Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit

Standing at Water’s Edge: Chapter 3



The Need for Others

The third chapter in Standing at Water’s Edge is a preface to Dr. Paris’s discussion on relationships and the importance of relationships in the creative process. She begins with an interview with Loren Long, a book illustrator. In a nutshell, Mr. Long has an ideal situation: he has a strong connection to his family and his art. His family is a strong support network for him and his art. At the end of the interview, Dr. Paris tells Mr. Long: “I view your lifestyle as a sign of your strength, and I believe that your relationships with your wife and children support and enrich your ongoing capacity to create.”

Not that Mr. Long doesn’t have self-doubt. He does say in the interview “I guess that, in general, I always need someone to like my work. If they don’t, my self-doubt comes to the surface. You know, like I’m not living up to the grand fantasies I have about myself or about what my work should look like.”

I remember feeling that when I first started working as an artist full-time. I wanted everyone to like my art. The reality is not everyone will like your art. And I’ve come to accept that because I certainly know that I don’t like every piece of art I see either. However, as creative types, we all need someone (or several someones) to support us. The support we receive from relationships helps to keep us productive, happy, and energetic.

Dr. Paris sums this up nicely:

Positive relationships help to move us forward and help us to grow. Positive relationships also help the artist along in his creative process. Good relationships can bolster our courage to take the plunge into creativity. And likewise, not-so-good relationships, or a lack of relationships, can inhibit our dive.

I know from personal experience that I excel in the company of community. The year I participated in an art salon, I believe my business excelled because I was making and keeping goals and those in the group kept me on track. Since then I feel like I haven’t done quite as well, nor have I found quite the same support network.

Dr. Paris makes this additional point:

Although most people will agree that relationships are an important part of their life and that relationships help them to feel strong and capable, many people have a difficult time developing and sustaining these supports.


Personally, I believe some of this difficulty comes when people change, move forward or backward, change their focus, become overwhelmed by other factors in life, etc, etc. I do believe in that saying about people coming into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. The hard part is maintaining relationships. It takes effort from both persons.  As Dr. Paris points out Rather than striving to become self-sufficient and independent of others, we must seek to become better at creating gratifying relationships.

In this chapter, Dr. Paris talks a bit about psychology and human behavior and changes in this area over the last two decades. At the end of this discussion, she expresses her belief that creativity is more of a psychological state and process. It requires persistence, resilience, and determination (as various sources on creativity like to point out.) However, Dr. Paris believes that these traits are not a static or given ability. That the capacity to be creative emerges when we feel psychologically strong, safe, and understood by others.

But we all know that we are not all fortunate to have supportive friends, families, and others. So what do you do then?

Imagining Connection

Because of the belief that humans have a natural inclination for connection, it is possible that in the absence of real-life supportive relationships (or in addition to these relationships), imagining this kind of support is beneficial. In other words imagining supportive connections provides us the fuel to continue our attempts at creative immersion and sustains us through the various blocks and fears we encounter along the way.

Okay, I understand this point. I’ve done some visualization tasks, such as before heading off to an art show or before entering a gallery to present my work. And yes, it does give me a boost of confidence. This section also made me think a bit about the Law of Attraction and how visualizing can help bring about that which you desire.

Dr. Paris points out that while many artists are socially isolated or withdrawn, internally we are able to experience connections with others. And we often experience that connection with others through our art.

Before moving on to a discussion of three kinds of relationships, Dr. Paris poses two questions to consider:

What kinds of relationships do you need to facilitate your creativity?

What gets in the way of developing these kinds of relationships?

Join Me

I invite you to join me as I read Standing at Water’s Edge. You can purchase the book through Amazon, Dr. Paris’s web site, or perhaps find it at your local library or bookstore. My goal is to post every 7-10 days a summary of the chapter and share any a-ha moments that occurred. I welcome your comments on this and successive posts. Share your a-ha moments and experiences while reading the book. You can join in at any time. If you have a blog and are also writing about your experiences with this book, please include a link to your blog in your comment. I’ll include your blogs at the end of my posts.

Book Outline

Standing at Water’s Edge is divided into three parts with 10 chapters as follows:

Part 1: The Secret World of Creativity
Chapter 1: The Secret World of Creativity
Chapter 2: The Light and Dark of Immersion

Part II: Relationships
Chapter 3: The Need for Others
Chapter 4: Finding Strength in Mirrors
Chapter 5: Finding Inspiration in Heroes
Chapter 6: Finding Comfort in Twins
Chapter 7: Connecting with the Audience and Meeting Deadlines

Part III: Stages of the Creative Process
Chapter 8: Approaching Immersion
Chapter 9: Diving In
Chapter 10: Coping with Disengagement and Reentry

9 thoughts on “Standing at Water’s Edge: Chapter 3

  1. I love this Amy – how did I miss the other two posts? Not paying attention! I’ll be back for the rest

    I just came away from a three day Lucid Living seminar on Empowered Relationships – the timing of your post is delightful – thanks for the summary and insight as I don’t have the bandwidth to read it right now (you are my source)

    • Hi Kathy,

      Nice to see you here. I’m happy to share the summaries with you and am glad you’ve enjoyed them so far. I’ll let you know when the next Chapter summary is posted.


  2. Hi Amy ~ Carol again (artmusedog) I have 2 blogs ~ & I would like to pursue discussing this book with you & will post my thoughts also on my 2nd blog ( ~ my main blog is and I am currently writing about chakrason that blog ~ thus, I need that space for now ~

    I will order the book from Amazon & begin to read it probably by next Weds ~ let me know how you want to do this discussion.

    Hugs & namaste,
    Carol ~

    • Hi Carol,

      Welcome to the discussion. Feel free to do a trackback to any of these posts from your Creative Harbor blog. I look forward to reading your impressions about Standing at Water’s Edge.


  3. Wow, this book sounds fantastic, just what I am looking for. I also totally agree that by imaging, or visualising the type of relationships that provide creative support and also by visualising yourself as a creative being, in whatever shape of form that holds for you. You will begin to tap in and manifest more creativity in your life. I will definitely join you in reading the book.

  4. Hi Amy ~ Just received the book today & started reading it ~ I love the quote by CS Lewis ~ … paraphrasing ~ got to dive deep in order to reach the other side ~ Immersion ~ yep ~ whole lot of “identification” with the concepts in this book. Ebb & flow of creativity ~ Allowing one self to accept that need to immerse and come up again to connect with the world ~ Support systems are important ~ wondering if this dicussion will be supportive??? Haven’t heard from you ~ Namaste ~ Carol

    • Hi Carol,

      Glad you received your book and have started reading it. Yes, the book does grab you in the first few pages. I can’t help but feel like Dr. Paris is looking in my head and putting my thoughts down on paper…I can relate to so much of the content.


  5. Pingback: Standing at Water’s Edge-Chapter 8 « Musings from the Moonroom

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