A Writer's Field Trip

Let me take you on an Artist’s Date. What? You don’t know what an Artist’s Date is? It’s what I call a field trip for creative souls. Everyone is a creative soul. Some people just haven’t discovered it yet.              Julia Cameron, the author of The Artist’s Way and forty other books, is the Great Creativity Nurturer in my view. The Artist’s Date is designed as an excursion to fill the creative well. It can be an outing to an art gallery, a library, a yarn shop – any place that speaks to your creative spirit. Often color, scent, texture, and other sensual appeals are part of the destination. One of my favorite Artists Dates is to Jules Besch Stationers in Truro, Massachusetts, which is on Outer Cape Cod.            Meet Proprietor, Michael Tuck, a man with a passion for all things paper. He lovingly tends to the desires and needs of his devoted clientele and has created an environment perfect for an artist’s date            For a writer, there is eye candy everywhere. In addition to exquisite stationery, notecards, greeting cards for all occasions, there are displays throughout the shop nestled within nooks and crannies. Antique letter openers, ink wells, pens, and bookends so gorgeous, you might actually miss the array of gorgeous antique desks where Michael has tenderly arranged artifacts.              In the rear of the first floor, you will find notebooks and journals. There is at least one for every writer, whether you prefer lined or blank paper, leather bound, or the plebeian spiral like I do. I’m partial to a spiral bound notebook that has paper made of stone. It is so smooth, I’ve been heard asking other writers to “Feel my journal, please.” There are few circles where I can implore others to indulge in the love of paper and all things writing but here I browse with other members of my tribe.             Another room is filled with notecards for those of us who understand email has not replaced a handwritten expression of congratulations or sympathy. The selection ranges from tasteful and convention to humorous and a little outrageous. I recently sent a thank you note on a notecard with a tiny hydrangea on the front by Crane and got a thank you for my thank you.            Upstairs, you can roam through and touch sheets of elegant and joyful paper just waiting for you to find a purpose for. You may decide to wrap a gift, cover a book, or just display it above your desk to occasionally marvel at. There are party invitations and cocktail napkins with vintage photos. “My idea of a balanced diet is a drink in each hand,” boasts one woman from the fifties.            By the time you head to the cash register with your loot, your creative well will be overflowing. But the best is yet to come. The inevitable conversation with Michael tops it all, filled with folklore about Cape Cod and his adventures with paper and antiques. On a lucky day, you may find his beloved black lab there. You’ll probably not have noticed the quiet music playing in the background, but it’s there. Michael wraps your goods in lovely tissue, places them in a decorative bag, and then attaches a sprig of whatever is in season. I got a fragrant lily of the valley last week.              As you exit through a sun porch filled with African violets, antique photos, cloches, and sunshine, you feel your shoulders lighter and find a smile of your face. You’re ready to go back to work, even looking forward to it. Your Artist Date is a success.                 Where do you fill your creative well?(Jules Besch is located at 3 Great Hollow Road, Turo, Massachusetts.) 

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