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June 5, 2016
Folks, a friend of mine killed someone last week.
Relax. A character. And said friend is a hell of a writer so I am sure the character died well.
This lead to some discussion of writerly ritual to honor this passing. I suggested a word by word rewrite the chapter, backwards, with a coin from her birth year beneath her tongue as a way of warding off a similar fate. I’m not superstitious, but wow do I love the idea of superstition (book number three will touch on this. And by touch, I mean wade up to its neck in it and maybe even drown).
Writing and ritual: I admire writers who treat their work with the organized-desk, scented candle, pitcher of distilled water with just a hint of lemon gravity it deserves. I’m not one. Even when I try to be (the three weeks when I got up at five AM for deep breaths and manuscript work last year were neither productive nor pretty) I mostly feel I’m pretending. There are advantages here. I don’t need to pass into the clean perfection of a set space. This means I can get away with things like knocking out 718 words at a PTA meeting while everyone assumes I’m taking scrupulous notes.
But it doesn’t have the itchy, goosbumpy zing of only writing before a south facing window, or whatever works for the writers that works for.
I have zing envy.
One of my favorite things when a friend is about to unleash a book is to read that book’s ISBN aloud to them in my sexiest voice. My kickass writing group has had multiple books out this past year, so I’ve been doing this often. Last week, it was Susan’s turn. Her Hot Season has a hot ISBN indeed (the double eights at the end have that rushed, lilting quality that’s so conductive to a breathy read). When I was done, we all decided to chant the number together. It started off goofy, but coalesced and became earnest. It felt important. I thought I hope we do this for all the books. I hope we do this for my next book.