Sunday, February 22, 2009

Guilt: Revised


by Joey Madia

It’s always easy to like a book with which you instantly agree. We embrace the familiar, the similar, the types of things made of the same prima materia with which we’ve built our beliefs. But so much the better when an idea, a thesis, a text that we at first reject wins us over through a mix of solid research, real-life examples, and strong writing. Such is the case with my experience of Guilt with a Twist.

In the Overview, Dr. Staples states: “We have to sin and incur guilt, if we are to grow and reach our full potential” (xv). Being a “lapsed” Catholic who had often experienced guilt as a weapon and thought the concept of “Original Sin” or having to confess your sins to an intermediary was nothing but power-clenching propaganda on the part of the Church, I found myself inching toward dismissing the book entirely, a feeling that persisted as I continued through the first section.

The idea here is that there is “Good Guilt,” as demonstrated by such historical luminaries as Socrates, Rosa Parks, Susan B. Anthony, and Galileo (and the mythical Prometheus). In other words, we do things that break the rules of the times or are considered “sins” to perpetrate a greater good, to achieve a higher purpose.

After reading about Parks, I made some notes in the margin, as follows:

“She did not sin, nor was she wracked with guilt. Society was wrong.”

“Sin is too subjective to standardize guilt and shame as he’s done so far.”
Oddly enough, on the day I started Guilt with a Twist I read an interview with artist/art dealer Tony Shafrazi who, to protest the Vietnam War, spray-painted “Kill Lies All” across Picasso’s Guernica mural (itself a protest piece). He had no guilt about it because his objectives were clear, just like Rosa’s must have been.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

News Release: The Creative Soul: Art and the Quest for Wholeness

 
Just Published by Fisher King Press

The Creative Soul:
Art and the Quest for Wholeness

by Lawrence H. Staples

Who we most deeply are is mirrored in our artistic work. Our need for mirroring simultaneously attracts us to and repels us from our creative callings and relationships. It is one of life’s great dilemmas.

Artist’s block and lover’s block flow from the same pool. Often, we fear deeply the very thing needed to create original art, to experience intimate relationships and to live authentic lives: we are frightened by the impulse to be fully revealed to ourselves, and to others, as this most often entails exposing the unacceptable shadowy aspects of our humanity and risking rejection.

Mirrors in all their manifold guises permit us to safely see and experience ourselves in reflection and become better acquainted with the rejected, ostracized aspects of our personalities. Creative work is one of the few places where we can truly express and witness lost aspects of our authentic selves.

Within us a treasure beckons. This is what we spend our lives pursuing. What slows and distracts us is not the object we long for, but where we search. To find this precious gem, we must eventually return to our own creative spirits.

Topics explored in THE CREATIVE SOUL include:
  • OPPOSITES AND CREATIVITY
  • THE CREATIVE INSTINCT
  • OUR UNIQUE IDENTITY
  • SOME ELEMENTS OF CREATIVITY
  • SOME PREREQUISITES OF THE CREATIVE PROCESS
  • LA PETITE MORT
  • GIVING VOICE TO THE MANY LIVES WITHIN
  • DREAMS AND ACTIVE IMAGINATION AS TRIGGERS TO CREATIVITY
  • CREATIVITY AS AN INNER PARENT
  • CREATIVITY WITHIN BOUNDS
  • THE CREATIVE GAP
  • THE POWER OF SMALL
  • CREATIVITY AND INDEPENDENCE
  • ART AND THE QUEST FOR WHOLENESS
  • THERAPY AS ART
  • FEAR OF SELF-REVELATION BLOCKS CREATIVITY
  • INTIMACY AND CREATIVITY
  • THE IMPORTANCE OF MIRRORING
  • CREATIVITY, GUILT, AND SELF-DEVELOPMENT
  • CREATIVITY AND LONELINESS
  • LIFE AND THE TENSION OF OPPOSITES
Available from your local bookstore, from a host of online booksellers, and directly from Fisher King Press: The Creative Soul: Art and the Quest for Wholeness by Lawrence H. Staples / ISBN 13: 978-0-9810344-4-7 / Publication Date: Feb-2009 / To order your copy call +1-831-238-7799.

Love, Intimacy, Creativity

Hot off the Press

The Creative Soul: Art and the Quest for Wholeness
by Lawrence H. Staples

Who we most deeply are is mirrored in our artistic work. Our need for mirroring simultaneously attracts us to and repels us from our creative callings and relationships. It is one of life’s great dilemmas.

Artist’s block and lover’s block flow from the same pool. Often, we fear deeply the very thing needed to create original art, to experience intimate relationships and to live authentic lives: we are frightened by the impulse to be fully revealed to ourselves, and to others, as this most often entails exposing the unacceptable shadowy aspects of our humanity and risking rejection.

Mirrors in all their manifold guises permit us to safely see and experience ourselves in reflection and become better acquainted with the rejected, ostracized aspects of our personalities. Creative work is one of the few places where we can truly express and witness lost aspects of our authentic selves.

Within us a treasure beckons. This is what we spend our lives pursuing. What slows and distracts us is not the object we long for, but where we search. To find this precious gem, we must eventually return to our own creative spirits.

Available from your local bookstore, from a host of online booksellers, and directly from Fisher King Press: The Creative Soul: Art and the Quest for Wholeness by Lawrence H. Staples / ISBN 13: 978-0-9810344-4-7 / Publication Date: Feb 14, 2009 / Order your copy by calling +1-831-238-7799.

Feelings as Guide to Self

by Lawrence H. Staples

Our own feelings, not the feelings of others, are our best and fastest guide to the self. These feelings lie inside us because they are ours, not someone else’s. Feelings are also the guide to our art and our relationships. The quality of our art and of our relationships depends on the quality of our intimacy. In turn, the quality of our intimacy (i.e., our capacity to reveal our selves fully) depends on feelings. We cannot reveal our selves without first finding and knowing our selves. Ultimately, it is feelings that lead us increasingly to self-knowledge. But, as we have seen that is difficult. We must bear much tension to sort out and differentiate our feelings from our emotions, and from the feelings of others. Bearing that tension may eventually lead us to our own feelings and our own compass. Until we find our star we may be led by stars that take us a longer way around to our self. If we do find our own feelings, we will undoubtedly pass through many “right,” “ideal,” and “suitable” people, art forms, and other things before we reach “The One” that we are really looking for, our self.

For the masculine-dominated mind, it is the fear of feelings that separates him from his art, his relationships, and, ultimately, his self. Thinking is not the problem; the masculine mind has this in spades. That is why women often say of a thinking man “he is just in his head.” It is a head-trip that leads a man in his search for a woman to establish ideal criteria. We see this all the time in personal ads. Such thinking also leads us to establish criteria for our selves to determine what is an acceptable outlet for our creative drives. If we listen to our feelings, we are attracted more often to someone that does not meet these criteria. We may be attracted more instinctively by their smell rather than their interest in museums, if our ego standards don’t interfere. We often feel about our relationships the same way we feel about our art. We want to run away and at the same time we are almost hopelessly drawn to them.