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Being an Artist

longwood1I read the Artist’s Way in 1992 when my life took a total shift away from an abusive situation to one where I was the one in control of my life. It’s funny to say that now, because there are so many days when really I don’t feel like I’m in control.  But really,  I do decide what I am doing on any given day. Some of those days I may feel like not going to work, but I did decide to keep teaching in the public school system while growing Flying Goat Farm. I do decide if I am working or sitting on the couch or working while sitting on the couch. I decide if I will turn off the TV or when I will do the chores.

Anyway back to the Artist’s Way. I did morning pages for probably 2 years straight. I did them religiously. And they did help me find myself again. They helped me figure out my feelings and what my next steps were. I really like to write, but sometimes I decide not to write daily.  To get back to that practice of writing everyday, I joined 750words.com. Along with daily morning pages, Julia Cameron you must commit to go on an Artist Date once a week. Man, I had such a hard time doing that. What to do? Where to go? I would go to the LA County Art Museum, duh. That’s a no brainer. I went to farmer’s markets. I went to funky shopping districts, like Main Street in Santa Monica, Melrose Ave or Brentwood area in LA. I went to a great bookstore like the Bodhi Tree (where I even went to a book reading by Cameron) or even to the nearby library to just look at magazines. But they felt disjointed and weird. I never really felt filled up by them, something wasn’t quite right.

I stopped doing the morning pages after I went back to teaching full time. In the summers I would dabble in the pages, but it wasn’t really lasting or nurturing for me. Now that I am closer to being a full time artist, I want and need to develop a habit of the pages. Writing morning pages helps me to build my daily intention. It is helping me become a better writing just by the shear practice of writing.

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Back to artist’s dates. I intended our trip to Longwood Gardens to be a fun day away from the farm as part of a staycation since Bill was off from work. As soon as I stepped into the visitor center, I began to feel like this was an artist date. I saw shots for amazing still lives, colors and closeups that could make beautiful photographs. With each view of  flowers, the water scapes, and tree houses with their almost art deco look, I was filling up inside. We strolled through the large greenhouse with it’s orchid room and green wall and delightful children’s garden. I took over 100 photos.

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Oh boy, we ate lunch at 1906 Restaurant.  Lunch was artistically and physically filling. An amuse-bouche of yellow tomato gazpacho. Bill had mushroom soup that was creamy and earthy. I had the crispy salmon. Oh the skin was so delicious and the meat itself was succulent and juicy. The salmon was served with a succotash and lime “essence”. This foam tasted of tart refreshing lime and enhanced the vegetables and the salmon. I need to learn how to make that! It would be good on any recipe where lime juice by itself doesn’t give enough of a taste punch. For dessert we chose the sorbet trio: cucumber with mint, elderberry flower with pear and orange water with tangerine. Each was unusual and so, so good.

When we left, we were full of new inspiration and new motivation. We will definitely go back to Longwood for seasonal artist dates. Click here for information about the gardens.

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