Sunday, 1 June 2014

The Artist's Date or in Britain, a 'Jolly'

Out on a Jolly

So now I'm trying the next tool from the Creativity Course - the Artist's Date. Most blocked creatives find this creative 'playtime' much harder than the 'work' of morning pages. The idea is that, quite simply, you take your artist self out on a date, just the two of you. You're not supposed to achieve anything, feel anything, or come back with a result. There are no rules; results are cumulative, random, serendipitous - a red London bus pops into your narrative three months hence. You forget to be depressed in the mornings, writubg for ten minutes in the cafe instead. You don't drink as much gin and and you've enough cash  for a Creative Writing workshop. That sort of result.
No Rules

I found the concept slightly creepy at first. Your 'inner artist' is  a child-like creature, and in the UK the term 'date' has a distinctly adult feel.  Taking my newly emergent artist child on a date sounded pervy, until I changed the term to 'a day out with my artist'. Or even a 'Jolly'.

A mad dash through a street fountain

I discovered pretty quickly, your inner artist might be a child but the day out doesn't have to be childish,unless you want it to. This is no human child, but a wild, untamed chimera you're hoping to unleash. The artist small person doesn't do cute and it definitely doesn't do pink.

A bag of delicious fruit

The Jolly doesn't have to cost a lot of money, either -  some of the best ones cost nothing. You  devote a little time to yourself doing something that brightens your spirit, and gets your creative juices flowing. Perhaps a mad dash through a street fountain, a visit to the market for a bag of delicious fresh fruit,  mudlarking at the edge of the River Thames - but do it alone, with no other motive other than to stimulate the creative juices.

Mudlarking at the edge of the Thames

 For my first Jolly, I chose one of the two things no-one has a right to explore even once, according to Sir Thomas Beecham: incest and Morris Dancing. In London, the May Bank Holiday is a perfect excuse for normally sensible people to break out in Morris dancing outside the pub. I took myself to one one the banks of the river, feeling a bit of a twit.

Breaking out in Morris Dancing
  And whadda ya know, my inner artist really did glow.

You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough
Mae West 1893-1980 

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