PERSONAL: Married Martin Scorcese (a film director; marriage ended); children: Domenica.
ADDRESSES: Home—Taos, NM. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Penguin Putnam, 375 Hudson St., New York, NY 10014.
CAREER: Poet, playwright, songwriter, novelist, educator, and author of nonfiction. Director of film God's Will. Journalist; former special correspondent for Chicago Tribune. Teacher of creativity and writing workshops.
AWARDS, HONORS: Maggie Award for Best Editorial Writing, for story in American Film.
(With Mark Bryan) The Money Drunk: Ninety Days to Financial Sobriety, Contemporary Books (Chicago, IL), 1992.
(With Mark Bryan) The Artist's Way Morning Pages Journal: A Companion Volume to "The Artist's Way," Putnam (New York, NY), 1995.
The Vein of Gold: A Journey to Your Creative Heart, Putnam (New York, NY), 1996.
Heart Steps: Prayers and Exercises for a Creative Life, Putnam (New York, NY), 1997.
(With Michael Toms) The Well of Creativity, Hay House (Carlsbad, CA), 1997.
(With Mark Bryan and Catherine Allen) The Artist's Way at Work: Riding the Dragon, Morrow (New York, NY), 1998.
Blessings: Prayers and Declarations for a Heartful Life, Putnam (New York, NY), 1998.
The Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation into the Writing Life, Putnam (New York, NY), 1998, portions published as The Writer's Life: Insights from "The Right to Write," Putnam (New York, NY), 2001.
The Artist's Date Book: A Companion Volume to "The Artist's Way," illustrated by Elizabeth Cameron Evans, Putnam (New York, NY), 1999.
Transitions: Prayers and Declarations for a Changing Life, Putnam (New York, NY), 1999.
God Is No Laughing Matter: Observations and Objections on the Spiritual Path, Putnam (New York, NY), 2000.
God Is Dog Spelled Backwards, illustrated by Elizabeth Cameron, Putnam (New York, NY), 2000.
Supplies: A Pilot's Guide to Creative Flight, illustrated by Elizabeth Cameron, Putnam (New York, NY), 2000, revised as Supplies: A Troubleshooting Guide for Creative Difficulties, 2003.
Inspirations: Meditations from "The Artist's Way," Putnam (New York, NY), 2001.
Walking in This World: The Practical Art of Creativity, Putnam (New York, NY), 2002.
Prayers from a Nonbeliever: A Story of Faith, Putnam (New York, NY), 2003.
The Sound of Paper: Starting from Scratch, Putnam (New York, NY), 2004.
The Dark Room (crime fiction), Carroll & Graf (New York, NY), 1998.
Prayers for the Little Ones (for children), Renaissance Books (Los Angeles, CA), 1999.
Prayers to the Nature Spirits (for children), Renaissance Books (Los Angeles, CA), 1999.
Popcorn: Hollywood Stories (fiction), Really Great Books (Los Angeles, CA), 2000.
Author of the plays Avalon (musical based on the life of King Arthur), Four Roses, Public Lives, and The Animal in the Trees. Author of poetry books This Earth and The Quiet Animal; author of introduction, Your Heart's Desire: Instructions for Creating the Life You Really Want, by Sonia Choquette, Crown, 1997. Contributor to screenplays, including Taxi Driver, New York, New York, and American Boy. Contributor of essays to anthologies, including The Rolling Stone Reader. Contributor to periodicals, including New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Rolling Stone, New York, and American Film. Columnist for Vogue and American Film.
ADAPTATIONS: The Artist's Way was adapted as an audiocassette, recorded by Cameron, Putnam Berkley Audio, 1997.
SIDELIGHTS: Julia Cameron made a name for herself with her 1992 volume The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity, which she coauthored with fellow teacher Mark Bryan. Containing a twelve-week course in "discovering and recovering your creative self," The Artist's Way is a groundbreaking work that spawned everything from what Utne Reader contributor Jon Spayde termed "a healthy-sized market in books that help you claim your own creative power" to workshops and college courses. Reported Greta Beigel in the Los Angeles Times, after taking three years to become a bestseller, The Artist's Way sparked "a social phenomenon as people from varying professional and economic backgrounds … band together to work its precepts as a group activity." Since then Cameron has produced a number of other books that expand on the concepts set forth in The Artist's Way: That the creative process is something everyone possesses, but it remains undeveloped due to negative past experiences, unrealistic expectations, or fear.
Raised near Chicago, Illinois, Cameron started writing at the age of eighteen. She went on to make a name for herself as a journalist, screenwriter for both television and film—she was once the wife of noted film director Martin Scorcese—playwright, and poet. The Artist's Way is the direct result of Cameron's multifaceted career, as well as of the obstacles she encountered and overcame in order to focus her creative energies so productively. In her book she includes inspirational writings and exercises, such as the stream-of consciousness writing she calls "morning pages" and the weekly solo "artist's date" devoted exclusively to a creative whim, to develop her reader's hidden creative abilities and increase self-confidence. Noting that "despite the intensity of her material, Cameron has a light, easy style," Quill & Quire contributor Mark Gerson maintained that The Artist's Way "isn't a life-consuming course—little more than an hour a day should do it—but it is a life-changing one, as any road to creative health is likely to be."
