Jacki Kellum

Juxtapositions: Read My Mind

Month: March 2017 (page 1 of 2)

If You Plan to Visit New Orleans, You Need to Get A Passport – You’ve Left the USA

I grew up in the South, and I lived there until I was 53-years-old. They say that New York is a State of Mind. Well, in my opinion, the South is also a State of Mind–and New Orleans is the Greatest State of Mind.  I always tell people that if they plan to visit New Orleans, they need to get a passport because they have left the USA.


I grew up close to the Mississippi River, in what was cotton country at the time, but poverty has boarded shut the area where I grew up.


I have lived in Memphis, Tennessee, a Southern city that borders the Mississippi; and I especially love the stretch of Ole Muddy further South, from Natchez to New Orleans.


The River Road that leads into New Orleans is lined with old plantations. This yellow plantation home is at the Laura Plantation, which has been owned by African Americans and Creoles for hundreds of years.

Laura Family Tree

“Four generations of Laura’s family worked on this Louisiana sugar plantation. In her family were French aristocrats, war heroes, astute businesswomen, cousins who married cousins, slave-holders who were brutal as well as sensitive, hot-headed “fire-eaters,” morose introverts, and farm managers, both competent and dissolute, all subjects in her Memories and all living outside the American mainstream.” See the full article at laura.com  Here

When most people think of New Orleans, they visualize Bourbon Street and Mardi Gras, so we’ll start there. In New Orleans, most of the heavy partying centers around Bourbon Street.

New Orleans is situated on the Mississippi River, down at the bottom of the state of Louisiana, which is at the bottom of the Mississippi River, too. New Orleans is the place where the Mississippi River dumps into the Gulf of Mexico.  At one time, the entire area was a swamp, and it was virtually uninhabitable. Because the French wanted to stake their claim on New Orleans, they shipped their prostitutes and criminals to settle it. I chuckle and say that those people are still “settling” New Orleans.


In some ways, New Orleans is a party, but She is more than that.

Bourbon Street is in a part of the French Quarter that is always wild, but the French Market and the Café du Monde are South and East of Bourbon Street, and they rest on the Mississippi River. The French Market pf New Orleans is where you go to buy French coffee all along the river there.  The Café du Monde is world famous for its chicory coffee and beignets, which are little squares of fried pastry that are sprinkled with powdered sugar. Oh My Gosh! I’m making my own mouth water. I’d love to be sitting on a bench in the French Market, watching the boats pass on the Mississippi River, and eating beignets.


New Orleans is a city of  iron work and verandaand Spanish moss and courtyards.

New Orleans is a crossroads. It reflects both its French and its Spanish roots, and it is where some the wildest people in this country cross the paths with some of the most religious.

It is a merger of of the old and the new.

New Orleans is a tribute to its past, some of which is still fine and sophisticated, but some of the old, fine  New Orleans  is gone now,  and there is a seediness about much of what remains.

But the seediness somehow seems to fit–especially back in the Atchafalaya Swamp, which is actually west of New Orleans. But remember: New Orleans is not entirely a bricks and mortar place. New Orleans is more a State of Mind. The Cajuns in the Atchafalya Swamp play a large part of the myth that is woven around the city of New Orleans, and New Orleans itself was also a swamp.

Just to the west of the French Quarter and around a bend of the Mississippi, the Garden District of New Orleans is located, and it is elegant.  When you are in The Garden District, it is difficult to realize that your are only a simple tram ride away from the bawdiness of Bourbon Street. I’ll talk more about the Garden District in another post.


New Orleans is a Gateway to another way of life–or I should say to several other ways of life that seem to have been tossed into a big, boiling pot of crawfish and corn on the cob and then turned them  out as one big buffet.

Voodoo is still practiced in New Orleans.

And music is as much a tributary  of life in New Orleans as the River that runs through it.


New Orleans is one of the few tropical parts of the United States, and the trees and the flowers bear witness to the long growing season there.

The above photo is from the plantation home at Oak Alley.

In New Orleans, flowers flourish that will not grow farther North. I miss my Southern flowers.

And alligators are quite at home around New Orleans. Remember! New Orleans was once a swamp.


