Michelle Monaghan Reflects on New York Journey And ‘The Artist’s Way’

The Vanishing of Sidney Hall centers on a reclusive writer (Logan Lerman) who decides to live a life of obscurity even though his work is world renowned. During the Sidney Hall interviews, the subject of books came up, and co-star Michelle Monaghan explained why The Artist’s Way was a huge inspiration in her acting journey.

The Vanishing of Sidney Hall - A24
Michelle Monaghan in “The Vanishing of Sidney Hall.” (A24)

In The Vanishing of Sidney Hall (which btw I loved), Michelle Monaghan plays Hall’s (Logan Lerman) frustrated mother, a woman who believes life passed her due to her teen pregnancy. In real life Monaghan followed her own dreams, initially carving out a modeling career in New York.

Monaghan found inspiration in writer Julia Cameron’s seminal book The Artist’ Way, and below is her comments on how it influenced her life (audio version, provided by Front Row Features editor Angela Dawson, is also included):

“This sounds so hippy-dippy. But it really helped me find my career. I was modeling, I was in college and I dropped out of my senior year. I moved to New York and also simultaneously went through a really bad break up.

And I was really at the point of finding myself and what I wanted to do for the rest of my life and for some reason I thought it was going to happen in New York. I continued to model for lack of a better reason and somebody there on set said ‘You should really check out The Artist’s Way.’ I was like ‘What is The Artist’s Way?’

Here is a book in which you do these daily writings in the morning – I think it’s quite famous now. But it was one of those things where I got up and I just wrote (in a) stream of consciousness (fashion). I basically did it for six months.

It was the first time I had done anything for my kind of self-exploration. . . At the same time someone said ‘Oh you had some luck modeling, you’ve done a couple of commercials, why don’t you go for an audition on a television show?’

I didn’t have anything to lose so I went in and I got it. And I really attribute that book to helping me find my way. It’s not that I’ve read it since, but I often reflect on that (book) and I think ‘gosh that really led me to a great place.’ And I oftentimes recommend that to a lot of people that are trying to find their path or whatever the direction they want to go – specifically creatively.”

Audio version:

The Artist’s Way was also an inspiring book for me during my early twenties, and along with Letters to a Young Poet, it shaped my own career as a radio producer/writer for Westwood One. Though I wasn’t as diligent as Monaghan in doing the writing exercises, the book still served as a great foundation for my nearly 20 year career in radio journalism (I even interviewed Cameron for her follow-up book and she was a pleasure to speak with).

Have you heard of The Artist’s Way? If so what are your thoughts on the book? Feel free to comment below!

The Vanishing of Sidney Hall
LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 22: Michelle Monaghan (L) and Logan Lerman attend the Los Angeles Special Screening of ‘The Vanishing of Sidney Hall’ on February 22, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for A24)

The Vanishing of Sidney Hall, co-starring Kyle Chandler and Elle Fanning, is now playing in New York and Los Angeles (it’s a solid film – Rotten Tomatoes score be damned!).


Greg Srisavasdi

Editor/Owner of Find Your Seen and Deepest Dream, I'm also a BFCA member and editor of Hollywood Outbreak. I also do a weekly movie review podcast called CinemAddicts. BFCA member, Clippers and UCLA Bruins lifer!!

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