February 23, 2015

One Thousand Mississippi's - Lynn J Simpson

I open my eyes. Darkness still envelopes my room. I close them again, in the hopes that maybe this middle of night awakening is just a moment that will pass as fast as a blink. But behind my closed lids, images and words begin flashing. Images of tasks that I have yet to accomplish, or plans that I wonder if ever shall transpire into reality. And after a thousand Mississippi counts later, I finally just open my eyes and give in to the awakening in the darkness of this mid-night.

Sometimes it is at these times that I turn my bedside light on and reach into my dresser drawer where my latest spiral notebook lay. Since I was pre-teen, I have randomly kept diaries and journals. Many I no longer have, torn in pieces before emptying into a recycle bin so no one can ever know the contents of those pages. Yet, though the words are gone, the healing of writing those words is everlasting.

I read Julia Cameron’s The Artist's Way many years ago.  Cameron taught me how to just let go, and journal through the activity she calls The Morning Pages. An activity of writing three pages every morning upon first waking that is without any worrisome thoughts of form, grammar, and spelling. Just write. It was through this letting go, this purging of old wounds, doubts, and negativity that opened me up to the artist within. And then I began the next step of Cameron’s Artist journey by taking myself on weekly Artist Dates.

In those days I would scan the pages of the local entertainment magazine to find events in my area.
I went to book readings, photography exhibitions, debates in coffee shops, independent movies, and science exhibitions. I would take drives to parks I had never been and walk the trails. I would shop in tucked away boutiques in neighbourhoods I had never ventured before.  Two hours on a weekend I let myself be awake in the new and sometimes uncomfortable.

And I slept peacefully.

An Artist Date may not only stretch me to experience something new I can write about, but also possibly eliminate a mid-night count of a 1,000 Mississippi's. Maybe it is time to for the new and uncomfortable again! What would an Artist Date, the new and uncomfortable, be for you?


  1. I also find journalling a very therapeutic activity. thanks for the wonderful post.

  2. I journal but never thought about taking artist dates. Maybe I'm going to have to think of something to try. Your writing is very nice. I can't wait for you to write a book.

  3. Yes, writing 1,000 words is much better than counting 1,000 Mississippi's ANYTIME--and much more therapeutic. Thanks for the reminder.

  4. Thank-you for sharing the 1,000 Mississippi's ... I connected with your night notebook, only I've been saving mine ... some of those thoughts read in the morning, seem less cohesive. I also connect with the healing in the writing. Writing to right the troubled waters, it seems. I enjoyed your writing style, and the photos. Blessings.

  5. I love journalling. I don't do it every day but sometimes I just need to pour my heart on the page. Usually it is at night.I kept my journals from way back and appreciate how I can go back and re-experience the emotion of the moment one more time. Great post and do try to get some sleep - hot lemon and honey! Lavender on your feet.

  6. I too identify with the healing nature (nurture?) of journal writing. Lots of those entries turned on the tears, but also turned me on to writing a prayer to God, who loved me then and still loves me now, through the good times and the challenges of life.

    I'm live in a small town, so I may have to be creative when it comes to Artist's Dates. I like what one of my friends does, and I think someone mentioned it in a blog--that is to set yourself up for a writing retreat for a morning or a whole day. Fix your meals ahead, your snacks and beverages, so you can keep at your writing all day long, with just short breaks for the necessities of life.

    Thanks for this post, Lynn. I too enjoyed your writing style.

  7. Lynn, I've never tried the morning pages, but to have a way to purge negativity while laying in bed waiting to fall back asleep or for the alarm to go off sounds WONDERFUL. I hope you find a way to get the inspiration back and have your creative well filled right up again!


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