If morning pages* are the threshing action to separate the chaff from the seeds of creativity, the artist date is winnowing the lighter chaff off the grain. In her book, The Artist Way, Julia Cameron gives us her basic tools for recovering creativity. Morning pages is the first basic tool. The second basic tool is the artist date.
The first time I embarked on The Artist Way path to recovering creativity, committing to morning pages was easier than making a commitment to the artist date. Considering I learned shopping at my Grandmother Eleanor’s feet, library ambling with my mother and visiting local places of interest from my Grandmother Dorothy, I was surprised I found scheduling the artist date a challenge. The difference was spending time focusing on me.
Making an artist date meant finding a place where I wanted to be. I think women might find this more difficult than men. There are men in my life who disappear into any hardware, power tool, sporting goods, electronics or book store and do not reappear for several hours. My disappearance for several hours, simply to concentrate on myself, sounded decadent to me. What I discovered, as well as being a great artist tool, self decadence is a really good mental health tool
The artist date has been a part of my life for over sixteen years now. Whenever I begin to feel restless and empty inside, I immediately wonder, when was the last time I spent several hours alone at a destination of my choosing. Probably 2-3 times a month I find a way to make a date with myself.
My artist dates have been spent in a variety of places. Barnes and Noble is at the top of my list, all those books AND a Starbucks venti nonfat latte. Hobby Lobby is another really good place to find my inner creative self. Spending several hours walking at the local mall, checking out the latest fashion trends in clothing, shoes, home furnishing and smelling candles at the Yankee Candle store also works well for me.
The artist date experience gave me the freedom to arrive early or stay late when traveling to other cities for conferences and conventions. By myself, I have visited Betsey Ross’s home in Philadelphia, the National Botanical Gardens, National Gallery of Art, walked the National Mall to the Washington Monument and Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House back to the US Capitol Building in Washington D.C.
Alone, I took a tour bus to George and Martha’s place on the Potomac River and discovered the Revolutionary War Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Alexandria, VA. In Savannah, GA, I spent the whole day walking around the historic district and hanging out on the Savannah River. Walking down Peachtree Street in Atlanta, GA, and visiting the Margaret Mitchell House where she wrote Gone With The Wind was a powerful experience for me.
Schedule your own artist date with yourself and let me know how it works out…………..
*Creating My Path, January 18, 2011 post
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