Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Last night I went to Paris...

...and it was a dream. A beautiful, air-conditioned dream. There was popcorn and junior mints (together...mmmm). There were velvety-soft seats. There was a grand balcony that I got ALL to myself. Not to mention stunning cinematography and a moving story line.

Of course, I am not speaking of the Paris with the twinkly romantic lights that is nearly 4,000 miles away from here (though that would have been dreamy too), but the Paris that any New Yorker can visit on any given day of the week. The Paris Theatre that is. According to New York Magazine, this "posh" single-screen theater is the longest continually operating art cinema in the United States.

This is where I decided to go for my Artist's Date. And that is...you ask? An Artist Date, by definition, is a time for "receptivity, preplanned solitary hours of pleasurable activity aimed at nurturing the creative consciousness." In other words, a fun & delightful date that you set up for yourself and with yourself in order to inspire creativity, loveliness, etc. It was part of our "homework" this week in Julia's class. She warned us that planning something delightful for ourselves might be challenging and that we may fight against it and make excuses. As ridiculous as that sounds, it's true! On Sunday, I realized I had not yet planned anything, and instead of saying "oooh, what fun things can I find for myself!" I whined and toiled on the internet for ideas thinking, "I don't have time for this. And it's so hot. And I don't know what to do. And it's so hot" ... and blah blah blah.

But that Julia -- she knows what she's talking about! My time of solitude at the theatre was beautiful and quiet and rejuvenating and SO what I needed....much more so than going home and watching tv or whatever else I might have ended up doing had I not be "forced" to go on this lovely date with myself. And I can see how making a habit of doing this would lead to more creativity and inspiration. When I left the theatre, the heat had lessened a *tad* and there was actually a SLIGHT breeze, so I decided to walk the 30 blocks home, up Fifth Avenue along the edge of the park. I didn't pull my cell phone out and I didn't pop in my earbuds to drown out my thoughts with music. I just listened to the quietness of the city and smiled at strangers who were out for their late night walks. I prayed and I reflected and I got lost in my thoughts. The reflections weren't art related and I wasn't necessarily struck with any profound creative ideas. But it was still soul-refreshing, and soul-refreshment (I feel) is absolutely imperative in the creative/art-making process.

These Artist's Dates will be required homework for the class over the next four weeks, but I'm hoping that it will turn into a lovely habit that I can carry with me beyond these four weeks...

[oh, and by the way, the class was AMAZING and inspiring and Julia is wonderful, and I am SO looking forward to the next one!]

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