"God is the author of both love and creativity...it is your creative voice He waits to hear...no one can express the reality of your interior life; you are the only qualified author for this creative work."~Kari Kristina Reeves (from the book, Canyon Road).
I didn't want to write about my feelings of anger. That was the task Julia Cameron asked me to contemplate as I journey my way through her book, Walking In This World, The Practical Art of Creativity. She asked for fifty issues that brought out feelings of anger. Did I have fifty items? This assignment felt counterintuitive. Wouldn't it be more productive to write fifty things that caused joy, brought delight? I hesitated, desiring retreat from the homework. Yet Ms. Cameron coaxed, "When we think of our anger as something that should be excised or denied rather than alchemized, we risk neutering ourselves as artists." I began.
At first I doubted I could name fifty. As I allowed myself to ponder, the list materialized--People who can't say "I don't know."; the insensitive man who told me my eyebrows reminded him of Mr. Spock; suffering children and animals; writers who glamorize depression; selfish people; ungracious, negative, critical people; complainers; worriers; feeling tired of upholding others; not getting paid for writing; judgmental attitudes and over-intellectualizing; porn; magazines that don't even bother to respond to submissions; people who think God is mean; loss of youth and bad TV.
Ms. Cameron said that allowing oneself to be fueled by anger can bring solutions. I didn't hold out much hope that answers could surface from my dissonant list. Yet I began to get an image. Earlier in the week I'd applied a face mask after a long, hot day in the Carolina heat. I took a brief glance in the mirror, my T-zone covered in bright green mud. I thought of war paint. And now I imagined that my anger could act as war paint. I envisioned God the creator artist holding my head with his strong hand, a paint brush hovering over my face, His palette of colors nearby. "Hold still," He'd whisper. "Hold very still so that I can apply the paint. These colors are my brushstrokes upon you--my protection as you gear up for coming against all those things that bring you anger. I feel angry too at injustice, shame that people live under; suffering people and creatures; distorted views of who people believe I am. Go forward, outfitted for war. Uphold the concepts of grace and love and creativity. Be a strong voice. Don't retreat."
I will keep soundng the war cry, my anger rightly fueled, my face reflecting the distinctive colors of the great creator. God is good. God is faithful. God is not against people. God desires to furiously bless. His mercy is staggering.
And now I turn to you kind artist and reader of these blog posts--what angers you? You are the only author that can speak of what your anger fuels. What do you glimpse in the mirror? Name your brilliant colors. Out loud.