After the success of The Artist's Way, Cameron penned the sequel The Vein of Gold: A Journey to Your Creative Heart. "If The Artist's Way was intended to unblock you so you could write or paint," explained Spayde in Utne Reader, "in The Vein of Gold, writing, painting, and the other arts are used as ways of unblocking the soul." With chapters that focus on spirituality, courage, and patience, The Vein of Gold continues Cameron's program of "morning pages," "artist's dates," inspiring text, and series of related tasks, adding such things as a daily twenty-minute walk, making collages, and writing a narrative autobiography. In a review for Library Journal, contributor Lisa S. Wise called The Vein of Gold a "rich self-help guide to developing spiritual, creative lives," while in Booklist Donna Seaman noted that the book contains "new and even more probing techniques for liberating what [Cameron] … believes is our innate creativity." Although applicable to many of the arts, Cameron's focus remains on the art of creative writing. As she noted in an interview withWritersMarket.com interviewer Anne Bowling: "All of my advice circles back to: write every day, write in whatever form interests you, walk through every door that opens."
Other books emanating from Cameron's teachings in The Artist's Way include The Artist's Way at Work: Riding the Dragon, which contains a twelve-week program to help tap business-related creativity, and Supplies: A Pilot's Guide to Creative Flight, which a Publishers Weekly contributor characterized as "a complete instruction manual for pursuing a creative dream and what to do when it starts to soar." In her 2002 work Walking in This World: The Practical Art of Creativity, Cameron serves up what Booklist contributor Whitney Scott described as a "intermediate-level creative how-to" that continues the author's "mission to illuminate creativity as a spiritual path." While noting that the focus of Walking in This World is "assuredly, unabashedly theistic" in its reference to a Great Creator and the importance of prayer, Rob Kendt noted in his review for Back Stage West that the work is nonetheless as "outward-looking as it is inward-directed" through its discussion of the "outside distractions, threats, and enemies, from 'creative saboteurs' to 'piggybackers'" that drain one's creativity. Although Cameron's "core insights are the same" as in her other books on creativity, according to a Publishers Weekly reviewer "her words seem to have grown wiser."
In addition to her nonfiction work and her continued commitment to helping people develop their innate creative abilities, Cameron has engaged in some wholly creative writing of her own. In addition to penning several books of children's verse and the short-story collection Popcorn: Hollywood Stories, about her experiences in the film industry, she is the author of the 1998 crime novel The Dark Room. In what New York Times Book Review contributor Bill Kent deemed a "wildly incredible tale of cops and psycho killers," Cameron introduces aging detective Elliot Mayo, a cop on the trail of a brutal ritualistic killer—who may in fact be his love interest—through the streets of Chicago. In Publishers Weekly a reviewer noted that The Dark Room "generates moral heat … [and] the guarded yet spiritually adventurous May stands as a compelling lead," while Kent noted in the New York Times Book Review that Cameron's "tough-guy prose often sparkles with wry turns and snappy comebacks." The novel was actually inspired by the life story of one of her friends, who died of AIDS and had asked, before he died, that she use his story creatively. For her part, Cameron told Publishers Weekly contributor Lucinda Dyer, writing The Dark Room allowed her to "step out from behind the persona of being a creative fairy godmother."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Cameron, Julia, and Mark Bryan, The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity, Perigee (Los Angeles, CA), 1992, 10th anniversary edition, Putnam (New York, NY), 2002.
Back Stage West, September 26, 2002, Rob Kendt, review of Walking in This World: The Practical Art of Creativity, p. 8.
Booklist, October 15, 1996, Donna Seaman, review of The Vein of Gold, p. 380; September 15, 2002, Whitney Scott, review of Walking in This World, p. 181.
Library Journal, November 1, 1996, Lisa S. Wise, review of The Vein of Gold, p. 94; October 15, 1998, Budd Arthur, review of The Dark Room, p. 405; January, 1999, L. Wise, review of The Right to Write, p. 116; May 1, 2003, Graham Christian, review of Prayers from a Nonbeliever, p. 122.
Los Angeles Times, July 23, 1995, Greta Beigel, "The Path to the Person Inside," pp. E1, E4.
New Age Journal, winter, 1993, p. 83; March, 1993, p. 72.
New York Times Book Review, December 13, 1998, Bill Kent, review of The Dark Room, p. 23.
Publishers Weekly, August 19, 1996, review of The Vein of Gold, p. 44; February 3, 1997, review of Your Heart's Desire, p. 87; August 4, 1997, review of Heart Steps, p. 61; April 20, 1998, review of The Artist's Way at Work, p. 52; August 3, 1998, Lucinda Dyer, "Julia Cameron," p. 51; September 14, 1998, review of The Dark Room, p. 45; December 21, 1998, review of The Right to Write, p. 42; August 21, 2000, review of Popcorn, p. 43; September 11, 2000, review of God Is No Laughing Matter, p. 83; September 25, 2000, review of Supplies: A Pilot's Guide to Creative Flight, pp. 106-107; September 23, 2002, Sylvia Boorstein, "Four Authors Who Have Found a Following," p. S18; September 30, 2002, review of Walking in This World, p. 64.
Quill & Quire, July, 1993, Mark Gerson, review of The Artist's Way, p. 51.
Utne Reader, September, 1996, Jon Spayde, "Heartful Art," pp. 91-93.
Whole Earth Review, summer, 1995, Hillary Hoffman, review of The Artist's Way, p. 102.
Whole Life Times, June, 2000, p. 32.
New Dimensions Online,http://www.newdimensions.org/ (January 21, 2003), "Unlocking Your Creativity: An Interview with Julia Cameron."
Penguin Putnam Web site,http://www.penguinputnam.com/ (January 21, 2003).
WritersMarket.com,http://www.writersmarket.com/ (January 21, 2003), Anne Bowling, "Julia Cameron: Take the Risk of Writing."*