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Given that today was Friday, and the end of a rather intense week, I decided the artist in me needed 1) exercise, and 2) fresh air. The only opportunity for both would be a walk on my lunch hour. In my “day job,” lunch usually involves a microwaved meal that I dribble onto my keyboard while I continue working. Today still included a microwaved meal, but I also came prepared, wearing my red Josef Seibel’s. At two o’clock I put up my hair and headed outdoors.

Upon leaving a fluorescent lit, air-conditioned office one is immediately struck by how vibrant it is outside, how full of movement, and how enchanting…like stepping into C.S. Lewis’ wardrobe and another world. Today was hot. The air carried the intense scents of summer’s end. I heard “Stand By Me” drifting from a car window, tinkling piano music from a curtained house. I watched small red-breasted birds swoop through gardens and black crows hop down the street. I kicked acorns and stood amidst yellow flowers. I came upon a man who has a library in his front yard and, like a character in a children’s book, offered me a golden apple for my journey.

Red shoes   Little Library

Julia Cameron, author of the The Artist’s Way and Walking in this World, and someone I consider a creative mentor, talks about the positive effects walking has on the creative process. Still, I’ve noticed it always takes at least a couple blocks to shake off the stresses of the office, to finally let myself play and see the magic beyond the mundane. When I do, I’m no longer a woman of linear to-do lists, emails and deadlines. I’m a creator…full of swirling questions and thoughts. Today I thought about my novel and wondered why my main character, Elle, continues to elude me, and I made plans to corner her this weekend. I thought about an idea I have for a new book, and I contemplated the pure joy of future research…on totems and reincarnation and royal crests!

After such playful excursions and creative brainstorms, going back to an office is a bit like leaving an enchanted land of characters and possibility, pushing through the musty coats of the wardrobe, and returning to a drab reality. Still, I returned with writing ideas for the weekend, and my walk reminded me what happens when you step outside four walls and into yourself.