Today is Thanksgiving and I am writing.
And sometimes I draw… poorly.
When I woke up this morning, I began preparing the turkey. We cook our turkey on the grill, mostly to keep the oven available for other food stuffs but also because we believe that it somehow adds something special to the process. I don’t know if it does, in fact I doubt it, but I do it anyway because that is the way we do things.
After I prepared the turkey, I went outside to start up the grill. It was cold. The sun was just peeking over the trees to the east. The big sycamore in my neighbor’s yard was soaking up all those yellow-orange rays of the sunrise, glowing in such a way that I felt I had to stop and breathe in the frosty air. The sky was unblemished, beautiful in its deep stillness. There was no one going about their business except for one man who was out whistling for his dog.
With the grill prepped to receive our glorious Champagne Turkey, I went back inside to start the coffee. In our house, the coffee is strong, far stronger than most people would care to drink. It’s the sort of brew that makes one take notice of the universe immediately, to see the infinite and the finite in a single glance and to realize that there is so much living to get one with.
Once the pot was finished brewing, I took the roasting pan out and put it on the grill. Again, I breathed in the frosty morning air and immediately I felt the urge to write.
This is a little surprising considering that I just finished writing my 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo and I am deep into the busiest time of the year in my working world. It would be fair to say that I am completely tapped, an empty vessel once filled to the brim with creative fire and now reduced to mere ashes. Yet, there is no denying that I felt completely rejuvenated. I felt empowered. I felt like an author of old, risen up from the very stones of the earth, capable of bending mountains to my will and causing the clouds to streak across the sky in tears at the beauty of my verse.
Like I said, that coffee is really strong.
Above, I said that sometimes we do things just because we do them… Writing is a lot like that. A writer might have a practice or a ritual that they perform before, during, or after writing, a practice they’re not quite sure about but they do it anyway because that is the way the writing is done. One of those practices, of course is the habit of writing itself.
The habit of writing is one that each writer must develop on their own. Some writers work at night, some in the morning. Some writers work standing up, others lying in bed.
I am more of a “traditional” writer in the sense that I prefer to work in the morning and I prefer to work at a desk. I also prefer to work in solitude, in a room of my own (as Virginia Woolf would say). At the moment though, I am writing at mid-morning in a coffeeshop.
I’ll take what I can get, even on Thanksgiving.
I write every day, regardless of the season or my location. Sometimes that writing is only a few words jotted down in haste between the covers of my journal, but strangely that does not often occur on a holiday. On a holiday, I feel myself at ease, having no commitments beyond whatever family obligations exist later in the day. On a holiday, I feel a sense of disconnection with the everyday world I inhabit, which in turn means a deeper connection with my personal world.
In the end, even though writers all come by their practice in unique ways, there is one constant above all: a writer must write. There is no escaping that truth, as silly as it may seem to put it into words.