Where’s my literary salon?

Artist’s Way Week Three: Find your creative friends.

Your vibe attracts your tribe, don’t they say? Well I don’t know what it says that I spend most of my time with a sticky six-year-old but I am not sure if I am in the season of my life to hold a Bluestocking Salon. The third week on the Artist’s Way programme is really about friends.

I wish I had more people close who could boost my creativity. Certainly gathering people around you whose qualities you admire helps. The right people can bolster you in any area of life not just your creative work. But having time to engage specifically with your art with another person is harder to do.

It think in her essay, Julia Cameron makes it sound simple but it feels more like a thought experiment right now. I mean I would love to hold a literary salon, but would you mind turning up between 10pm and 11pm? That’s the time between my son going to sleep and me collapsing into bed. Oh, and while we discuss our writing, I’m just going to be putting the dishwasher on because he doesn’t like the noise of it.

I have been enjoying doing the housework more since I started my new routines and Marie Kondo’d at least a little bit. So it is not as simple to say that chores stop me from making time for creative friends. I admit I have known for a while that I sometimes lack stimulation for my brain. This is brought on by being time poor, being hooked on reality TV and trying to coordinate diaries with other people in the same predicament. Modern life gets in the way. We are all too busy, aren’t we?

Although I didn’t really need my morning pages on the topic to identify what is missing, I also need to remind myself that this may just be a feature of early motherhood. This is a phase of life where just going to Aldi in the evening is exciting because “Look at me, I’m out!” This may not be true for everyone, but it is logistically complicated to get time away from the house in the evenings for me right now.

I did manage to see a friend for coffee this week which is very exciting when you have had a few weeks of ill health. We didn’t get on to the works of Tolstoy this time because I was too busy telling her the ins and outs of my (thankfully minor) operation.

I also got to see the excellent Rocketman which is of course uplifting and inspiring while also making you experience the pain Elton must have been through too. It was definitely a movie I would happily watch again straight away. Back to back with Star is Born and Bohemian Rhapsody. There is nothing to compare to  the experience of being swept along by  a musical (I really want Rocketman to be staged, even if Jukebox musicals get a bad rap, this one is excellent) A collective cathartic cry is pretty good too. But this is the closest to going out and enjoying art that I got to this week.

I would be really interested to know how other artistic parents find time to gather others of their ilk around them. For the moment, I think dipping in and out of the #writingcommunity on Twitter may be the most I can manage. Even then keeping up with them all is hard, but there an awful lot of people out there who want to share and be interested in a more literary life. And for my life right now, that may mean connecting online not in real life.

Have you got literary friends?

If you are lucky enough to have more of a life out of the house than me, this article from Bust Magazine has some great tips for setting up your own Salon.

You can read more about week one and week two on The Artist’s Way programme below. Julia Cameron’s book helps you develop your inate creativity in 12 weeks using writing exercises every morning and a weekly artist date. I am recording my journey on the programme.

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