In seeking to nurture our creativity, we need adventures that can be counted on. We are out to romance or woo our artist. We do so by taking a weekly solo expedition to do something that is just plain fun. As with any date, the planning is a part of the adventure. The anticipation is a large part of what makes it special....An Artist date is an adventure, a lark, a flier in to the unknown, that gives our inner creative youngster some time and attention and a chance to speak to us, and expect to hear the unexpected.
Artist Dates connect us to a larger and more fascinating world than our normal beaten path.
When I think about it I've been taking myself on Artist Dates for the last decade, and never knew it.
Mostly via my long bike rides, but also trips to parks, museums, the movies, Open Mic Poetry Readings, a genealogy convention, trips to phoenix, Chicago, Virginia, and Washington DC, and just riding the bus around town on errands, I have often found creative inspiration for my writing efforts as a blogger.
I've recently begun reading the Cameron books, beginning with Artist's Way, and begun doing the Morning Pages, and other exercises, all in an effort to recharge my Creative Mojo.
On Monday afternoon I took a bus, and train trip, from my home in Santa Ana, to Downtown Pasadena.
Often, when riding the bus, or train, I spend the time reading a book, or the newspaper, however, this time I decided to do what Julia suggested, and pay attention to those around me on the bus. ;-D
What follows are my notes from the journey:
The MTA 460 leaves Disneyland, at 11:40am, with a dozen passengers, & will be packed by the time we reach downtown Los Angeles.
A huge American flag can be seen hanging on the outside wall of the Ramada Inn, on Disney Way.
Across from me sits a young Hispanic Mother, in blue jeans & brown shirt. She has a dark yellow purse/bag in her lap, and one hand clutching the handle of a folded , cheap, purple stroller. Her 2 yr. old boy sits next to her in the window seat, looking out the window.
Up toward the front of the bus sits a 40ish black woman, in a flowery blouse, who hasn't stopped chatting on her cell phone since we got on the bus.
Across from her sits an elderly Hispanic man, in a black baseball cap, fast asleep. ;-D
I look out the window, up at the partly cloudy skies, as we leave the Fullerton Park & Ride Station, off La Palma, and I see a huge Military Transport Helicopter heading, no doubt, toward the base in Seal Beach.
2 young ladies, from a local Technical Med School, are now sitting behind me in the back of the bus, and a young Hispanic lady in a white sweater, with a beautiful yellow flower of some sort tying her long hair back, is sitting up front across from the Cell Phone Chatter.
Thankfully, the noise of the bus is too loud to hear Cell Phone Lady from where I sit, and too bad I also can't hear the 2 ladies behind me. ;-D
As we pass Knott's Berry Farm I'm reminded that it's been more than 20 years since I last visited the place, & the last time I visited Disneyland was during construction of Toon Town!
Utterly disgraceful behavior to admit for a native Southern Californian, I know. ;-D
Oh, look! At the 1/2 hour mark of our journey Cell Phone lady turns it off, & suddenly remembers her young male traveling companion sitting next to her!
Meanwhile...across from her is an Hispanic lady, with braided hair, studiously filing her finger nails, while also, alternately, picking her nose.
The interesting thing about her is how, when "Going for the Gold", she turns her head face front, as if this will prevent the other 25 bus passengers from noticing what she is doing. ;-D
As we approach La Mirada Ave. an 18 wheeler passes us on our left, & I notice 2 large yellow sickers, with black writing, on the back door.
The left one says, "Passing Side", and the right one says, "Suicide".
By the time I got my camera out for a picture it was too late, darn it! ;-D
Meanwhile our fingernail filing nose picker has her eyeliner, & make-up kit out, Cell Phone lady is on the phone again, & the sleeping Baseball cap guy is awake, though, since he is across from these 2 fine ladies, he probably wishes he was still asleep. ;-D
Across from me is a well dressed Asian lady who had been deeply engrossed in a book.
Must have been some book! She's now asleep, & the book is in danger of slipping from her hands, & lap, & on to the floor! ;-D
When an elderly Hispanic lady, lugging a shopping cart, gets on Cell Phone lady has to put her phone away, and make room for her.
