The Artist Date is a once-weekly, festive, solo expedition to explore something that interests you. --Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way
One day in September of 2000, I walked out of my chrome and glass office at NHL headquarters across from Radio City Music Hall and headed south until I arrived at Madison Square Garden.
Barbra Streisand was appearing in concert and I didn’t have a ticket. Not only that, I kept wondering what would possess me to attend a spectacle like this by myself.
A helpful co-worker had clued me in on the corporate spillover line at The Garden, meaning you wait and see if any unused company seats wind up vacant and subsequently for sale. I couldn’t resist trying.
In my late 30s, I had only been an urbanite for two years, living in nearby Hoboken, N.J. with its easy commute into Manhattan. How could I work just blocks away from live Streisand and not try?
I thought about my mother and my sister, both of whom would have loved to see Streisand but didn’t have my luxury of proximity. Still, I credit my mother with my fandom. She loved the movie Funny Girl and played Streisand’s greatest hits enough that we knew the words and sang them often in our suburban house in central New Jersey. I can still see Mom, dust rag in hand, pausing to belt the Don’t Rain on My Parade showstopper with Barbra, “I march my baa-aand out …”
I got into the concert.
Later I regaled my little group in The Artist’s Way — a classic book/course by Julia Cameron being taught by a local in Hoboken — with that week’s spectacular “artist date.” Would I have even ventured to the concert by myself if it weren’t for this book?
The Artist’s Way changed my life as an artist and opened me to the idea of becoming a professional coach. Since that initial introduction to it in Hoboken, I’ve taken the course with Cameron in person in New York City and later interviewed her twice in my role as a journalist. I also teach the course.
All of this because back then I’d become detached from my writer self as I progressed in my career to editor, manager, producer in the New York arena. These ‘dates’ with self are designed to help us fill our creative well.