Writing Rituals (or Restraints)

After I get home from work and before doing anything else, I go to the same chair at the dining table. I place my bag in the same spot next to the chair; laptop in the same spot on the table; then notebook on the righthand side; pen next to the notebook, and headphones to the left of the laptop.

After the setup, I then take care of whatever household things I have to do before writing; Whether it be cleaning or errands or whatever the case may be. I have to setup everything the same way, everyday to be in the zone. To make matters even worse, once I do sit down to write, I do so with my phone added to the left side — and on the right, a pile of Planter’s peanuts on a half-folded paper towel and a beverage. It’s a system — a ritual — that must be in place in order to accomplish that night’s task.

It’s also a load of crap.

How have I brainwashed myself into thinking that I need everything to be the same before I can accomplish anything? How have peanuts — PEANUTSbecome a necessity in a writing routine? (Now just because there isn’t any legitimacy to the issue, doesn’t mean I’m giving the peanuts up… I like them… especially when I’m writing.) The issue isn’t the peanuts though; the issue is the fact that if I run out of peanuts before writing, I will halt my work to go to the store and buy more. That’s ridiculous!

After reading an interview of South African writer, Vuyelwa Maluleke, I promised myself that I would break from the rituals. The interview was conducted by a Geosi Gyasi. This is was the altering part of the interview for me:

“Geosi Gyasi: When do you often write?

Vuyelwa Maluleke: At night, on my floor. But I’m trying to not fix conditions to my writing just so I don’t feel like that is the only time I can write. So the other day, I sat in a coffee shop, and wrote there, early in the morning and something came of it which was surprising and fruitful.”

No one wants to be mundane. However, working on a mundane routine could easily cause mundane results. It is so easy to sit in a familiar place where the distractions are low. You tell yourself that you will get so much more done that way. That may be true, but at what cost? Sometimes a different scenery is good for the imagination and creativity boost. If I sit in the same place surrounded by the same things every time, I could equate that with sitting in an all white room with no windows. Since everything is familiar, it all becomes invisible in a way. I don’t trust my imagination to produce its best thoughts in a room where everything looks the same, smells the same, and feels the same day in and day out; you have to change things up a bit.

Sneezing, laughing, yawning, things dropping, dessert and coffee smells, and uncomfortable temperatures — GEEZ! Take me back to my own dining room table with my peanuts!

I have to get past that though. I could take advantage of so much more time, because I’m not always in that spot. I’m not alone though. I’m not the only crazy writer, and I know I’m not the worst case either. At least I’ll admit it; the first step to recovery. I have to learn to tame my thoughts and focus on the task at hand. Now if I try writing outside of my, maybe three, familiar elements, I will end up with a bunch of notes, scribbles and random paragraphs — at best. I have to, can do and will do better in removing those imaginary restrictions. The liberation is a necessity, because no one wants to be mundane.

Before coming across the article in the Flipboard app, I had never heard of Gyasi or Maluleke. Since then I have followed Geosi Gyasi, who provides excellent interviews from writers around the world. They provide great and realistic insight to amateurs, that I feel would be extremely useful if taken to heart. Vuyelwa Maluleke writes very passionate and heartfelt stories and poetry that has a unique style that I have found very enjoyable. If you get the time, look into both of them; really good stuff.

And if you were wondering… I’m at the dining room table now… The next post will be written elsewhere though.

Complimenting Arts

I believe undoubtedly in the concept and ability of creation; the notion that humans can take nothing but a thought and manifest it into a beautiful physical something. The creative ability to do such things are usually summed up into the arts. The people who indulge in these arts or called artists. Artists are normally quite creative; and an individual’s creativity is rarely bound to the limits of one art.

Well, over the last weeks, I have gone on a binge to access what would I like to contribute to the arts through my writing. I started with the widest view that I could possibly start with, which was to look at all of the arts together — literary, performance and visual. What I quickly realized, is something that I already knew but did not have an explanation for.

“Sometimes you cannot completely express what you feel or see internally through just one art form; no matter how talented you are.”

Is this true? Maybe; maybe not. It is my perspective on it though. As always, I’m open to different opinions, so please provide feedback if you disagree.

So since is the way I feel about it, I set myself out on a mission to find another art form to practice to compliment my writing. Or if not to compliment, at least to give me another avenue of expression. Words do not resonate with everyone like they do with the people who read and write as hobbies. Even myself for example, I find it extremely difficult to express love for particular person in words. Even as poetry, I feel as though something has been lost in the written translation. I tried to explain this to a friend before:

Me: It’s easy for me to write about love in general; but I can’t do it when it’s about someone.

Friend: Maybe it’s because you don’t love them.

Me: Maybe you should hang yourself.

Some levels of intimacy have to be seen (my perspective). I am a very visual person. Sometimes when any emotion, not just love, reaches a high point, words can only scratch the surface of what is felt. With that being said, even though I cannot always get the words out in what seems to be in the correct order, I have an image in my head that seems to embody all that I feel. That is why I will be making an effort to extend some of my creativity to the visual arts. I have always had a love for paintings and drawing, but primarily from a viewing standpoint; not creating. It maybe long and difficult, but I believe the results will be rewarding.

Classical writer/painters include the popular e.e. cummings, Henry Miller, and William Blake. They all worked from both sides and did exceptional in each of the crafts. Even though they are known predominately for their writings, those paintings came from somewhere within them and reached people that there words might not have reached. Those painting provoked thoughts that the words would not have, and gave depth to what might have been shallow if only written. On the other hand, Pablo Picasso wrote poetry heavily after years of perfecting his painting styles, but to me, most of that which I read was just as confusing as his cubism. That is just my opinion though; I like early Picasso.

I will probably dabble in a bit of a few the arts though, including classic dance, sculpting and a return to spoken word. Considering I haven’t done spoken word successfully in seven years, is more intimidating than the uncharted arts. Either way, I conclude that in every creative mind there are multiple routes to get to the same point. In exploring what I do, I look forward to exploring how I do them.

Leave feedback. Tell me if there are hobbies/arts that you join together to express your ideas.