Quite a few years ago, Craig turned me on to The Artist's Way, by Julia Cameron. It is a 12 week program for any kind of artist that encourages creative thinking and expression, and digging down deep into your feelings. My kind of deal. It requires daily "morning pages," which is 3 pages written in long-hand, as soon as you wake up. I found that part very difficult, partly because I prefer to type my journaling whenever possible because my brain goes so much faster than my writing hand, and because first thing in the morning is my least productive thinking time. That part went kind of by the wayside for me. One concept I loved, though, is called the Artist's Date, where you basically take yourself on a solitary date once a week, doing something that makes you happy and makes you feel inspired. It can be a trip to a museum, or a great meal, or a play or a movie. Whatever. I have held tightly to that over the years, and even though I don't get to do it once a week, I can usually manage at least once a month. Sometimes twice. It is an outing that is mindful and watchful, looking out and listening in at the same time. I am almost always alone for these, though I do occasionally share at least part of them with someone. And as corny as it sounds, that sharing always feels very sacred.
My favorite location for an Artist's Date is the Loring Cinema in Hingham, where I have seen some of my very favorite movies - The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Her, Kill Your Darlings, and Before Midnight, for example. All super artsy-fartsy movies that I loved. There are several restaurants near there with delightful martini lists, and I like to just sit at the bar and listen to the people. I also love the MFA, and I have an annual Christmastime Artist's Date there that I treasure. I have one planned in June to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, where I've never been before. Sometimes, it has just been sitting on the beach reading a book. It's the conscious designation of the day that counts.
Today, I have an end-of-school celebratory Artist's Date planned. It starts with taking the train (taking the train is a much-preferred aspect of my Artist's Dates - particularly on my trips to the Broadway Teacher's Workshop...which is the ULTIMATE Artist's Date.) I am taking the train to Harvard Square, and planning to find a coffee shop where I can sit with my journal for a while. Then I will do some window shopping at Anthropologie and the bookstores, have a nice dinner and a festive beverage, and then see Twelfth Night at the ART. I may or may not have a bottle of Trailer Park Punch in my purse while I do these things. (Oh, who are we kidding. OBVIOUSLY there will be Trailer Park Punch in my purse.)
Anyone can make their own Artist's Date. You should try. And really, like everything, it's only the choosing that makes it one. It's just your perspective. You could do ordinary things, and try to think of them as special, and then, sometimes suprisingly...they are. Works for me every time.