In Louisiana, Live Oaks, with their long, crooked branches, crawl across the terrain,

And Spanish moss weeps from their limbs.

This is only part 1 of my virtual tour of New Orleans. I hope that you will check back in a few days and catch the next parts of this in depth look at a magnificent Southern City–one that is very dear to my heart.

My name is Jacki Kellum, and I essentially have 3 masters degrees in the arts and humanities. I have written and created visual art since I was a very young child, and I  blog about a number of topics on several different blog sites. I lead a Writers Group in New Jersey. and I teach painting. I am also an avid gardener. I hope that you will browse through my categories and my YouTube playlists and see if I am writing about anything that you enjoy.  I hope to see you again and again.


New Orleans has a heartbeat all of its own. When snows have imprisoned me in New Jersey and/or when I long to be nearer my family, I always hop on my computer and look for small fixer-uppers near new New Orleans. If I had just a few dollars more, I would have two homes–the one in New Jersey, which is a short drive from New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C., and the one in which I’ll always hang my heart. Seediness and all, I’d love to have a home  in New Orleans, and I’d let the good times roll! Laissez les bons temp rouler.

©Jacki Kellum March 31, 2016


The Artist’s Way and Spirituality – Introduction – Quotes with Page Numbers – Julia Cameron

Thousands of years before Julia Cameron wrote the Artist’s Way,  writers and thinkers had equated one’s spirit or one’s essence with the imagination.

Six hundred years before Christ was born or about 2600 years ago, Lao Tzu wrote the Tao Te Ching, which is The Book of the Way:

In Chapter 1 of the Tao Te Ching, the following is said:

“There are ways but the Way is uncharted “
“The secret waits for the insight”
“Those who are bound by desire See only the outward container.”
Again to the first line. “There are ways. but the Way…” can only be found from within, from the spirit.


The Artist’s Way is also about this ancient Way, and it is about much more than making art objects. It is about a lifestyle. It is about a way of living–a type of spirituality that is manifested through the imagination and a deep connection to one’s own inner self. It is a step beyond superficiality or the external and into what William Blake and other Romantic poets called the Imagination.

William Blake was an English Romantic poet who wrote during the early 1800s. In his early works, The Songs of Innocence and Experience, Blake equated the innocent lamb with the pure essence of the spiritual and childhood.

Here is William Blake’s verse about the Innocent Lamb of Childhood.

Little lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee,
Gave thee life, and bid thee feed
By the stream and o’er the mead;
Gave thee clothing of delight,
Softest clothing, woolly, bright;
Gave thee such a tender voice,”
Making all the vales rejoice?

William Blake’s Tyger was the embodiment of Experience or the External. The Experienced person is characterized as being insensitive and detached. William Blake associated the cynical adult with the Experience or the Tyger state.

The Tyger is described as being fierce and dreadful. Blake asks of the Tyger:

Did He who made the Lamb make Thee?

As Blake continued to write, his theories became more radical. He eventually conceived of a type of heaven and hell, and he created the character Los to be the Christ-like savior of his religion, and Los  was the embodiment of the Imagination. One of Blake’s later books was titled The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. 

My reason for pointing all of this out is again to show that for many years, writers and thinkers have associated spirituality with the imagination.

William Blake was one of the earliest of the Romantic poets, who were a reaction against the Industrial Revolution. The Realists were in favor of Industrialism, Mechanization, Standardization, and Outwardness. The Romanticists advocated the Imagination as the savior from Industrialism and the key to Inwardness, as opposed to the outwardness iof Industrialism.In my opinion, this Romanitic Inwardness is the same a Lao Tsu’s The Way and as Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. 

On the very first page of the introduction to Cameron’s 1992 edition of  the Artist’s Way, she quoted the Romantic poet Coleridge in the right margin. He said:

“The primary imagination I hold to be the living power.” – Samuel Taylor Coleridge: 1772-1834

William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge were best friends. They were both Romantic poets and wrote after William Blake did. Their writings echo those of William Blake in that they advocate feelings, sensitivity, and child-like innocence].

