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Floor Sample: A Creative Memoir [Paperback]

Julia Cameron
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: 8.88 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Product details

  • Paperback: 405 pages
  • Publisher: Tarcher (19 April 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585425575
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585425570
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 13.1 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 122,818 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Award-winning writer Julia Cameron is the author of twenty-four books, fiction and nonfiction, including The Artist's Way, Walking in This World, The Vein of Gold, The Right to Write and The Sound of Paper. A novelist, playwright, songwriter and poet, she has extensive credits in theatre, film and television.

Product Description

Floor Sample The author of "The Artist's Way" weaves an honest and moving portrayal of her life. From her early career as a writer for "Rolling Stone" magazine and marriage to Martin Scorsese to her tortured experiences with alcohol, Cameron reflects on her life. Full description

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brave and beautiful 9 Jan 2011
By Niki Collins-queen, Author TOP 500 REVIEWER
Julia Cameron's exquisite writing in her memoir "Floor Sample" made me feel as if I too experienced her harrowing climb out of substance addictions and emotional breakdowns.
Her story shows how we can channel fragility into creativity and make the world a better place. In fact her 1992 bestseller "The Artists Way" helped me overcome my internal censors and lead to my writing a memoir.
Her recovery and discovery of a spiritual path via soul-searching, inventory and restitution in Alcoholics Anonymous AA is equally inspiring. She writes how she discovered she is not supposed to be judging--that she is in charge of the quantity and that the quality is up to God. She said her prose began to relax and straighten out when she responded to this new charitable agenda. She beautifully describes how in losing her sense of self as an "author" she gained a sense of self as a conduit. God became her new employer. She found that she wrote best when she was curious and receptive and empty of ego--when she wrote down what already existed.
Despite her pain, Cameron does not see her life as a tragedy but as fuel for her creativity and art. "Floor Sample" is a masterpiece that shows the redemptive power of the creative spirit.
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Amazon.com: 3.6 out of 5 stars  37 reviews
29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Offbeat and eccentric, but it makes for great reading 15 Aug 2006
By Paul Allaer - Published on Amazon.com
Unlike most reviewers here, let my state upfront that I was not familiar whatsoever with Julia Cameron. I saw this book and read the inside flap summary: "wrote for Rolling Stone, "was married to Martin Scorsese", hmmm, this could be interesting I thought, and off I went with the book. What a surprise that was awaiting me.

In "Floor Sample" (405 pages), Julia Cameron brings her life story, and what a story it is. From her early days, strict Catholic upbringing, Julia describes how she started the party life in college at Georgetown, seeking ways to channel her obvious writing talents, eventually leading to Rolling Stone assignments, which in turn lead to a short-lived but high intensity courtship, and eventual, marriage to Martin Scorsese. Her drinking spiraled out of control, leading to the break-up with Scorsese. Then things really turn interesting: Cameron quits drinking altogether and starts life anew, seeking out writing assignments in magazines, tipping her toes in writing Hollywood scripts, and eventually writing many fiction and non-fiction books (the best known of which is "The Artist's Way", a sort of self-help book for budding artists), poetry, and musicals. But along that long journey Cameron also suffers bouts of depression or psychotic episodes (it's never really clear which one, or perhaps both), and she describes them in frightning detail.

One of the things that struck me the most in the book was the never-ending moving back-and-forth, restless, living between Los Aneles, Taos (NM), New York, London, etc. It's just dizzying. Cameron seems very much aware of her own frailness and relies on praying constantly to make it through ("Please guide me"). That said, the book ends disappointingly open-ended, as it appears once of her musicals seems on the verge of making if (off) Broadway, but we don't find out. Nevertheless, I enjoyed this book from start to end, and I highly recommend it.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A courageous and fascinating life of dedication to the "Artist's Way" 28 Oct 2006
By C. Carlson - Published on Amazon.com
I know Julia Cameron as so many of us do, by way of "The Artist's Way" and I was anxious to read about HER.

From the first page I was captivated by a seasoned story teller with a heck of story to tell: her own. Reading this book is like meeting up with an old friend for dinner that you haven't seen in ages and letting the world pass you by as you are drawn into her world and all that has taken place. Pretty soon you realize the restaurant is closing and you've forgotten where you are.

Cameron writes very well and is painfully honest and objective about herself and her struggles with addiction -to alcohol first, and then other abstract things including the high she gets from not eating. She chronicles her two marriages to Martin Scorsese and then to her work partner Mark Bryan. Her lifestyle includes leapfrogging across the U.S. with her daughter in tow, making her home wherever life takes her. Throughout it all she remains committed to her writing, and spiritual guidance.

