I would say that I am a writer of rituals. If things aren’t the way they are supposed to be, I have a difficult time sitting at my desk and just launching into creative uncertainty. First, I always work best on Saturdays and even better in the morning. I don’t like to have plans less than a few hours out from the time I sit down because it causes me an unnecessary distraction to think about everything I need to do before I leave. I like to have classical music on in the background, but very quietly. I also like to have a giant black coffee. Sometimes I’ll smoke cigarettes on the weekend (a routine I’m trying to ditch after ten years of full time smoking) but I am somehow very contemplative when I have some nicotine coursing through my veins, er, lungs. I actually don’t know where the nicotine goes but at least some of it goes to my head.
This being said, I will have an off day when I mentally peel away layer after layer of junk and all I can think of is “She sat alone,” mainly because it’s what I’d be doing. “She sat alone, smoking, looking contemplative.”
I have taken to an old habit I had of writing ideas down whenever and wherever I am. This is particularly effective with poetry, because you only need a thought, an image, or a word or two to really get the ball rolling. I wish I was more interested in saving all of these ideas on my phone, or in a drawer at least, but they usually end up on beverage napkins that I throw away after a few months of being crinkled and torn in the bottom of my purse. The solution for maintaining these nuggets is very intelligent and unique: I got a notepad. Just a little flip book, like the kind reporters used to carry around in the forties.
My idea book, which I started last week, includes a few words I had to look up in the dictionary while reading “Love in the Time of Cholera” and associations I made with the word “beauty.” I hope my idea book becomes the newest addition to my Saturday morning rituals.