Owning your shadow


Perhaps since it’s October and Halloween is just around the corner, the dark, the spooky, the unseen are more on my mind. Robert A. Johnson, a Jungian psychologist, wrote a slim book, Owning Your Own Shadow: Understanding the Dark Side of the Psyche that is very helpful for artists. He’s also the author of She, He, and The Fisher King and the Handless Maiden. Most of the circles I spend time in are made up of artists of one kind or another: writers, actors, improvisers, musicians and so on.  Most are functioning perfectly well to all outward appearances, but I’d wager most carry a heavy shadow. With a large measure of creativity apparently comes a large shadow.

Every artist I’ve met deals with depression and loneliness at one time or another, some nearly all of the time. Some also act out or have difficulties in a variety of relationships. In his book, Johnson writes:

“A friend asked me recently why so many creative people have such a miserable time of it. History abounds with stories of shocking or eccentric behavior among the great. Narrow creativity always brings a narrow shadow with it, while broader talents call up a greater portion of the dark. Schumann, the composer, went mad; the world knows about the very dark side of Picasso’s life; and everyone hears stories about local geniuses with their unusual habits. While those with the largest talent seems to suffer most, we all must be aware of how we use our creativity – and of the dark side that accompanies our gifts. To make a work of art, to say something kind, to help others, to beautify the house, to protect the family – all these acts will have an equal weight on the opposite side of the scale and can lead us into sin. We cannot refuse our creativity or stop expressing ourselves in this way; yet we can be aware of this dynamic and make some small but conscious gesture to compensate for it.”

The talented Justine Musk has also written about this in her post on the heroine’s journey.  You can hear her read at Roar Shack on November 10 at 826LA in Echo Park, CA.

Reading coming up at Roar Shack!


A Partnership with

Portuguese Artists Colony



Home At Last


Sunday, April 14, 2013 at 826LA

4 – 5:30 p.m.

Note Location and Time Change!!!

Thank God for books and music and things I can think about.

–Daniel Keyes

Roar Shack is a collective of writers and artists, and over the coming months we’re going to bring you voices. Some of us come from fiction, some from memoir, some from poetry, and from music and performance and just about anything that leaves its own blood on the page. We want to bring you what you may not be getting much of. Won’t you join us?

Our next show is April 14, 2013 at 826 LA in Echo Park  (http://826la.org/) from 4-5:30 pm.

 We dare you to miss this lineup:

Kate Maruyama: Kate Maruyama’s fiction has appeared in Controlled Burn, Arcadia and Stoneboat among other journals. With Diane Sherlock, she co-founded Annotation Nation, a site that looks at fiction in terms of craft. Her debut novel, Harrowgate comes out this fall from 47North and she lives, writes, teaches, cooks and eats in Los Angeles

 Ben Loory: Ben Loory is the author of the collection Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day. His fables and tales have appeared in The New Yorker, on NPR’s This American Life, at Selected Shorts, and other places. He lives in Los Angeles and doesn’t ever want to get the flu again.

 Jason Gutierrez: Seventeen years ago Jason started taking photographs to avoid having to write. Now he wants to write to make up for the photographs he doesn’t get to take.

He hails from the city of angels, and can easily be bribed into photographing your literary event.

 Diane Sherlock: Diane Sherlock is the author of four novels, DEAD WEIGHT, WILLFUL IGNORANCE, GROWING CHOCOLATE, the upcoming WRESTLING ALLIGATORS, as well as WRITE TO BE HEARD, a book on craft. Her writing has appeared in The Rumpus, The Citron Review, scissors and spackle, Mo+th, Present Tense, and Bird in the Hand: Risk & Flight. She co-founded Annotation Nation with Kate Maruyama and has a blog on writing. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University, Los Angeles and has been a finalist for the Artsmith Literary Prize and nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

 She’s worked as a freelance writer for several production companies, as a producer and production manager for film and TV, and is a member of SAG-AFTRA. Her latest screenplay was a finalist at Sundance and Austin. She is also an honorary Masai after a 2011 trip to the Masai Mara. She will be attending the TEDGlobal Conference in Edinburgh, Scotland this June.

 Sofia Gil: Sofia Gil started her work in theater, starring in the plays: Much Ado About Nothing, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair De Lune, Closer and The Brothers Grimm.

She has written two plays of her own, and recently transitioned to the world of film.

Last year, she co-wrote and Executive Produced her first short film, Moon Town, which will release this Spring. Currently, she is working on a collection of short stories and pre-production on her second original film.

 Musical Guest: The Noble Gasses! Sometimes Surf. Sometimes Soul. Sometimes what you least expect.

 Live Write! A thrilling feat of writerly improvisation! As you arrive, you get to vote on a prompt. The winning prompt will be revealed to four intrepid authors – two of us and two of you audience types, onstage for all to see! We’ll all write to that prompt while Scott plays – it’s going to be impossible not to listen to him, but no one said this was going to be easy. Then the Live Writers will each read their just-written words, and the audience gets to vote! The winner will develop the work into a finished piece to be read at the next show. 

Sunday, April 14

4-5:30 p.m.


1714 W. Sunset Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA 90026

(213) 413-3388


PARKING: There is a large lot behind 826LA and the rest of the businesses on that block. Cash or credit feeds the machine!