an artist date

11/15/2023 0 By BuddyCushman

I’ve never been anything of a math person. And yet, this morning when I wrote the last word on the inside back cover of my latest “Morning Pages” notebook, something like a spell came over me, and I opened the calculator in my phone.

Each wide-ruled notebook I have used for the “Pages” since I wrote my first words in June of 2011 have 70 pages, and writing three pages a day – the clear direction within Julia Cameron’s “Artist Way” – the last day of a notebook requires the inside back cover. So, there’s the milieu of my “Pages”. Here’s the calculator. It takes me 23.67 days to complete a notebook (71 by 3). I wrote my first page back in June 2011, right around this time of the month, and all the days of a year times those 12 years between then and a couple of hours ago calculates out to 4380 days. Then there’s the additional 150 days between June 2023 and this morning. Those 4530 days divided by the 23.67 days it takes to complete one figures out to 191 and change. I’m happy and just a little stunned that I have written more than 191 notebooks of Morning Pages from the day I began, also considering this non-mathematical fact – I have never missed a single day writing my “Pages.”

I grew up in my parents’ house at 191 High Street in Wareham, Massachusetts, so that number has a bit of emotional valence for me. Mostly it just felt like a goofy thing to do this morning. Now, I didn’t take into account leap years or 30 or 31 days in the months between last June and today. My math might be off. It wasn’t about that. Nor about the teeniest bit of, “Wow, look at me.” I’m not crazy about being looked at. There’s a Zen Koan in which a student comes to a teacher and says, “I keep reaching and reaching for the light, but I cannot see it.” And the teacher says back, “Don’t show me the light. Show me the reaching.”

That’s this.