“Genius is the power of carrying the feelings of childhood into the powers of manhood.” – Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Samuel Taylor Coleridge also wrote about a type of Way or inner or Spiritual direction:

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” – Samuel Taylor Coleridge

I believe that it is important to lay this framework for Julia Cameron’s book the Artist’s Way and to acknowledge that she is not really writing anything new. Rather, she is repeating what has been said for thousands of years and by many people before her. In fact, some of the greatest features of Cameron’s book are her quotes of other people. In most cases, these quotes run along the side margins of Cameron’s own observations. Cameron collates, organizes and reiterates in digestible chunks the wisdom of many people who preceded her. Now, twenty-five years after the first publication of the Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron herself is the person being quoted in other people’s books.

In the introduction to the Artist’ Way, Cameron makes it clear that her books are not merely for artists and writers. They are for:

...artists and nonartists, painters and filmmakers and homemakers and lawyers–anyone interested in living more creatively through practicing an art; even more broadly, anyone interested in practicing the art of creative living.” p. xi the 1992 edition.

In the introduction to the Artist’s Way, Cameron speaks about our need for a God or a Great Creator; yet, she says that even atheists can benefit from her program. When Cameron speaks of God or the Great Creator, I believe that she is talking about an elite lifestyle reserved only for those people who elect to participate in it, and  I  believe that for some people, Cameron’s Great Creator can include the Christian concept of God:

“Many are called but few are chosen.” – the Bible – Matthew 22:

Yet, it can also include the Jewish concept of God:

“Every blade of grass has its Angel that bends over it and whispers, ‘Grow, grow.’ ” – The Talmud

By the same token, I do not believe that everyone who considers themselves to be Christian or Jewish has the kind of spirituality of Great Creator to which Cameron refers. Julia Cameron’s concept of the Great Creator is not limited to any specific doctrine, sect, or religious denomination. It is also rooted in the teachings of the Ancient, non Judeo Christian:

“Knowing others is intelligence;
knowing yourself is true wisdom.
Mastering others is strength;
mastering yourself is true power.”  – Lao Tsu – Tao Te Ching

As we begin to study Julia Cameron’s the Artist’s Way, we must  embrace the power of what Cameron is calling The Great Creator, and I believe that essential to embracing this Creator is understanding it and if necessary in distinguishing it from a purely religious God. Again, I believe that Julia Cameron is partially speaking about what I call the Intuition. Even though he was a great scientist, Albert Einstein endorsed the power of the intuition, as he said:

“The only real valuable thing is intuition.” – Albert Einstein

Many, many times before, I have said that when I am doing my best writing and my best painting, I am not actually doing either. My intuition is doing it for me.

If you will look closely at my painting of the pink tulips, you will see a flush of hot pink within and running through the leaves. I painted these tulips from a life observation of a pot of tulips and something literally directed my hand to the pink paint and nudged me into the act of flooding it through the green leaves. Somehow, I sensed the need of the color pink, and I  sensed exactly where to place the pink.  After I finished the painting, I didn’t name it: Pink Tulips. I named it In the Pink, and it was because of the way that the pink actively engaged with the green.


When I painted Janis Joplin, I began thinking of the essence of Janis Joplin’s performances, and something told me to electrify her hair. When I am painting well, I don’t make decisions like these. Something within me directs me, and I call that something my Intuition, which is somehting greater than me.

I am reminded of the scripture from the Christian Bible:

4 “,,,greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”  I John 4:4

If I were writing my parallel view of this scripture, I would say:

“Greater is He who is in me than I who am in my way.” – Jacki Kellum

This power that is within me is my Intuition.

If I were going to reduce the message of Julia Cameron’s book the Artist’s Way into a tiny jingle, I would say that the Artist’s Way is about our need to get out of our own ways and to let that greater power within us do its job. In my opinion, writer’s block, painter’s block, and every other kind of brain freeze happens because we get in our own ways. When we try to take control of what we create, and when we don’t allow our intuitions to work through us, we get in our own ways.

In my opinion, the first step toward the Artist’s Way is to Release.

My name is Jacki Kellum. I essentially have 3 masters degrees in the arts, and I have written and created visual art since I was a very young child. Over the years, I have read Julia Cameron’s books several times, and every time that I do, I discover something new. I am currently leading a writer’s group, and we are taking a few weeks to explore the Artist’s Way together. I plan to share some of my lectures on my blog and on YouTube. I hope that you will join us.