At the same stop a young black guy, lugging a 5 ft. long folded black table, also gets on, & sits next to me.
I laugh, & ask him, "Hey, where's the rest of the house?"
He laughs back, and says, ""It's coming behind us!". ;-D
Cell Phone lady, & her man, finally get off, as does the nose picker though, sadly, well before she could finish putting on her "Game Face".
It's almost 1 pm, & we have arrived at the Norwalk Green Line Train Station.
Our travels along local streets are now over, and we are about to get on the freeway for the next part of the trip.
Table guy gets off, & I wish him luck in catching up with the rest of his house. ;-D
The sleeping Asian Book Reader awakens to find her book still in her lap, & a younger Asian lady seated next to her to chat with and, presumably, keep her awake.
The young Mom with the 2 yr. old, & purple stroller, has for some reason, known only to her, put her yellow bag at her feet, & spread a blue blanket across her lap.
The young lady sitting next to the formerly sleeping bookworm may actually soon be the one to fall asleep as the bookworm has pulled a white envelope out of her large black purse.
It is a newsletter by something called The Insurance Forum, and she proceeds to show her companion.
What's she trying to do, sell her insurance? ;-D
Well, at least something she said made the younger lady burst out laughing.
As I look out the window, up at the sky, I see more clouds have gathered, & I wonder if I should have worn my jacket.
In the distance I can finally see the skyscrapers of downtown LA approaching.
As we pass the outskirts of the USC campus, & I spot Felix the cat on top the Felix chevrolet sign, we exit the freeway, and head up Figueroa past the Convention center, & Staples Center.
I get off at 7th & Grand, headed under ground, and took the short Red Line Ride to Union Station.
Since we passed the City Hall Station, and under City Hall, I was a bit disappointed we didn't encounter any Occupy LA folks, but I wasn't going to get off, and go looking for any. ;-D
It's 145pm &, walking through Union Station, I still marvel at the changes within.
It's not just that, now, the Gold Line train that goes from Altadena to East LA, goes through here, but that there are several real, honest to God, fast food joints in the main terminal waiting area.
It's been years since I was last in downtown Pasadena ( I worked a few months at a Target, in Eagle Rock, in 2001 ), and never been on the Gold Line before.
As I reach the outdoor platform for the train the first thing I notice are the 30 Vult... I mean pigeons, perched in an attentive line on the platform roof, like extras in a Hitchcock film. ;-D
A black lady reaches the platform, & 15 of the birds, noticing the bag of popcorn in her hands, leap from their perch, briefly fly around her, with a few alighting on the platform at her feet, before returning to the roof when they realize that she wasn't about to share.
At 2pm the train comes, and off we go.
We pass above the HQ for Homeboy Industries, and a few rail yard, and empty lots, before passing a new community park developed on an old historic plot of land.
Continuing on, we go past, and behind, building covered, seemingly, in more graffiti than a dictionary has words.
Passing through residential areas, in Highland park, sometimes going up, and hugging the sides of the hills packed with homes, we arrive at my stop oat Fillmore Station.
It is an 8 block walk, around the south side of the Huntington Memorial Hospital Complex, before I finally come to my destination....
A Fork in the Road...
Well, OK, make that 2 Forks....
After an hour I returned to the train station, and continued on to downtown Pasadena.
It has been many years since I was there.
I remember a time, from as far back as the early 70's, & through the 90's, when a 3 block stretch of Colorado Blvd., where legendary Vroman's Bookstore is, with Bungalow Newsstand across the street, had a half dozen, or more, used Bookstores, you know, those places where books once sold new by Vroman's when your grandparents, & great grandparent's, were young, went to be re-discovered, or forgotten. ;-D
Today, only Cliff's used Bookstore keeps Vroman's company, and is barely hanging on, and Bungalow was sent to the Great Bookstore Mall in Sky, with only the sign abover the shuttered store store front to remind one of its glory days.
After eating dinner at a nice little Hot Dog Stand, on Arroyo Parkway, near the train depot, it was time to say good-bye to this part of my past, and head for home in the gathering darkness.
Once back at Union Station I decided to hop the Metrolink back to Orange County.