Michelle’s story about meeting her creative spirit was so funny and specific that I forgot until this morning that the first time I ran across this exercise it was in a book by Julia Cameron called The Artist’s Way. In all three of her artist’s way books Cameron stresses the importance of the ‘artist’s date’ – in which you take your inner artist (or creative child) out on a date, pay attention to them (her, him, or it), and do something they’d like to do. Because the date is for your inner artist/child/muse (or in Michelle’s case, for Bobo), you go ‘alone’, to make sure you’re paying attention and listening to your creative spirit instead of to a human companion. (Cameron writes that one of her favorite artist dates was a clock store in NYC.)
Lynda Barry, in her book of exercises and thoughts on creativity What It Is, also talks about writing and making visual art, what can stop you, or mess with you, and what can help you get to that place where you’re in touch with … I want to call it primal creativity – which, in Barry’s book of words and pictures sometimes appears as a monkey (the medieval symbol for the artist) and sometimes as a childlike-looking octopus…a wide-eyed blob with legs, swimming in the deep.