My Artist's Date

I confess that until my fellow muses suggested the Artist's Date as a topic, I had never heard of it.  Then I hopped over to the Artist's Way website to figure it out.  I'm still trying to figure it out.

Two hours a week to myself where I wasn't writing?  And I couldn't spend it with my real life love interest, kids or friends?  I don't know about the rest of you, but my free time is precious.  I have a sixty plus hour a week career, a family, a needy Saint Bernard and deadlines.  If I can spare a minute, it's only because I need to go to the grocery store, drop my son off at his guitar lesson or surf the internet, or play solitaire or see how many people have added my books to their Goodreads TBR list... Oh. 

And then I read a little closer.  The Artist's Date need not be a big production or taken all at once.  It's more about reminding yourself to slow down and LOOK.  Look at the world around you.  Take in images and store them in your conscious and subconscious mind, so that you'll know just how that teacher with the tight curls and close-cropped hair twirls a piece of chalk through her fingers, faster and faster until the chalk snaps in two.  And when that angsty kid with the snarky dialogue appears on page 37, you'll know exactly how the skin along his left cheek twitches when he feels threatened and how the long laces on his hi-tops wrap around his ankles twice before coming together in a tangle of knots that in no way resemble a bow.

The Artists' Date is about observing people, places, scents, sounds and textures so that they may someday make their way to the page.  It's about letting your conscious mind relax so your subconscious can solve the problems in you story.

So my Artist's Date could be as simple as taking my lunch outside and enjoying the summer weather instead of eating it at my desk, or as elaborate as taking myself to an Alligator Farm on a trip to Florida (yes, I did this once on a business trip after my kids refused to go when we were there on vacation) or afternoon tea at the Ritz Carlton while visiting New York.  I could go to a park or bookstore or just set off for a walk in a different direction.  I could use my time on the plane to watch and listen to the other passengers instead of keeping my nose buried in a book.  I could bake a batch of cookies from scratch.

Another confession:  I haven't. I have stood up my inner artist.

I may have to buy myself some chocolate.  Wait.  Does a trip to the grocery store count?  I think it does.  Whew.  It's all good.  We're back on.


I've been going on artist dates for about ten years. And yes, trips to the grocery store count, especially if it's a local grower's market.

I had my first artist date yesterday and didn't even realize I was having one. I had to drive fourty miles to go see my neice play varsity volleyball.

On the way back I went through a town, it reminded me of the one you see in the movie Cars. It was the "happening place" until the interstate was put in and now everyone passes around it instead of through it.

It was sort of sad seeing all of the closed up diners and dairy marts. But it was well worth the journey to see the beautiful countryside.

Angelina, I'm so glad a trip to the store can count! Some weeks it's hard to even make it there. And Stacy, that town sounds intriguing!

Sometimes Target is my Artist's Date when I'm on a time crunch and need 30 minutes alone. It's close, I can peruse things I'll never buy and things I just might, people watch and be alooooooone...It's amazing how rejuvenating Target can be...Probably something I shouldn't EVER admit publicly...In fact, I deny everything I just said.

PB, Target totally counts. All the shiny possibility!

Talia, now I want to go to an alligator farm. This is two mentions of an alligator farm in one week (I'm reading Karen Russell's Swamplandia! right now). It's a sign.

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