Today’s Los Angeles Times features an article about Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way and The Vein of Gold, among others. Cameron has just published a memoir about her life’s struggles, from the breakup of her marriages to her recovery from drug and alcohol addiction to her nervous breakdowns. She has never before revealed the extent of her struggles, and those familiar with her creativity books may not realize, as Gina Piccalo of the Times points out, that back in the 1970s, Cameron “was best known as the lush whom Martin Scorsese left for Liza Minnelli, the hotshot writer who swore like a sailor and matched Hunter S. Thompson drink-for-drink.”
But since the publication of The Artist’s Way in 1992, Cameron has been the one people turn to for guidance. I first read the book shortly after it was published — it was wildly popular among creative types in New York, where I lived then. Artist’s Way groups met regularly, working through the twelve-week creativity program together, and individuals exhorted one another to read the book — nearly everyone who recommended it to me said, “It changed my life.” I have to admit it changed mine, too. It was in the mid 1990s that I began writing fiction, and I published my first short story a couple years later. I still recommend it to students and fellow writers. And yes, I still do morning pages (most of the time).
Cameron told the Times that she wrote her memoir, Floor Sample, to let readers know of the struggles she had to overcome to become who she is today; she doesn’t want it to look as if it’s too easy. From the few examples revealed in this article, it sounds as if this book will accomplish that. I’m looking forward to reading it … but first, I might pick up The Artist’s Way again.