I’ll be honest, I’ve had a very sad start to my week. I actually didn’t even feel like writing this post (and I still don’t have an artist date for this week, but I trust the Universe’s timing) but in my initial The Artist’s Way post, I said I would try to give some feedback.
So I hope you can find strength in me to persevere when you don’t feel like doing the things you committed to doing.
So, yeah, last week was my first The Artist’s Way week and the idea for my first artist date came pretty quickly. [Sidebar: An artist date is a solo activity strictly for the pleasure of your artist child. It needn’t cost money or be “artsy” it has to be time with yourself spent doing what you want – see why you should go buy the book?]
I don’t quite know what sparked the idea. I think I asked the Universe what I should treat myself to and this answer came: go to the library. So I did. Let me explain to those who don’t have time to go and read the initial post. The point of me re-doing The Artist’s Way is to equip myself with the confidence and tools to pursue my dream of being the best interviewer of musicians I know.
I do a lot of background explanation in my blog posts – I’m a fiction writer and chatterbox and a middle child so if you lend me your ear (eyes) I will explain til I can’t anymore – so I had to explain that. Anyway. The Johannesburg City Library is a three minute walk from my work. I took the trip on my lunch break.
It’s easy to forget how revitalising direct sunlight is when you’re staring at a computer with the aircon constantly at White Walker level so I appreciated the stroll.
The artist date was just meant to be about looking through some music criticism books but I decided I wanted to actually sign up for membership so I can take out books when I feel like it. The first thing to pique my interest once I was in the imposing old building was a photocopied piece of paper stuck to the back of a computer at one of the rooms. It was an extended definition of child abuse.
I read through it while the librarian looked through my paperwork. I’m still waiting to be notified to go back to the library to pick up my membership card. I was pleasantly surprised that they have an entire floor dedicated to music. See? Trust the Universe! I went up to the music section on the second floor. Although it was a scorcher of a day, the people in there were cold. I couldn’t tell who was a library employee and who was just there to enjoy the soft jazz that was wafting through the room.
I’ll admit, it was extremely intimidating.
The last time I was in a public library was back when I was living in Cape Town and would use a kind colleague’s membership to take out Octavia Butler books. So this experience was daunting because it was just me, unsure where to start looking for what I set out to find.
The two men who sat in chairs chatting didn’t notice me. The guy that was looking through a book shelf was preoccupied and the really old man (with feet so chapped they look white) sleeping with a book open on his lap weren’t going to help me.
I was also afraid to ask for help.
So I just started at a corner in the back. There were loads of books. Loads. Most of them were about classical music and jazz. The most “current” read was an unauthorised biography of Justin Bieber. So I was very dissapointed. I was looking for critique. For some narrative journalism. For any beyond-the-surface look at music and musicians. I didn’t find it.
I was sitting on the floor, thumbing through ‘Absolutely on Music.’ It’s a thick book containing conversations between Haruki Murakami and his friend, Seiji Ozawa.
I was sinking deeper into the wallowing when I noticed that the version of Somewhere Over The Rainbow that was playing in the room was Patti Labelle’s. I don’t know why that did it but that realisation snapped me out of feeling down.
I remembered that it’s a date with my artist child – not the make-or-break moment of my career. The date was nice in that I got to push myself to actually do something I hadn’t done in ages. Something that I probably would not have done if I didn’t have to tick off artist date on my weekly to-do-list. It was nice because I was paying attention. I have to be observant in my job but it’s always in the sense of being an outsider. Here, I got to pay attention to me. To how I was reacting to my surroundings.
I also got to let the idea of doing something “the right (or perfect) way go.” That was my artist date. That was my time to myself. And I look forward to more time – not just a lunch hour – to myself. Now to listen out for this week’s artist date. Universe, I’m listening…