Hers is an adventurous and difficult life to say the least. But clearly her strong network of support has helped her thrive and continue to bring her wonderful creations to the world, and teach the rest of us in the process. I actually got even more understanding out of reading about how she uses morning pages, and her other "Artist's Way" tools, than I had in reading "The Artist's Way."
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Candid Insight Into The Artist's Process 8 Mar 2007
By O. Brown - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase

Julia Cameron became the guru or creativity for artists and creative people of all types with the success of her book "The Artist's Way" its sequels. Her autobiography, Floor Sample, was a good read, but disturbing. It showed me how profoundly the structure of Morning Pages, Walks, and Artist Dates (the processes she recommends in her books) grounds her in her very difficult life. It is pretty much all the grounding she has. Her life has been difficult mostly because of her artistic temperament, her turbulent interior life, her continual life-long seeking of geographic cures, and her overall high intelligence and brilliance. She is an extraordinary woman, one that many might call psychologically disturbed (her "mental illness" is controversial...she takes medication to stay functional). I disagree; I think she is instead just very, very bright, thoughtful, eccentric, and creative.

I'd wanted to know about this amazing woman who wrote "Finding Water" and so many other terrific books, and it encouraged me greatly, because it helped me to see how she managed to create DESPITE all of her various and sundry life difficulties. I would definitely recommend this book. It does, however require a bit of slogging through (which is why I gave it only four stars); I just wanted to scream each time she thought that the place she lived was horrible and that it was time to move again to the wonderful place where she'd lived only six months before. This probably happens 40-50 times. It's realistic, though, because she has portrayed her artistic process vividly and well in order to inspire and help others.

The book includes details about Julia Cameron's marriage to Martin Scorcese, her relationship with their daughter, and with other famous artists and writers. It also discusses throughout her recovery from alcoholism.

The book vividly, candidly, and courageously portrays Julia Cameron's struggle to create, and showed me that her process was far from easy for her, just something she made intrinsic---absolutely intrinsic---to her life---thus her body of amazing and diverse creative works.

24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surviving as an Artist - a How To 28 Jun 2006
By Bonnie - Published on Amazon.com
I had the privilege to attend a workshop with Julia recently and was impressed by her humor, her strength, her passion, and her talent. And yes, her vulnerability. This is a fabulous book, reflecting all these facets of this complicated, gifted woman.

It's a brave memoir, in that she details serious problems, including alcohol and drug abuse as well as two failed marriages, and a great stuggle with emotional stability. But throughout it all, Julia remains true to her dual calling, that of an artist and a teacher. No matter what transpires, she not only continues to create her own art of many kinds, but works hard and with great generosity to help other artists find their muse and working rhythms.

The big message of this book is that an artist is about her work. The work continues no matter what. She preaches this, yes, but lives it too. That's what she means by "Floor Sample" - of her own method, The Artist's Way.

Unlike another reviewer who found this to be self absorbed (but what is a memoir if not an examination of self?) I found it to be inspiring and fascinating. I particularly enjoyed her discussion of balancing her teaching and mentoring with her own art work.

So few women have the courage to pursue their art despite all, but Julia has done it, and against great odds. I applaud her and admire her. If more of us could stand up to our own demons as well as Julia has, the world would be a more beautiful, and art-filled place.

Inspirational reading for those who want to keep their art in focus at all times.
26 of 31 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Did Anyone Else Notice? 2 Feb 2007
By M. Moon - Published on Amazon.com
I, too, have read The Artist's Way and found much that was valuable in it. It's a beautiful book, inspiring and helpful on many levels. So I was interested to read Julia Cameron's memoir. What struck me immediately was her writing style, which I don't particularly like. Her dialogue, especially, is stilted and awkward. Do none of the people in her world use contractions? Anyway, as the book got deeper into her life and she began to describe her breakdowns or "breakthroughs", as her Taos friends insisted on seeing these obvious psychotic episodes, I at first arm-chair diagnosed her as being bi-polar. One of her doctors, did too. But then he changed his mind and told her that she never had been and to wipe that from her consciousness. It came to me though, that this woman may well be the world's highest functioning schitzophrenic! She hears voices and she takes instructions from them. They "dictate" books, essays, plays, and even music to her. And then I realized that the entire concept of The Artist's Way is for each of us to hear our own voices which will then dictate great works of art to us. Of course, there's more to it than that, but this realization made me more than a little uneasy. There are so many contradictions in this book. At an early age she became completely disenchanted with the Catholic Church and abandoned it, but later on in life, she entrusted her health and her sanity to new-age healers who gave her readings (sometimes across great distances) and prescribed strange remedies. Although these remedies never seemed to work, she continued to consult with them and follow their advice. Unless, of course, their advice clashed with what she really wanted to do, which generally was to move from one coast to another, seeking some sort of peace and contentment, which I fear she will never find. I did not find this book helpful in any sort of artistic sense. I don't think any truly sane person would want to persue art in such an obsessive and unhealthful manner. I, for one, wouldn't have the energy. I will say that it was a book that I found hard to put down, but attribute that to it being sort of a car-crash type of book, more than to its literary style.
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