I thought about the many things that might be required to write a proper review of a book. I might make a real fool of myself by doing this! Maybe I'll do...

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“How to Avoid Making Art (or Anything Else You Enjoy)”

by Julia Cameron

Tarcher/Penguin, $13.95

I thought about the many things that might be required to write a proper review of a book. I might make a real fool of myself by doing this! Maybe I’ll do it later; I’ve got real deadlines — 17 sports illustrations, for the luvvamud. (There’s my first flaw, I’ve sworn! Sort of.)

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OK, so what’s the deal with procrastination? Well, Julia Cameron’s book, featuring cartoons by Elizabeth Cameron about common delaying tactics, isn’t so remarkable. I do this stuff all the time … how ordinary. I’ve asked around the Seattle Times art department; my colleagues all have tried these tactics to avoid doing their art, and have a few creative ones to add — like making darn sure all their house spiders are well fed a couple of times a day. Only freshly caught flies will do.

So that means procrastination is real, and Julia Cameron managed to get it down and get it right.

Excuse me — must go make a salad, which is far more important than finishing this review or making art — and must be attended to right away. No. Time. To. Explain.

All right, I’m back; the salad was just perfect.

This book is like self hell(p) in pictures. It’s sneaky, because it shines a light on you, as you see yourself: a complete failure. Then it starts to show you how silly procrastinating is by providing examples of … silly procrastinating. Oh, the lengths we go to not to be measured by ourselves.

OK, I get it, and Julia Cameron had to be the one to tell me after all these years. I have to turn this in to my editor. It’s the first thing I’ve ever let myself write.

By the way, Elizabeth Cameron’s drawings are just right, not overdone. One says, “Ask a lot of people their opinion of your plan.” What I see are the faces of confused and skeptical individuals being forced to listen to someone’s grand scheme. Hmm, something seems a little too familiar about this drawing.

Another says, “Rather than make art, read about art.” Well, I’ll get back to this after I finish this new book on Picasso. But I will say that the drawing of the people in the cartoon seem to be searching in a book for an art movement to adopt — so they can get to work, of course.

The drawings are brilliant at reinforcing Julia Cameron’s point. So much so, that I’d like to see what must be a huge pile of rejected drawings left behind in the process of making this book.

Susan Jouflas is a designer at The Seattle Times: sjouflas@seattletimes.com