©Jacki Kellum March 30, 2017

Hendrick Avercamp – Dutch Painter 1585 – 1634 – Known for His Winter and Skating Scenes

Hendrik Avercamp was a Dutch Painter between the years of 1585 and 1634. He is recognized for his winter paintings and his paintings of skating scenes. Typically speaking, I love the Dutch painters. One of my favorite painters Vincent Van Gogh is Dutch, but he lived a long time after Avercamp. I love the Dutch landscape painter Jacob Ruisdael, who lived near the same time as Avercamp, and I love the bravura of the Dutch brushstroke in Dutch painters like Frans Hals and Rembrandt. Both Hals and Rembrandt came slightly little later, but Avercamp leads the way. Avercamp’s work is also a bit like that of Pieter Bruegel the Elder.

This is what the National Gallery says about Avercamp:

“His carefully characterised groups of small figures are drawn together in the paintings through subtly graduated colour. His pictures were composed in the studio from acutely observed watercolour drawings.” The National Gallery in London

 watercolor study


Winter landscape with skaters playing kolf [a type of golf]. 1600-1634. Brush in watercolor and gouache, over graphite.

In this landscape study or watercolor sketch, we are able to see that the people in Avercamp’s ice worlds are from about the same era as the Pilgrims who came to America. From this image, we also begin to understand that ice skating has bee popular for at least hundreds of years.

In Avercamp’s Gouache over Pencil Study–which is the more finished of the sketches, we are able to see the faces and the costumes of the people in the painting. But that is not typically the case with Avercamp’s large, finished oils. This is actually only a segment of Avercamp’s oil painting: Winter Landscape with Ice Skaters , which was painted in about 1608. I have zoomed in so that you can see that the people are doing all sorts of things on the ice. Some are simply skating. Some are playing kolf, which, as I said before, is a type of golf. Some of the people seem to be trying to break a boat away from the ice, and some are being pulled across the ice by a horse and sleigh. Although you see many people in this segment, you can’t see any of the people clearly. None of the figures is a clear center of interest.

In Avercamp’s full paintings,

Here is another view of the same scene, but it is a bit more reduced. Thus, we see more of the scene, which includes a town.

When we see the full painting, we begin to visualize how Avercamp is like Bruegel. The grayness of the sky becomes a major player in the scene, and the buildings of he community do, too. The people seem almost ant-like, and they have merely been recorded in a moment of a day.

Pieter Bruegel the Elder – Hunters in the Snow

Rembrandt was a few years younger than Avercamp, but he lived and painted in the same area.

It might also  help you to recall that In 1606, Rembrandt was born in the Netherlands, and in 1662, he also died in Amsterdam. Rembrandt was slightly younger than Avercamp, but he lived and painted in the same area.

This is the first of what I hope will become a regular series of very short snippets of art history. I am calling this series: Looking Through the Eyes of Great Art. Look for more features here as well as on my YouTube channel.

©Jacki Kellum March 26, 2017

Quotes about March

“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.” ― Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

“March came in that winter like the meekest and mildest of lambs, bringing days that were crisp and golden and tingling, each followed by a frosty pink twilight which gradually lost itself in an elfland of moonshine.” ― L.M. Montgomery – Anne of Green Gables, Anne of the Island

“They captured in their ramble all the mysteries and magics of a March evening. Very still and mild it was, wrapped in a great, white, brooding silence — a silence which was yet threaded through with many little silvery sounds which you could hear if you hearkened as much with your soul as your ears. The girls wandered down a long pineland aisle that seemed to lead right out into the heart of a deep-red, overflowing winter sunset.”
― L.M. Montgomery – – Anne of Green Gables, Anne of the Island

“By March, the worst of the winter would be over. The snow would thaw, the rivers begin to run and the world would wake into itself again.

Not that year.

