Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Each day, around 3 p.m., I slip out of my pumps, loafers or sling backs, prop my feet on a stand beneath my desk and will the butter to begin flowing through my fingertips and onto the computer screen in front of me.
Being barefoot helps keep me grounded. It gets my creative juices flowing.
I realized all that today. All because, today, I chose fashion over function.
I'm wearing t-strap sandals. Very festive. Yet a little hard to slip out of and back into in a flash. I'm trying to write and I'm realizing that the words aren't coming because my toes can't feel the cool plastic of my footstool.
It's funny the things that advance the writing process. One of my friends slips on huge headphones and blasts music to match the mood of her story while she writes. The result is prose that reads almost lyrically (trust me, I've read it).
Another friend of mine swears he doesn't have any writing rituals, but admits he finds a quiet corner away from everyone or writes from home because he hates to compose around people. That, and he never sits in a chair.
The rituals do the same thing for the writer that wearing lucky socks or refusing to wash a jock strap after a winning streak has for an athlete: it puts you in a positive state of mind. Whether or not these things have anything to do with your performance are irrelevant. You believe they do, so they help.
And they change over time. My ritual used to be to fold my leg up onto my chair and munch on pretzels while I wrote. That doesn't work so much anymore, since I wear skirts most of the time.
To take a page from my pastor, it's a way of speaking things into existence. We think these things help. We believe they do. We say they do (or at least, say it to ourselves). And so they do. Sure, I know I could write without these things, but if they help, why not?
So, I guess I'll have to throw protocol to the wind. If you happen to come to my desk and see my naked feet, don't be alarmed.
I'm just doing my job.