As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve owned The Artists Way by Julia Cameron & Mark Bryan for quite some time. I’ve been kind of inspired by it, I’ve read the first few pages several times, I’ve implemented the journaling advice to quite good effect. But that’s it - I’ve never actually read it, or done anything else suggested in the book - until now.
A few weeks ago I decided I was going to really read it this time. Frankly I was a little sick of all the dude bro business books I’ve been reading. They’re good - I like Tim Ferriss and Grant Cardone - but I was feeling the need to balance the scale of inputs a bit. And also kind of feeling like I was in a rut. I hate ruts. So… enter The Artists Way. For real this time.
I don’t know if you’ve read it - but her big thing, in addition to journaling (which she calls Morning Pages), is a weekly excursion (which she calls the Artist’s Date, but I kind of can’t bring myself to tell anyone that I’m incommunicado for the morning because I’m on an Artist’s Date. Right? So I refer to it as the boondoggle. Or walkabout.)
So three weeks ago I decided to not think about her suggestions anymore, just do them, and see what happened. So that first week I headed to my favorite breakfast taco place, then took my taco and my crochet and headed to an overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway. And that was it - I ate a taco, did a little bit of crochet, sat in a lawn chair. And, much like the journaling, for reasons I can’t explain at all, it was kind of amazing. Like I felt like I was totally out of my rut, and super happy, and noticing all kinds of fun things.
Shortly thereafter, though not as an official boondoggle, I got my unicycle out for the first time in ages, and took it for a spin.
And I started an embroidery kit that I bought a few years ago but never opened, for my first official embroidery project.
And I finally put up a free crochet pattern on my website, which I’ve been meaning to do for ages. The Artist Date was a little like unlocking a place of fun inside me, that had maybe been a little pent up for a while.
So, after the taco/overlook day, I decided come hell or high water I’m going to keep up the weekly walkabout. Even though I never have time for it, and it always seems kind of silly.
The next one - I bought an actual paper newspaper and took myself out for breakfast downtown. Today - I drove up to a different overlook on the parkway, and did yoga.
So, my observation for the boondoggle so far - totally worth it. My favorite Julia Cameron quote is this: “The quality of life is in proportion, always, to the capacity for delight. The capacity for delight is the gift of paying attention.” And I think that’s the gift of her weekly outings - you pay attention to things that you know are all around you, but haven’t made any effort to observe in a while. Turns out, it's worth it to make the effort and pay attention.