Artist Date: Into the Wilds
To finish off my 12 weeks of The Artist’s Way, I treated myself to an extended artist date. My husband drove me into the wilds to his family’s cabin at what is fondly known as “The Ranch.”
The weather was beautiful, and I was surrounded by wildlife. Robins hopped around all day, every day, flirting with each other, teasing me by staying just out of reach. Butterflies, yellow, pink, orange, white, and blue, flitted from wildflower to wildflower. The swallowtails were particularly attracted to the American flag that fluttered in the breeze. The cabin sat among blue bells, and yellow, white, pink, and purple flowers I wish I had the names for. Deer came to visit, fearlessly, watching me as I watched them as if daring me to do something threatening but knowing I never would.
I enjoyed three days all to myself, soaking in that solitude that artists crave. Each morning, I greeted the day with sun salutations outside. Yoga outdoors is quite different than indoors; I really liked it.
I was able to write several times during the day. Inspiration flowed like fresh air. Following a writing prompt, I wrote a poem about the things I love. On its heels, I wrote a simple haiku:
Aspen leaves quaking
Tiny summertime jazz hands
Dancing out of reach.
Was it a great haiku? Probably not, but it was playful and fun, and that is what has been missing from my writing, from my life.
Suddenly, I found myself ready to try editing. Now, I’ve tweaked my short fiction here and there, but I’ve never attempted to edit something really big. Like a novel. At the ranch, I found myself drawn to The Empathy Project. I took it out and reread it. It was good, and with a bit of elbow grease, I could make it better.
I hiked nearly every day. I wandered around the cabin and visited those of extended family members nearby. I took a wrong turn and got lost in the marsh, and I discovered this beautiful lace-winged moth. The sound of the river beckoned, and I followed the trail to its shores, took my shoes off, and dipped my feet in the icy water.
After my three days alone, my family came up to join me. As much as I thought I loved the solitude, I was grateful to have them with me again. I missed them! Together, we hiked, swam at the swimming hole, played card games until it was dark and cold, and laughed, laughed, laughed. My goodness, I had forgotten how to laugh like that.
I was ready to come home by the end of the week. It wasn’t so much that I missed the internet as that I missed my hot baths and my comfy bed. But, my artist date did what it was supposed to do: it filled my soul and reminded me that I’m a writer, and I love to write.