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Have you heard about an Artist Date? The time that Julia Cameron talks about in her book, The Artist’s Way, which allows creatives to reconnect with their inner artist. I thought about it when I went camping recently and I wonder if it could be more. Let’s chat about it.
I left my computer at home. Yes, there was some anxiety about that. Three days without signing in. It was unthinkable!
And exactly why I needed to leave my computer behind.
As I was settling in by the campfire, totally in love with the moment of being outside, watching the lightning bugs begin to emerge, and the sun sink into its sea of red and orange, I thought about the Artist Date.
I can see my inner writer come alive in this space.
Then, out of the corner of my eye, I see something jumping through the tall grass of the prairie. I point to it, alerting my friend (and brilliant photographer and metal artist) as it reaches our camp spot. Just before it jumps over the fire, I see it is a fawn, being chased by a coyote. My friend yells at the coyote and it veers off in another direction, saving the fawn from being attacked (and saving us from having to see and hear it!).
It wasn’t what I expected for my time on the prairie, though I shouldn’t have been surprised. Coyotes are well known to snatch chickens around where we were camping. But to be so close to us – that was what really surprised me. The fire was no deterrent.
That experience gave me the idea that maybe an Artist Date isn’t the only time we could capture for our inner artist.
What about an Artist Adventure?
I posed the question to my IG stories. What would it mean if I called Artist Dates Artist Adventures instead? I already knew what I would say to the question, and people shared similar thoughts.
The Artist Date is intimate, reflective, nourishing.
The Artist Adventure is thrilling, spontaneous, outside of us.
It is all about word usage. When I see people post about Artist Dates, I see a lot of solo picnics, coffees in the park, and wine by a fire. The word “date” makes it seem like it “should” be a time of reflection and nourishment.
I don’t like the word “should.”
Besides, in The Artist’s Way, Cameron talks about all kinds of dates, some that even could be thought of as adventures. She writes:
The artist brain is the sensory brain: sight and sound, smell and taste, touch. These are the elements of magic, and magic is the elemental stuff of art.
In filling the well, think magic. Think delight. Think fun. Do not think duty. Do not do what you should do – spiritual sit-ups like reading a dull but recommended critical text. Do what intrigues you, explore what interests you; think mystery, not mastery.
It seems adventures are just as important as reflections. I got the idea that perhaps I should be intentional about going on Artist Dates and Artist Adventures. A few outings about reflection and a few about fun.
Floating in a kayak on a small lake surrounded by lush, green hills and perfect blue skies, I wondered if perhaps an outing could be both an adventure and a date. This outing was both for me. It was an adventure because I had never been on that lake before. It was a date because I could allow the water to gently rock my kayak as I soaked in the wonder of the day.
Why does an outing need to be either/or?
It can be nourishing and reflective as well as spontaneous and thrilling.
We can say YES to the date and YES to the adventure.
I want both.
So does my inner artist.
Does that mean the Artist Date might need a new name? Something that reflects the ambiguous magic they can hold?
But that implies you must go out.
What about “Occasion”?
Better, I guess, but still not in love.
I like that. It feels good.
How about for you?
Will you schedule some Artist Time this week?