Make a Picnic

For Day two of the Creativity Boot Camp in which I’m participating, we were asked to do a journal entry on our thoughts on whether we consider ourselves an artist.  And if not, what does constitute referring to someone as an artist.  I think about this often as I ponder what makes someone a “writer”.  Are we writers since we write blogs?  Or do you need to be a published writer to refer to yourself as a writer?  I do NOT consider myself a writer or an artist.  I write. I love to write. But I would have a very hard time telling someone that what I do makes me a writer.  I’m pushing myself through the journal entry to think deeper about this and am finding it very interesting as I broaden my thoughts to ART in general.  I’d be interested in your thoughts on this!

Along with the journal entry, the prompt for the second day of the Creativity Boot Camp is Picnic.

photo credit


Can become so dull. So expected. So drab and life draining. Same meals at the same times in the same room in the same chairs. Quiet introspection after a long day often comes easier than conversation when there is too much routine.  There’s no spontaneity when every day life simply hums along as usual.

But throw in a twist. Something so simple as a change of scenery.  A change of venue.  And life can flip on its side. Bring a breath of fresh air. A new perspective. A welcomed respite from the mundane.

A picnic.

An outside picnic to take you away from the sterile kitchen feast on place mats and correctly ordered utensils. Enjoying the sticky sweetness of watermelon dripping down your wrist and licking it clean instead of reaching for the properly folded napkin.  Giggling over a determined ant marching its way toward its goal of a crumb that you watch in amazement as it is hoisted onto the miniscule bug’s shoulders. Sitting indian style on a polka dotted mat, shoes tossed aside into the grass and watching a father and daughter toss a frisbee instead of rushing through a meal knowing a favorite TV show is awaiting you in the next room.  Reminiscing about past dates in parks, by rivers, on mountains, AWAY from the norm, from the expected heart beat of life.  Feeling not only satisfied from a portable meal but from getting out, even if only 20 feet away from that table, in that kitchen where you sit each day, always knowing what to expect.

An indoor picnic. One room away from that kitchen table.  In front of a fire dancing with flames. On a fuzzy blanket normally folded neatly on the couch. A tray stacked with nibbles not normally served for a meal. Wine glasses placed on the floor without coasters. Legs intertwined with one another on the floor instead of separate and hidden under a table.  Cheeks warmed from the hot glow from the hearth.  Eyes connect. Smiles are found. It’s a week night. Normally a night filled with rushed answers to common questions.  But the blanket, throw pillows and break from the ordinary is rejuvinating.  Refreshing. Necessary.

Picnics don’t require fancy baskets. Picnics don’t need to be in perfectly manicured parks. You don’t need organized entertainment or coolers full of beverages.

Picnics are simply a break. A break from the norm. To bring new life to something (not just a meal) you do each day.  Daily email reading and blog writing outside in the front yard.  The morning cup (pot) of coffee bringing you to life outside on the front stoop or stone wall by the road. Reading the goodnight stories in the warm summer air under the stars.  Serving snacks in the sandbox.  Washing the dishes with an iPod pumping dance music in your ears.

The joy of a picnic is in its simplicity. And in how you feel as you shake off and fold up your blanket and return to life as you know it.



Filed under creativity boot camp, escape

16 responses to “Make a Picnic

  1. Oh my gosh, I love picnics and I love this piece! It is amazing how just throwing a blanket on the floor and the “usual” to the wind makes everything fresh and fun.

    And you, my friend, are most definitely a writer.

  2. ck

    “…and return to life as you know it.” I LOVE indoor picnics. Especially the kind you wrote about here.

  3. 🙂 I think you and I were thinking along the same lines!
    And as for the artist bit – I’m finding a whole new level of self because while I am striving to consider myself as a writer, I never in a million years would have thought of myself as an artist. But really, writing is creating art.
    My mind is a little blown right now after considering it… (also maybe because my brother is an actual trained artist, so he’s been THE artist of the family, and I never thought we had much in common… but maybe we do…)

  4. First – wonderful post.
    Here is my question for you- do you write to communicate or to create something in and of itself?
    From reading just a few of your posts, I would call you a writer. You use words skillfully, intentionally. You create something almost tactile. (I do not call myself a writer, I write to communicate. I think of it like talking instead of being an orator.)
    Artist does feel like a loaded term to me. I am in a family of artists, but not sure I qualify. But what is an artist? I’m still trying to define it.

  5. “Enjoying the sticky sweetness of watermelon dripping down your wrist and licking it clean.” LOVE this line.

    Becca, you’ve outdone yourself. This post is fantastic really. So full of imagery, a sense of feeling, taste, even smell. Now I wish I had a picnic planned for today.

    My personal favourite is warm summer mornings lounging on my country porch, iced coffee, book in hand and the sound of a light breeze in the background.

  6. Nicki

    Love it, Becca! You have inspired me. I can’t wait to have a picnic.

  7. Beautiful photograph!

    I agree, picnics are all about those little stolen moments where you can do something totally (or just a little bit) different…even if it’s just for a little while.

  8. “Eyes connect. Smiles are found”

    That is what picnics are for me. It is a REAL connection with people, the earth, food that nourishes, and God. I have always loved a picnic.

    Great post!

  9. Picnics are awesome. My kids loved them and especially if it was raining and I threw a blanket on the living room floor and we ate there. Great post.

  10. ooo Picnics are fabulous. Although, I’m still stuck on the “correctly ordered utensils.” Ummm what is the correct order? I’m pretty sure we don’t even USE utensils around here.

  11. Gotta be honest, this makes me totally sad that I passed on a picnic yesterday! But a beautiful post. As comforting as routine is–and I do love it, it makes me feel safe–venturing outside that zone everyone now and then is so rewarding. So necessary.

  12. This post was me. I loved every word. Thank you!

  13. We really do not do picnics but you are so right, it is a way to break out of the routine, sit and talk outside and appreciate the world, even if only from your own back yard. So I am going to start doing this with my daughter, thank you.

    As for being a writer, anyone who writes is a writer. What makes for a good writer in my view is someone who writes from the heart, whatever the topic might be. Only then do I believe writing can become truly great and when great can become an art form.

  14. Eva

    I’m totally dragging Husband outside for dinner in our backyard tonight. And not on the patio table, just all spread out on a blanket! You’ve inspired me.

    What caught me about this post, early on, is the comment how we sit at the same table, in the same spots every day. This is how it was growing up in my family too: Dad’s spot at the head of the table, brother, sister, me, Mom at the other end. Why don’t we shake things up a bit, just to keep it fresh?!

  15. You’re writing is so good, Becca. Hope you are having fun.

  16. You’re right about the beauty of something simple, but you know what I think about? (Me, the pessimist?) Bugs getting on my nice blanket, the wind blowing it, napkins flying away.

    This is why I don’t do picnics so easily.

    I did get engaged at a picnic, though. Hmm. Strange, huh?

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