This fall, I’m teaching a fiction writing class for the first time, and I’m super excited. Because I’ve never taught the class before, I’m using a co-worker’s syllabus. (Sidenote: I was going to build the class from scratch but another co-worker talked me out of that, which is probably a good idea–especially considering that I have to build my two other core courses over again.) So, since this co-worker uses The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron for the class, I will, too.
The Artist’s Way is a twelve-week course designed to unblock artists of all types. Since I haven’t used the book before, I’m working through the course now. Most of the work is really personal, so I won’t be getting into that here, but I do want to talk about one of the two main tools of the program: the artist date.
An artist date is a block of time, perhaps two hours weekly, especially set aside and committed to nurturing your creative consciousness, your inner artist. In its most primary form, the artist date is an excursion, a play date that you preplan and defend against all interlopers.
She gives examples of what can constitute a date, some of which are pretty obvious (an old movie, art gallery) and others that may not be (a long walk, visit to a store, going to the beach).
So I’ve been thinking about what types of things I can do for my dates, and so far I’ve come up with some things that I have not done in a long time because they constitute a real time commitment. These include sitting down and watching a movie from start to finish and watching TV shows without doing anything else.
I love watching TV, but I often think of it as empty time, which is part of why I couldn’t finish the seasons of The Flash and Jane the Virgin—two shows I was really excited about watching this past season. Forty-four minutes just seemed like too much time to sit down and do nothing. Except I love TV! (TV = stories. Stories are my jam.) I used to make time to watch TV shows, and it made me happy. But I have not been doing that lately and, well, I won’t say my life is a mess, but I do think I have been missing out.
The same with movies. I am not a movie lover, but I do enjoy a good movie, but the thought of sitting down and watching a movie is just SUCH a commitment. Like, right now, I want to watch Beyond the Lights, but I can think of a million other things I should be doing instead. Going to the movies is easier than sitting down and watching a movie at home.
(Going out and doing most things is easier than sitting down and doing anything at home, honestly.)
My other two ideas (besides keeping an eye out for cool shows in the area I might want to go to–the local theater is putting on a production of The Wizard of Oz, and I am all for that) are to sit down and read a book for that chunk of time and to color. I was reminded of coloring by a throwaway line in Andi’s post, and I’m excited to get some coloring books and go to town. Coloring is very soothing, and I think will offer me something to do on those days I don’t feel like reading, watching TV, etc.
So, yes, I am excited about committing to these activities. My first date will be to go see Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl this weekend on the recommendation of my friend Melissa. It looks like exactly the kind of movie I like (lots of talking and friends hanging out together), so I’m looking forward to it. I may even start posting more about TV/movies if I’m making them a bigger part of my life. We’ll see.