Winter hung in there, like an invalid refusing to die. Day after grey day the ice stayed hard; the world remained unfriendly and cold.”
― Neil Gaiman, Odd and the Frost Giants


“In March the soft rains continued, and each storm waited courteously until its predecessor sunk beneath the ground.”
― John Steinbeck, East of Eden

It is the HOMELIEST month of the year. Most of it is MUD, Every Imaginable Form of MUD, and what isn’t MUD in March is ugly late-season SNOW falling onto the ground in filthy muddy heaps that look like PILES of DIRTY LAUNDRY.”
― Vivian Swift, When Wanderers Cease to Roam: A Traveler’s Journal of Staying Put

“Only those with tenacity can march forward in March”
― Ernest Agyemang Yeboah

Quotes About April

“Song of a Second April

APRIL this year, not otherwise
Than April of a year ago
Is full of whispers, full of sighs,
Dazzling mud and dingy snow;
Hepaticas that pleased you so
Are here again, and butterflies.

There rings a hammering all day,
And shingles lie about the doors;
From orchards near and far away
The gray wood-pecker taps and bores,
And men are merry at their chores,
And children earnest at their play.

The larger streams run still and deep;
Noisy and swift the small brooks run.
Among the mullein stalks the sheep
Go up the hillside in the sun
Pensively; only you are gone,
You that alone I cared to keep.”
― Edna St. Vincent Millay

April is a promise that May is bound to keep. – Hal Borland

Oh, to be in England now that April’s there. Robert Browning

Long stormy spring-time, wet contentious April, winter chilling the lap of very May; but at length the season of summer does come. Thomas Carlyle

April in Paris, chestnuts in blossom, holiday tables under the trees. E. Y. Harburg

So sweet love seemed that April morn. When first we kissed beside the thorn, So strangely sweet, it was not strange We thought that love could never change. – Robert Bridges

Shining through tears, like April suns in showers, that labour to overcome the cloud that loads ’em. Thomas Otway

“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”
― George Orwell, 1984

“April is the cruelest month, breeding
lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
memory and desire, stirring
dull roots with spring rain.”
― T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land

“Snow in April is abominable,” said Anne. “Like a slap in the face when you expected a kiss.”
― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Ingleside

“Her laughter sounded like April showers, like whispered secrets, like glass wind-chimes.”
― Rebecca McNutt, Shadowed Skies: The Third Smog City Novel


“October knew, of course, that the action of turning a page, of ending a chapter or shutting a book, did not end the tale.
Having admitted that, he would also avow that happy endings were never difficult to find: “It is simply a matter,” he explained to April, “of finding a sunny place in a garden, where the light is golden and the grass is soft; somewhere to rest, to stop reading, and to be content.”
― Neil Gaiman, The Sandman, Vol. 4: Season of Mists

“You spend so much time hating the fact that April behaves more like a mother than a sister, but you’re the one who’s holding onto the apron strings every time she tries to cut them.”
― Nicola Sinclair, Promise

“ ‘April, April, laugh thy girlish laughter, and the moment after, Weep thy girlish tears, April.’ ”
― Angus Wilson, No Laughing Matter

“April was just beginning, and after the warm spring day it turned cooler, slightly frosty, and a breath of spring could be felt in the soft, cold air. The road from the convent to town was sandy, they had to go at a walking pace; and on both sides of the carriage, in the bright, still moonlight, pilgrims trudged over the sand. And everyone was silent, deep in thought, everything around was welcoming, young, so near— the trees, the sky, even the moon—and one wanted to think it would always be so.”
― Anton Chekhov, Short Stories

“The seasonal urge is strong in poets. Milton wrote chiefly in winter. Keats looked for spring to wake him up (as it did in the miraculous months of April and May, 1819). Burns chose autumn. Longfellow liked the month of September. Shelley flourished in the hot months. Some poets, like Wordsworth, have gone outdoors to work. Others, like Auden, keep to the curtained room. Schiller needed the smell of rotten apples about him to make a poem. Tennyson and Walter de la Mare had to smoke. Auden drinks lots of tea, Spender coffee; Hart Crane drank alcohol. Pope, Byron, and William Morris were creative late at night. And so it goes.”
― Helen Bevington, When Found, Make a Verse of

