Like most writers, I find it hard to let go of my Work In Progress and even Works Not in Progress. Nothing seems to work as a diversion, a way to relax.
• How about a movie?
• Relax with TV?
• Let's go shopping?
Nope. Can't relax. I'm always figuring I could make it—whatever it is. A knit cap? I can do it. A calendar? Logo items? I can do those. Greeting cards? stickers? Photo albums? Been there, done that. Even if I never actually knit another cap, I *assume* I will. In a way shopping is just another way for me to get ideas.
What if it's a bookstore? OK, of course, I have *fun* but I'm still working. What's on the shelf face out? Why? Those gift books—why don't I write a few?
• Visiting a Museum?
Ah, now we're talking. Because I know I'll never be an artist, I don't try to analyze what I'm looking at. I give in to the experience on an emotional level. I also physically relax looking at a painting in the American Wing of the Met, or walking through the Frick or Boston's MFA.
Some of my friends take advantage of the headset tours offered by most museums. If we're going to a special exhibit, one of my relatives studies the artist or the period ahead of time, then avails herself of the headsets and pamphlets, if there's no lecturer handy. She tries to learn everything about each painting. Was it the artist's sister who posed? Did he start out to paint a different background? How interesting that he completed only 30 paintings in his lifetime.
An admirable approach, but not for me. I just walk around (and occasionally sit) and soak it in. Sure, I can tell a Turner from a Matisse, but that's from exposure not concentration. I don't pick up the pamphlets and hardly read the documention on the walls. I'm not there to learn. What a relief!
Want to divert me? Set me down at a museum, preferably one of those between Central Park South and 105th.