Terrible “borrowed Internet today. Wish me luck….

I am not a particularly superstitious person. But from the rituals that permeate my weekend writing life, you’d never know it.

Can’t explain the why of them. A collective security blanket, maybe. Or, like the car key that is always in my jeans pocket when it is not on its special hook near the garage door, perhaps these rituals are a way of clearing the mental decks of the unnecessary, to make room for the things I actually want to think about.

These are moments I guard jealously; a predictable series of events that gives me something to look forward to. Arrival at the house = transcription of notes made during the  drive, or notes left over from the week. Then sleep (with luck, more notes will come to me in the late hours to carry me into the next day’s work.) Waking without a sound from the alarm clock. Bed made while still warm from the body. The morning three-miler (intervals on Saturday; a contemplative “thinker’s pace” on Sunday.) Shower. Then coffee. Then down to work. Every weekend day starts that way. And the five days of the T’giving holiday will, too.

The transcription of notes from tape to paper is one of my most important rituals. Cherished. Intimate. Beloved. The transfer of thought to paper is a way of surrounding myself with the created world. It is the placing of mental and emotional landmarks that take me deeper into the story; that remind me of the ideas just minted and suggest more to come.

The re-reading past notes is yet another ritual. Sometimes it is a rereading of the past few pages…every week or so, the entire body of notes, cover to cover. This is my way of refamiliarizing myself with elements of story and the evolution of its ideas. The notes-most-recent don’t exactly not exactly the same story as the story-as-begun. And that’s as it should be. The seed doesn’t look like the flower.

Like the just-right notebook (chosen for the leather of its cover, the quality of its paper, its heft in the hand), and the perfect pen (very fine point; never to be used for the writing of any word not the book’s), my ritual life is, I expect, not all that different from the quirks of other writers…. Which is, I guess, my way of telling myself how delightfully un-quirky I actually am. Sure.

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