Her method blends daily morning pages (remember Julia Cameron's groundbreaking stream-of-consciousness cleansing) and art journaling, prayer, partnering with buddies, with a focus on a creative goal. Mine is to stop worrying about what I didn't do, ran out of time for, left unfinished on the table... Take a 30 minute walk? I could do a wash on the series of three canvases I'm starting; I could wrap my mind around the two swaps I've stalled on... I could start a blog post.... It's well documented that writers and artists walk, though, and my feet are in good enough shape to facilitate so I grabbed my camera and, as my bff Karen does daily, took a time out to renew my vision.
So, I ended up walking way longer than 30 minutes and finding some interesting angles and objects to photograph, though I've combed these streets hundreds of times before. Our neighborhood occupies the eastern edge of downtown Lexington. It's a historic blend of towering Victorian four-squares, smaller Arts & Crafts with really cool architectural detail; a park and Greek Revival Mansion in the center was once the estate for Colonel John Todd who was mortally wounded at the Battle of Blue Licks in 1782. Acquired by the Bell family in 1842, the Greek Revival mansion is the scene of countless weddings, anniversary and holiday parties and, our chili cook-off and Harvest Feast that are the platform for our neighborhood association's annual meeting.
What was once the carriage house is now home of the Studio Players, a theatre troop that performs regularly in the auditorium on the lower floor. The visible upper floors house a reception area and offices. The grounds provide the dozens of neighborhood kids (and parents), including mine, with space to frisbee, run with the dogs, hunt easter eggs, play football, picnic, practice skateboard techniques and build forts in the cavernous bushes. The Bell House is visible from Main Street and more than once, I've pointed it out during tours as our house, but never let it get past the first laugh.
Our house is very modest and extremely square, the curves and angles that spoiled us in the bungalow we used to live in have been replaced by enough room to spread out, acquire major clutter and, of course, house the Altered Attic (windows across the top floor.) From my window seat I've watched birds playing in the water (oops) making rivers in the box gutters, and the change of seasons, trees flowering, greening, fiery and then graceful upstretched arms awaiting a new life cycle.
What I find so amazing, is that every time I do take a walk I see things that weren't in focus before; not that life is stagnant, or that neighbors don't change their outer surroundings, but it's refreshing to quickly breathe in that sense of discovery. I think most folks around here are used to my peering about, sometimes a bit closer to the porch that I should be, with my face pressed against the camera.
Today is Black Friday and a friend and I are going to set out on our ritual walk to the many locally-owned shops in our neighborhood to peruse the art, jewelry and fresh fun and functional array that you can only find in such small, attention-to-detail independent shops. More on that later.