cover image THE SOUND OF PAPER: Starting from Scratch

THE SOUND OF PAPER: Starting from Scratch

Julia Cameron, . . Penguin/Tarcher, $19.95 (315pp) ISBN 978-1-58542-288-3

Best known as the coauthor of The Artist's Way , creativity guru Cameron now offers a series of personal essays and exercises about working through creative droughts. She emphasizes the importance of acknowledging artist's blocks as a part of the creative process, but also "soldiering through" by continuing to show up "at the typewriter or the easel." In each essay, she invokes her own struggles to make time for creative work and avoid the traps set by the "inner censor." In "Getting at It," she writes that "[w]aiting for art to be easy, we make it hard. We take our emotional temperature and find ourselves below normal, lacking in resolve.... The truth is that getting at it makes it easier. Every day we write creates a habit of writing in us." In the exercise that follows, Cameron suggests that readers list five ways in which they have inched forward in a given day. Some pieces of advice are likely to resonate more with readers than others—and the author's straightforward message can seem one-note at times. But for novice artists looking for encouragement in an uninspired period, this volume could do the trick. (Jan.)