This post is part of my 31 Days of the Almost Empty Nest series. I’m writing in community with the thirty-one dayers. Women all over the world are joining together in the month of October to write every day about something they’re passionate about. Check out some of the other writers here. So much good stuff. To read my first post, with links to all the days, go here. Don’t forget about the giveaway on yesterday’s post.
One lovely thing about the Almost Empty Nest is the way I feel God restoring my creativity on a deeper level during this season. This is the story of one tool he is using to do this.
Every evening it’s the same. I feel the pull—feet need to walk. Sometimes Jeff goes with me, sometimes a friend. But many days…I go alone. These are the times I feel the breath of God, the times my restless heart feels peace. During these solitary walks I collect treasures untold—feed my muse.
Some gems from this week’s cache:
Streets glistening with memory of rain.
Air heavy with scent of fall.
Whispering creek threatening to spill.
Solitary feather floating on breeze.
In this week’s readings from The Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation into the Writing Life, Julia Cameron encourages “Artist Dates”— a once-weekly solitary expedition to something festive that interests us…
We must go alone, she says.
We go alone because an Artist Date is half “artist” and half “date”. You are romancing, wooing, courting your creative consciousness. This is something that requires you and your inner artist to spend time alone…
These Artist Dates replenish our store of creativity—what Cameron calls the well. The well needs regular tending, she says.
… care and maintenance of our writing muscles are necessary for our writing stamina. This means that we must take the time and attention necessary to fill the well instead of drawing on it unrelentingly and without consciousness of our inner limits. While this may sound difficult or onerous, the payoff in terms of our writing lives is enormous. Even the smallest amount of self-nurturance will have an immediate and beneficial impact on our writing. A regular and gentle program of self-care will result in a level of ease and authority in our writing that is often astounding.
If I don’t go, my well will eventually run dry. If I don’t go alone, I don’t see. I don’t see the feather drifting on the wind.
I don’t feel myself lifted with the breeze … see the world beneath me passing by. I miss the chance to shed gravity—feel the burden of earth’s bindings slip away and take flight. I become the feather when I see this way. I am cupped by the Invisible Hand that ushers the wind.
Today? My well is filled to overflowing.
This week we learned about the Artist Date, about writing as a physical act, and the importance of sketching. What spoke to you in this week’s readings? Three more chapters for next week: Loneliness, Witness, and Why Don’t We Do It In the Road? In the meantime, fill the well.