Skip to main content

Why do you do those things you do.....

Writers are strange creatures... we know this, we are this, we don't mind this---- I actually think writers have the only socially acceptable form of mental disorder. I mean, who else can get away with having multiple personalities and murderous intent.... if the FBI ever researched our browser histories, we'd all be on the watch list (though, who's to say we aren't already).

And, because we are such strange creatures, there are a few traits, er... habits, some of us have picked up along the way. Even famous writers still cling to rituals that run the gamut from the eyebrow-quirking unusual to the absolutely bizarre.

Like Capote, who only wrote while lying down and smoking/drinking. Or, Nabokov, who wrote his novels on small index cards that he kept paper-clipped together. Then there's Cheever who purportedly wrote in his underwear. And, lastly, there's Eliot, who would, occasionally, only respond to "Captain" while sitting with his face tinted green, looking for all intents and purposes, like a cadaver.

I'll admit, I don't have any habits as weird or as eccentric as some of these writers, but, perhaps I should? If hopping around, clucking like a chicken while I churn out prose could get me published, I'd cluck all day, everyday.

No, nothing remotely that strange here.

I'm a midnight writer, having written some of my best pieces at 2 am. I suffer from chronic insomnia (a trait inherited and conditioned) but, over the years, I've come to relish my sleepless nights... at least, if they're productive sleepless nights.

Apparently I need quiet, when I'm working--- no, that isn't quite right--- I need solitude. And, it's more than just closing the door to my cave, er... office. In the wee hours of the night, the world is asleep--- there's no threat of phone calls, no unexpected knocking at the door, the neighbors and husband are silent and out of sight--- the world has shut down and I am ALONE. There's nothing. There's no one. Just me and my strange head-characters. I even step outside sometimes, just to take in a deep breath of solitude and marvel at how beautiful the world can be when it shuts its mouth. This is the time, at least for me, when I invoke my muse--- for Humphrey is photo-sensitive and camera-shy. He doesn't like blinding lights or obnoxious noises, they give him a migraine and make him cranky.

So, spill, what's your deepest, darkest writing ritual/secret? What gets your juices flowing and your muse cooperating?

Whether you prefer writing in longhand with a red pencil or feel compelled to recite Homer's Invocation of the Muses before you begin---whatever your habit---let it be the reason you begin, and so in beginning, let it be the reason you finish. Because, isn't that the whole reason for the writing and the ritual in the first place? The finishing?

"Make the tale live for us
in all its many bearings,
O, muse."


  1. I'd cluck to if it earned me a buck. Sorry, that was bad! I thought I was weird when I have to have certain music to write certain styles: Goth, Zydeco, Pink Floyd, Jim Brickman, George Strait. I don't try to understand ritual. I just go with it.
    May the Fourth be with you...always.

    1. And also with you!

      Yeah, I don't ritual is ever meant to be understood--- just undertaken. I think muses are just fickle enough that if you tried to determine the reasons for things, they'd just away....forever, and we can't have that, can we? :-)


Post a Comment

Share your thoughts!

Popular posts from this blog

Y is for Yeth Hound.....

Yeth Hound--- one of the incarnations of the "Black Dog" myth, this one located specifically, in Devon, England.

"Black Dogs" appear in myths across the world, most are associated with death and bad omens... i.e. Hell Hounds.

The Yeth Hound is said to be the spirit of an unbaptised child that takes the form of a headless black dog. The Hound wanders the woods at night making pitiful wailing sounds (though, I'm unclear as to how it makes wailing sounds without having a head).

The Black Dogs were possibly one inspiration from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's ghost dog in The Hound of the Baskervilles-- "an enormous coal-black hound, but not such a hound as mortal eyes have ever seen."

Heed Not, the Lonesome Cry
Heed not, the lonesome cry, the baleful wail echoing through the woods. Seek not, the black hound's sigh, look not where the headless creature stood.
One sound, your limbs will shake, your heart filled with the deepest dread. One glimpse, your sou…

B is for Banshee.....

Irish bean sidhe and Scottish Gaelic bean sith, literally, woman of fairyland.

The mythology and legend surrounding the Banshee is a bit mixed. The most readily accepted story is of a hag-like creature wailing the impending death of someone nearby-- most ancient Gaelic families, especially the more well-to-do families, had their own Banshees that attached themselves to the lineage of the family name. I suppose it was a sign of station for a family to be able to claim their own Banshee--- I mean, who needs an exciting/ tongue-wagging-inciting skeleton in your cupboard when you've got a Banshee wailing in your rafters?
The origins of the more familiar Banshee may have stemmed from the ancient Keeners-- women who were employed to sing a lament at a funeral. The best Keeners were in high demand to "wail" and "weep" for the great personage who had fallen.

The Great families would boast a bean sidhe or bean sith-- a fairy-woman Keener--and having foresight, the Keene…

S is for Siren.....

Sirens--- the beautiful, the terrifying.
Vicious, but, seemingly opportunistic creatures who lured sailors to their deaths by the sound of their captivating songs. Whether the stories of these creatures were a result of surviving sailors attempting to explain their near-miss in an effort to divert the fault of their shipwreck from their hands, or whether as a warning for those leaving to ensure their fidelity to the women they left behind, is unclear...

Considered the daughters of Achelous(river god), and though they have been blamed for the death of many sailors, they were not, however, sea deities. They have sometimes been called Muses of the lower world, their sad song causing the body and soul of those sailors who hear them to fall into a fatal lethargy.

In early myths, Sirens were the combined form of birds and women. Sometimes with a large female head, their bodies covered in bird feathers, their feet...scaled. Later myths show them as female figures with the legs of birds, tho…