Friday, March 14, 2014

What's Your Writing Ritual? A Mask Poem about Procrastination

Howdy Campers and Happy Poetry Friday!

Thanks for hosting it today at Rogue Anthropologist, Kara!

We've been talking about writing rituals.  In her post, Carmela wrote:
"I didn't know that JoAnn likes to start her day writing in longhand before turning on her computer. Or that Jill tries to exercise first thing, even before breakfast. (Now that's what I call discipline!) Or that Laura, our newest TeachingAuthor, works best when she writes in short, intense bursts. But I was especially surprised to learn that none of them practice what they consider to be true writing rituals."

I'm not sure I have a ritual per se.

Before exercise class, I meditate for 30 minutes.  Part of my ritual as I settle down to meditate is to open an invisible book and ask to be a channel as a writer.

Perhaps my ritual is Doing Everything But Write First (which can be incredibly productive or incredibly fattening.)   

I actually call it Circling the Chair Time:

      by April Halprin Wayland
            Ancient dog
            circled in the grass
            round and round
            to tamp it down

            I am dog
            circling, too
            round and round
            as all dogs do
            round my homework,
            round my desk
            finally, working
            then I rest.
           published in Cricket Magazine       

 poem and drawing (c) 2014 April Halprin Wayland all rights reserved
The above poem is a mask poem--written from the point of view of something that doesn't speak.

What's your ritual? Monkey wants to know.

P.S: MUCH more on this later, but we are proud to announce that several TeachingAuthors have poems in the newest edition of Janet Wong and Sylvia Vardell's amazing Poetry Friday Anthology series...this one is the Poetry Friday Anthology for Science-grades K-5--wooo wooo!

You can get all grade levels, K-5 in one magnificent book...
...or individual books available by grade level...check them out!

posted by April Halprin Wayland with help from Monkey and Eli.


laurasalas said...

Circling the Chair Time--love that! I almost never procrastinate on assts with a deadline--I like to be ahead of schedule. But when I finally--finally--get to sit down for my tiny bit of my own writing, it is amazing how many things will pop into my head that I need to "just quick take care of" first...Oi.

Love your dog poem, esp that beat that lets me hear/feel that circling.

Buffy Silverman said...

You've described my writing ritual to a tee:
"Perhaps my ritual is Doing Everything But Write First"
Love the image of procrastination as circling in the grass--and I'm glad your procrastination led to a great poem!

jama said...

Hey, you stole my writing ritual too! I'm a professional circler :). *waves to Monkey*

Joy said...

Enjoyed PROCRASTINATION, and the idea of circling. Thanks for sharing with us.

Diane Mayr said...

Interesting that your group doesn't have any "true writing rituals." Maybe the ritual thing is more of a mythical thing!

April Halprin Wayland said...

Laura, I always meet deadlines, but I clean the closet first...I think procrastination produces a quickening of the heart, a sense of panic and a laser FOCUS, which is what I am often sorely lacking...

Buffy and Jama--we could call ourselves Sisters of the Circling Chairs ~

Glad you liked the poem, Joy--thanks for stopping by.

Diane--I think it depends how you define ritual. There are prayers I say in meditation hours before I begin working that are related to writing...

Linda B said...

I just received my anthology today, happy to see so many Poetry Friday people included-wonderful poems. I love the circling the chair. I sit right down, but I guess I circle by going to FB first, then reading some of my feeds, Poetry Foundation, etc. Finally, I get going. I like your poem, April.

Margaret Simon said...

I like to think of it as incubation time, but it looks a lot like circling the chair.

Bridget Magee said...

I circle everything I do, too, April! I love the dog analogy - I knew my pooch and I were kindred spirits on multiple levels! = )

Anonymous said...

I love the metaphor! "I am dog circling, too" Sometimes it takes me a while to get started, but eventually, everything gets done.