“I had a chat with May and I had a sweet talk with April but the lovely conversation that left me to ponder was the long talk I had with June. Mathematics came to tell me that May is 3, June is 4 and April is 5. ‘ This should have been the counting order’ Mathematics said to me, and added, if you add 3 and 5 you shall surely get 8 and if you find the mid of 8 you will get 4 which is June. Ask June why the disorder! So I quickly called June and asked, why have you change the order? June said, ‘my brother, in this era, you should least give men things which are in order. Let them ponder and put things in order and they will learn something better’. I had to ponder and wonder. Then June added, those who will ponder to know why I have change the order to be at the mid of the other shall get to the mid of the other and wonder why they are at the mid of the other and end the other in wonder but, those who would never see why they must ponder when they get to the mid of the other to know why I am there shall end the other in disorder. They shall end the other and wander in the end! I was quick to ask June, which other? June calmly said, the twelve disciples of the year. Disciples’? I asked. June quickly said, I mean months! In your journey of life, take a break as you journey and ponder over the journey; June concluded!”
― Ernest Agyemang Yeboah

Deep in my cortex, the year is divided into reading seasons. The period from mid-October to Christmas, for instance, is ‘ghost story’ time, while Jane Austen and P. G. Wodehouse pretty much own April and May. Michael Dirda

High school is a haunted house in April, when seniors act up because the end is near. Even those who hate school sometimes cling to the devil they know. And for the kids who love it, the goodbyes are hard to think about. – Nancy Gibbs


The River by Flannery O’Connor – Free Text Online – Quotes


List of Books for 2016-2018 Classics Book Club

List of Books for 2016-2018 Classics Book Club

December 2016 – The Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens – Published 1843


January – Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen – Published 1813

February – Black Beauty – Anna Sewell – 1877

March – The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald – Published 1925

April – A Moveable Feast – Ernest Hemingway – Published Posthumously about 1920s Expatriates in Paris

During the Summer, We Are Taking a Break from the Classics and Are Reading More Modern Books.

May – The Prince of Tides – Pat Conroy – Published 1986

June – The Language of Flowers –  Vanessa Diffenbaugh – Published 2011

July – The Signature of All Things – Elizabeth Gilbert – Published 2013

August – The Poisonwood Bible – Barbara Kingsolver – Published 1998

September – To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee – Published 1960

October – Something Wicked This Way Comes – Ray Bradbury – Published 1962

November – The Legend of Sleepy Hollow – Washington Irving – Published 1820

December – The Velveteen Rabbit – Margery Williams – Published 1922


January – Gone with the Wind – Margaret Mitchell – Published 1936

February – The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – L. Frank Baum – Published 1900

March – The River and Other Stories by Flannery O’Connor

April – Elmer Gantry – Sinclair Lewis – Published 1927

May – Poor White – Sherwood Anderson – Published 1920

June- Cheaper by the Dozen – Frank and Ernestine Gilbreth – Published 1948

July – The Age of Innocence – Edith Wharton – Published 1920

August – A Tree Grows in Brooklyn – Betty Smith – Published 1943

September – Rebecca – Daphne DuMaurier – Published 1938

October – Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne – Published 1850

November – O Pioneers – Willa Cather – Published 1913

December – Little Women – Louisa May Alcott – Published 1869








Ars Poetica by Archibald Macleish – A Lost Generation Poet Who Lived in Paris

Ars Poetica
A poem should be palpable and mute
As a globed fruit,

As old medallions to the thumb,

Silent as the sleeve-worn stone
Of casement ledges where the moss has grown—

A poem should be wordless
As the flight of birds.


A poem should be motionless in time
As the moon climbs,

Leaving, as the moon releases
Twig by twig the night-entangled trees,

Leaving, as the moon behind the winter leaves,
Memory by memory the mind—

A poem should be motionless in time
As the moon climbs.


A poem should be equal to:
Not true.

For all the history of grief
An empty doorway and a maple leaf.

For love
The leaning grasses and two lights above the sea—

A poem should not mean
But be.

Archibald Macleish studied English at Yale and wrote for the literary journal there. Macleish studied law at Harvard and was later part of the faculty there. During and after World War I, Macleish and his family moved to Paris and became part of the expatriates there. He became at professor at Harvard and earned 3 Pullitzer Prizes.


