The tasks at the end of chapter 9 in “The Artist’s Way” and the new year coincided perfectly. By working my way through the end-of-chapter exercises last week, I got a head start on my new year’s resolutions. And by the way, if you haven’t seen it yet, the January ’07 issue of “O” magazine has an extensive article on how to change habits and why it’s so difficult to make significant changes. Worth reading. …. In any case, here’s my ’07 list for creative pursuits:
1. Create my outdoor garden oasis, modeled after my dear friend Dean Riddle’s bit of horticultural heaven in the Catskills. This photo is a sliver of a view of his garden in late summer. Notice the antique sunflowers — he brought a “Welcome” bouquet of these lovelies to our motel last August. Dean serves an outdoor meal worthy of any upscale magazine spread. His menus and presentation inspire me. Nothing beats gardenside dining, in my book. Especially at his place.
2. Dance for fun, and fun only. Give up perfection. Try an African dance class, just because.
3. Finish writing “Voice on Fire” (working title). Conclude the project with a celebration for finishing this story and flushing the emotions from my body, heart and mind.
4. Return to “The Red Bead” for research. Tell the whole story.
5. Make the periwinkle blue quilt.
6. Make the ‘vegetable garden’ quilt.
7. Host a dinner party a quarter, in the spirit of the artistic salons of Paris during the time of Gertrude Stein and Picasso. So that’s four dinner parties for ’07.
8. Enhance cozy creative space in home office.
9. Attend another writing retreat.
10. Knit a beaded top suitable for ballroom dancing dress-up.
I got the idea for the dinner parties after catching a sound-bite of Gwyneth Paltrow’s declaration about why she chooses to live in England rather than the U.S. She said it’s because dinner conversation is more interesting there than here. That got me to thinking about the lost habit of entertaining on occasions other than holidays. At least, sometime between the corporate job, a divorce, and several changes of address, it became lost for me. Her comment reminded me that what I miss is the kind of lingering conversations that can evolve over plates of homemade food at the kitchen or dining room table. A homey setting is an essential ingredient, thereby eliminating restaurants as an option. For some reason, I’ve taken Gwyneth’s comment to heart, and embraced it as a challenge for my new year. The prospect of mixing and matching various friends and colleagues for an evening of good food and scintillating conversation has me list-making already. I’ll keep you posted.