According to some internet site that may or may not be correct, my spirit animal is an anaconda. That's right. Watch out. If I don't like what I get then I might just strangulate my way to success.
Or so the site says.
But I think my true spirit animal is a plastic unicorn that emits rainbow tape from its back.
Over the past 12 weeks I've been doing Julia Cameron's amazing book the Artist's Way.
Yes, doing. Cause this isn't just a book its a course in getting your artistic mojo back. And it most definitely works.
The book encourages you to treat your artist like the frivolous child it really is.
As a child I was, apparently, pretty frivolous. I wanted plastic ponies and barbie dolls and a dress up chest and basically anything that sparkled or shone.
But since my parents were (and are!) frugal and sensible beings that was not going to happen. Instead of ponies I had wooden blocks. Instead of barbies I had hand made dolls with button eyes. Instead of television I had a library card and my very own clock radio.
And no, I'm not 700 years old.
My parents just believed in a simple lifestyle that encouraged thoughtfulness and hard work. I'm deeply grateful for that. I'd probably be a complete layabout if it weren't for the lessons I learned from them. Instead I have to force myself to stop working and not feel guilty when I do lay about.
However, because my parents are relatives sensible, it's taken me a long long time to realize and accept that I'm not.
At least not entirely. You would think it would have been obvious to me when at the age of 15 I painted my bedroom purple and green and then finished it off with silver trim and star-covered curtains. But it wasn't. I think I thought that was normal and entirely practical. Better for sleeping was my justification.
But now at the age of 33, I've finally come to accept that although I might have some very admirable practical qualities (I'm a good saver, investor, and master planner), my inner artist is a frivolous princess child.
One who would probably wear a ballgown to do the gardening and a pair of jeans to go to a ball. And while I'm not going to let inner artist run my entire life and spend my life's savings on an Yves Saint Laurent suit, I will let her run around and buy silly trinkets that put a smile on my face.
Sometimes being frivolous is more practical than being serious.
Think about that paradox for a couple seconds and I think you'll find its true. Especially when it comes to matters like making art, having fun, living a full and colourful life, and concocting a good adventure.