A Tribute to Julia Cameron – Life Coach, Spiritual Guru, and Author of The Aritst’s Way

Several years ago, I found myself wading through a set of personal trials that made my life tedious. It didn’t take long for me to find myself creatively blocked, frozen, and silent. A friend recognized my struggle and gave me Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way, and gradually,  my creativity was restored. Since then, Julia Cameron has written several books similar to The Artist’s Way, and I believe that most artistic people who are familiar with Cameron’s work would agree that she has made a massive contribution to people who are trying to live more mindfully, more spiritually, and more creatively. I have decided to begin a series that will explore Julia Cameron and her vast reservoir of tips for living. I’ll begin by discussing her first book The Artist’s Way:

Most of Cameron’s books are set up as a series of training sessions that are presented as weekly studies. I teach an offline writing class, and as part of that class’s agenda, we will begin to work through Cameron’s training program one week at a time. My class members are waiting for their books to arrive, and you might like to order a book and begin this program with us. My class has been assigned the reading of the Introduction to the Artist’s Way during the week of March 23, 2017, through March 30, 2017. We’ll discuss the introduction  though page 24 of the book on March 30, 2017, and we’ll study Week 1 the following week. After March 30, we’ll study one week of the program each week for twelve weeks. In many ways, The Artist’s Way is a type of 12-Step Program Designed to Help You Recover Your Creativity. You are welcome to join us free online via this blog site. I strongly recommend that everyone buy their own books. Julia Cameron’s books are treasures. You will want a book to mark and highlight and to keep for reference.

Julia Cameron teaches us how to quieten our own inner critics or self-editors and to quit trying to control our own creative processes.

Julia Cameron is synonymous with the wisdom of writing morning pages. She urges all creatives, and not just writers, to write morning pages.

We’ll discuss our study of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way more during the next week. For now, I want to encourage everyone to get their own copy of The Artist’s Way and to begin preparing themselves for the learning opportunity of a lifetime.

©Jacki Kellum March 16, 2017


What A Tangled Web We Weave When First We Practice to Deceive OURSELVES

Next week, I’ll be 67-years-old, and as I look back across the string of events that have been woven together to create my life, I wish that I could see a clear chain of well-considered decisions that were based on sound, unflawed reasoning. Unfortunately, however, denial has a tendency to enter the equation. I find myself wondering if much of what I have done was based on the partial or flawed bits of information that I allowed to pose as truths. I wonder how much I have deceived myself.

Image result for denzel washington movie police man florida

Yesterday, I watched the Denzel Washington movie Out of Time, and I literally cringed as I watched one of my favorite actors wade through the swarm of problems that he created while deceiving himself, and I thought, for about the millionth time, about how this swarming nature of problems is true of life.

What a dangerous web we weave when first we practice to deceive ourselves

Many of our problems evolve because we assume that everything that we think is true. It is not. We often think things that are not at all true. That is the nature of Denial, and once we buy into Denial, our minds become gnarled circuit boards. Maybe when I was first born, my brain’s wires were orderly,  but I could not have been very old when things that should not have happened did happen to me or when I simply did things that I should not have done. I have compounded the effects of the unfortunate events of my own life by making flawed decisions–primarily as efforts to compensate for the things that should never have happened. Like the tangling web, my internal wires seem to have gotten more and more tangled.


I definitely think too much, and all of that thinking muddles things even more; but my writing helps me to manage some of the knotting, but writing does not help the twisted web of problems that have arisen outside of my mind. I am thinking about family problems now. I am not sure when my family became such a dismal affair. I am quite sure that my family’s kiss of death lay somewhere within my nasty divorce. Like a bomb, atoms separated during my divorce, and time has not healed any of the wounds inflicted during that  time. To the contrary, like Denzel Washington’s problems in his movie Out of Time, my family’s problems have compounded and swarmed since my divorce, and they have taken on a life of their own. Like Humpty Dumpty, we are broken, and I doubt that all the King’s horses and all the King’s men can glue my family back together again. Yet, I never completely give up. I leave my porch light on and my key under the mat.

©March 6, 2017


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