At the end of every pieces were a simple task to do by the reader, but unlike those you usually find in how-to books, the tasks were, to quote from the writer’s words, modest and gentle. They don’t force you to actually achieve or produce something, rather, they guide you through a silent journey of finding the inspiration in you.

I really like this book for that particular two reasons; modest, and gentle.

It is as if you can feel that all the essays in it were written with a gentle heart. They are like a good friend, full of understanding and willing to walk slowly with you after a tiring day, or simply sit with you in silence. Their mere existence is meaningful. Their small and seems to be unimportant talks are meaningful.

I feel I can relate so much to the essays. All essays in this book were started with a description of the season and the situation surrounding the writer; the sight of the city skyline, the brown leaves, the dry season in California, the sandstorm, the blooming colors of spring. I really love the way she uses nature as her source of inspiration. She shows that if you pay a little attention, every details in the nature is meaningful.

For people who are into writing, this book really helps, not in the way other books on writing do. There are some tasks and applicative stuff like the morning pages (which turn out to be very famous). It’s less technical. It goes deeper and further beyond finding out what to write and how to write it. Reading the essays in this book, I was feeling as if Julia Cameron herself was walking me through her silent journey from spring to summer in California, trying to decipher the meaning of every little details in nature and turn them into inspiration.

I like the spiritual approach used in this book. It says that it would be better to think of art as something that has there around you, rather than something you need to create. It would be better to think of art as a divine message and you are the channel. It makes you more humble, and surprisingly, more sensitive and open to sources of inspiration around you.

Conveyed in gentle manner and in the nuance of serenity, this book actually tells a strong message. That a creative work, just like other type of work, requires works that are being done consistently. That aloneness and serenity you think you need to be able to produce creative work, is actually not that difficult to be found. They’re not always in the form of solitude or a long hours brainstorm or daydreaming. Sometimes, they are part of your busy everyday life; while you were waiting for the doctor appointment, while you were waiting for the cake to be fully baked, in the middle of writing a report for your daily job, of when you’re sitting at the bus shelter with crowds of people around you.

To me, it simply says: no excuse. I’ve written about it on on my blog too. No excuse about lack of time, lack of space, lack of inspiration, or incondusive environment. When you constantly find yourself feeling suffocated of having so many things to write, then you must write. Inspiration are everywhere. And creative is a process. And art, flows through you. You, yourself, are the fertile soil of inspiration.

The Sound of Paper is not the kind of book that you can finish at one go. It's the kind of book that you read slowly, page by page. It's the kind of book that makes you stop in the middle to simply take a deep breath and look around, trying to absorb the meaning you find in the sentences.

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