A long time ago, back before the age of Twitter and Instagram, while Facebook was still in its infancy, I took a creativity course in college. Yes, a creativity course. In that course, we used several books, one of which was Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. Considered a “self-help” book to aide people with artistic creative recovery, it helps them make a spiritual connection with their creativity. I have always thought that there was an innate spiritual connection to creativity anyways. The book just helps people unleash their inner creative child. Those of us in the arts, especially acting, have a deep connection to our inner child. It’s a 12 week course that I did, twice in a row because I used the book at Circle In the Square Theatre School. Each time helped me notice something different about my relationship to my creativity.
Recently, I have been referencing it more frequently, writing down ideas in a journal in the morning, and having artist dates by doing something that makes me happy creatively. I have been working on more monologues, writing more blog posts, working on writing my play, and staying creative because I am scared of losing my passion. Even if you are not in a creative field, I think it’s important to have an outlet. I recommend the book to anyone, no matter what their profession is. If you liked to draw as a kid, do it now. If you liked to play the guitar, pick it up again and strum. Do what makes you truly happy. Art in any form, can be therapeutic. It can help you find your way.
What sets your soul on fire? What makes you feel like you like there is nothing else in the world that you’d rather be doing with your life? Who do you want to say “Thank You” to? Do you need to remind someone that you are there for them? Do you need to tell someone that you love them? Call them up. Let them hear your voice. Write down things you love. Write down things you want to achieve. Sing your favorite song. Belt it out. Take a walk, take pictures, unleash your creativity. CREATE. Creating can save someone’s life. Creativity can help you help others. Send your art out into the world. Set your soul on fire. Shine your light. Be amazing. Be yourself.
Yesterday, there was almost an audible gasp heard around the world as news of the death of actor Robin Williams made its way through news stations. I found out about his death while at my actor survival gig. Literally just twenty-four hours before I found out, I was talking to a co-worker about The Birdcage, and mentioned that it is one of my favorite movies: top three. I mentioned that it was like watching a masterclass in comic timing. Fast forward to a day later, and the person who helped teach that very masterclass on film was gone. Like many of my friends and colleagues in the industry, this celebrity loss seems to be much more than that. It’s as if parts of our hearts are ripped out because Robin Williams had such a monumental impact on us. Whether he was part of our childhoods with movies like Aladdin and Mrs. Doubtfire, part of our pubescent years with Dead Poet’s Society and Hook, or part of our adult-hoods with The Birdcage or Good Will Hunting, we all have different points of reference for Williams. He was part of my parent’s generation, and they knew of that shining light from his start on Happy Days and Mork & Mindy and through his stand-up. His slew of movies and television credits top the 100 mark, he was everywhere. I think it is safe to say, that no single actor’s work has had as great an impact on me as Robin Williams’ has from a human aspect. He made me feel deep emotions of light and dark. Like many, I’ve watched him be funny and serious, sometimes in the same moment. He made us feel something deep inside ourselves. He made that laugh that may have stayed hidden burst out, he made the tears that we were too afraid to show anyone, flow like a river. Robin Williams suffered from depression, and what that was like for him, we will never know. Rather than speculate and make generalizations about why and how he died, all I will say is that it’s tragic. Depression is tragic, suicide the same. That being said, those two things do not change the fact that Williams made us feel what most actors try to all their lives: He made us feel human.
I believe in destiny. There must be a reason that I am as I am. There must be.–Robin Williams
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255