The first snow fell yesterday. Lasted a minute. Later or before, pouring rain. I’m nursing toothache, earache, headache. I’ve been to the doctor, the dentist, and Cub Med, I mean, WebMD. The dentist says it is a jaw shift, caused by clenching the jaw in sleep. Who knew? All I’ve known is every morning for a year, I’ve woken up with a stuffed nose. I blamed it on allergy, on sea level after altitude. I’m good with heights, but get queasy on boats. Except ferries. Ferries I love. Notice, this blog is just writing itself.
So, I’m in some pain, and I’m refusing engagements, and it hasn’t snowed, and the writing is hard, but life is still pretty good. I went to the coffee store. I spoke with my parents. I petted a beautiful young lab. I got a humidifier. And that moment of snow fall, that was joyful.
Last month, I took an on-line course taught by Cynthia Morris, called the Fall Writing Fling. Each day we received a prompt and photo in the mail, along with a “writual blessing.” All we had to do was write for at least fifteen minutes each day for the month.
Happily, I completed all thirty-one days. It wasn’t always easy, and there were days I fitted it in late at night, and even while visiting family. But I love structure, and I love the “follow through.” This was, for me, the checking in with everyone else in the group by posting comments. It was really what I looked forward to, a completion of the creative act of writing. That’s what Pat Schneider of Writing Alone & With Others would say. She believes that the actual writing is only part of the writing task; the sharing of the writing, and receiving a response completes the process. In Cynthia’s class, no one read each other’s work,only post three words to describe the process that day, along with comments on the work. I liked reflecting on whatever it was I wrote, without sharing it.
I found that by the third week, it became a habit, and by the fourth week, I really enjoyed it. It ceased being a task.
A friend wondered what I did with the exercises. I said I threw them away, that they were like practicing scales, but later I realized that I did go back to a couple for insights into the story I was working on.
Practice makes the difference.
Does anyone else keep a regular morning pages sort of practice? What are the effects in your life? Leave a comment!
I broke a jar of honey yesterday. One pound of pure raw honey remained crystalized at the bottom of a Madhava jar I’ve had for over a year now, brought with me when I moved from Colorado. For days now I tried to heat the bottle gently by dunking it in hot water, but yesterday, with some internet research, I decided to try heating it in a pan of water.
According to Ayurveda, and possibly the Puranas, if not the Shatras, and most venerable of all, the women who cook, honey is never ever to be heated or boiled. It is not to be used in shampoos, but it can in one tiny, tiny drip of a drop, against all modern Western parenting taboos, be placed on a newborn’s tongue to ensure a sweet life. But heating, boiling, shampooing? Never. All matter of properties, if not properties of matter are disturbed. The universe winces.
Still, I heated it, thinking about this injunction after I succeeded in getting the mass at the bottom of the jar to sluggishly move with a chopstick.
I still thought of it as I adeptly siphoned it to my small ceramic honey pot, purchased long ago in the Conrans in the Michelin House. My marvelous British publisher was once housed there, along with the housewares. I remarked on the store as my publisher and I passed it; “no one actually shops there,” he confided. “The prices are prohibitive.” Naturally, I did not tell him I had parted with however many pounds for a round green cup-sized jar with a perky lid which most likely could be found in an American Crate and Barrel or World Market.
I dug in to get that last remaining honey coasting the bottom, when the jar loudly and neatly broke. So I pondered. Did it signify good luck or bad luck? Does the fact my novel to- be- published- in- three months has the word “honey” in it significant or not? Can I read that I was too greedy, too distracted, too invested for the book to succeed? Had I forever altered its course?
Today, I received a lovely tweet, by the wonderful artist, Chris Silas Neal, who did the cover art for my novel, As Sweet As Honey. He included some great hand-lettered drafts as well on his blog.
Shattered glass? Good luck, I think. Out with the old, etcetera.
Today I went to look at the ocean and snap iPod photos. Later I spoke to most of my family who seem well, though waiting for power. To look at the devastation that this Hurricane has wrought is humbling; to see places I’ve lived covered in water is sobering. Virginia and Ohio are sending workers to NJ to help restore power. NJ is helping NY. In six days, we have an election.
Meanwhile, the ocean, sand and gulls today were cold and clear in the sun.