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For Those of Us in an Office, Who Dream of an Artful Life

March 29, 2006
from my walk to work today

For those of you people who, like me, find themselves employed by somebody else and in an office, I offer these ideas to shake up your day:

1. Walk to work–either the whole way or a section of the way. Today is the first REAL SPRING DAY we’ve had here in New York, and I got off the subway early and walked the 15 blocks in total glee, with the sun on my shoulders and the world suddenly blooming.

2. Go get a cup of coffee outside. Offer to buy your favorite co-worker/friend a cup too. Take 15 minutes and go. (Alternative or additional incentive: drink your coffee in a CUP and SAUCER. I did this once, and I felt SO ARTY and GREAT)

3. Buy yourself flowers. I recommend daffodils.

4. Read a poem. It’s short, it won’t take up too much time, but the heart will remember wonder.

5. Make a list of things you LIKE about your job (I don’t care where you are–there are SOME THINGS that you like). Mine would be something like this: the view outside my window, several people here light up my day (hi Chin!), breakfast in the mornings, less worry about money, music from Pandora.

6. Bring your camera to work and take pictures occasionally through the day. Here is one of mine:

7. Do one thing towards your “ideal life.” I called and made an appointment at the Schol of Visual Arts and I am going for a walk in Central Park later.

8. Wear something that makes you feel good. I am wearing a pair of my purple dangly earrings my mom gave me for Christmas. They remind me of the artist I always am.

9. At 3:00, have a piece of chocolate.

10. Plan one thing to do JUST FOR YOU at 5:00. Sometimes I go to the Algonquin and write. This week I went to a bookstore and browsed for three hours.

For extra credit: keep a small notebook on your desk and either doodle while you are on the phone, or have it handy to write down ideas for later.

No matter where you are, who you’re with, or what you’re doing, you are always YOU.

  1. Sally Veganini permalink
    March 29, 2006 9:40 pm

    Right on Summer!(sorry that was the resonance of your last line- No matter where you are, who you’re with, or what you’re doing, you are always YOU.)That was a great post-Excellent ideas..I’m sure many have ‘thought’ of them before, but actually being motivated- like the painting, because you ARE tired etc.. to do it every day, that’s a bit harder..I think I might take up the challenge 🙂Maybe you’ll look over at the building opposite yours one day, at 3:00pm, and there will sit a woman, munching down on chocolate cake 🙂Good luck with the meeting!!!

  2. Summer Pierre permalink
    March 29, 2006 10:09 pm

    Sally Jane–I LOVE that image of looking over and seeing someone eating cake at 3:00. That TICKLES ME!

  3. forward hope permalink
    March 29, 2006 11:03 pm

    thank you for this…you don’t know me but i found you via folk web and some extra clicks of my mouse…and then there was this blog entry that seemed like it was written just for ME (and all the other artist-toiling-away-in-an-office people out there. I’m printing out your list and I’m keeping it taped to the wall by my desk. woohoo and carry on through!Meghan

  4. deb permalink
    March 30, 2006 4:14 am

    You write about finding inspiration in SARK and Brenda Ueland and Annie Lamott (me too), and I find this just as inspiring and delightful and quote-worthy as their stuff. YUM.

  5. KatieG permalink
    March 30, 2006 4:35 am

    outstanding. after a long wednesday and two long long weeks of travel ahead, this was a refreshing and thoughtful post. i adore your writing…

  6. Nicola permalink
    March 30, 2006 8:34 am

    I love this! I will try to remember to do all these things. Good onya!

  7. chinchin permalink
    March 30, 2006 3:37 pm

    Yes!!! LOL thanks for great morning sparks in eyes that say Hello World Here I AM! thanks for Pandora too. Listening to Boz Scaggs right now. Happy bright days to you with smiles that spread from ear to ear.

  8. maria permalink
    March 30, 2006 10:37 pm

    I *love* this post, Summer. So filled with life and juice.I love the idea of eating a piece of chocolate at 3:00 p.m. … maybe a nice piece of Dove dark chocolate (… not usually a fan of dark chocolate, but I’m acquiring a taste, and I like theirs … plus they have little sayings in their wrappers). Maybe it will become a movement of everyone who’s in an office every day at 3:00 dreaming of an arty life … and also those of us who are trying to live an arty life dreaming of actually making enough money at it to keep on doing it :-). Hmmm … the ‘chocolate at 3’ movement or something… a little act of self-love. A good piece of chocolate always makes my creative juices flow, too.Fun!

  9. Sally Veganini permalink
    March 30, 2006 11:00 pm

    hehe I always say:cake makes everything a little better 🙂

  10. Marilyn permalink
    April 1, 2006 3:54 pm

    Summer, this is a great list! I, too, work in an office and have tried some of these things to keep my sanity. 😉 LOVE the idea of drinking from a cup and saucer–in fact, I think I’ll go to the thrift store and look for a set to keep at my desk. Hope you had a great time with Maria and Deb and Kerstin–fabulous gals, all of ’em. Good for you for making that call to the School of Visual Arts!

  11. pippa permalink
    June 28, 2007 4:02 pm

    thankyou summer, that was a post i’ve needed to read since starting my new job.

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