There is no place like home
I don’t have any specific requirements or rituals to observe in order to write. I don’t require total silence to write. I have actually written entire sections of my book sitting in hotel lobbies, on boats, and trains. It doesn’t bother me if the MP3 player is blasting Van Morrison or Handel's Messiah, or even if the television is droning on. I can write in the morning, in the mid afternoon, but since I live a dual life, most of my writing occurs at night. I don’t need to eat or drink, or do the Mamba, make the sign of the cross, offer my first-born, or even light a candle and chant OMs to my Yogi, to write. As far as writing rituals go, I am virtually ritual-less. I confess to preferring a keyboard, spell check, and access to the internet for spontaneous fact checking, but I can write anywhere on anything, EXCEPT, when I am home for the holidays.
Breathe deeply I told myself as my mother opened the door. My pulse raced. My blood ricocheted off the inner walls of my veins. The heart I slave to preserve at the gym is showing classic symptoms of Arrhythmia. The minute my barely five foot mother opens the front door I start twitching. In one hand, she is holding a serving spoon piled high with some new concoction she has made in anticipation of our arrival, while in the other hand she holds a Waterford highball glass filled with Johnny Walker Black Label. She welcomes us by giving us her cheek and says, "Try this, I just made it," before thrusting the spoon towards my mouth. I hear the familiar sound of music pulsating through the Bose speakers and elevated volume of television in the den as I walk through the front door. There is a second TV competing for the same air space coming from somewhere down the hall.
Mom is alone since Dad journeyed north to read poetry to the angels. You wouldn’t know that given the deafening volumes of the electronics. Mom is fond of three things, Johnny Walker, noise, and cooking. Sometimes Johnny is second to cooking, but not by much. Of course, my mother is going to threaten to sue me—as she normally does when I make fun of her in my posts—as soon as she reads this. She looks upon our visits as a reason to try out new recipes and turn the volume on her gadgets to ear piercing levels. Thus, I spent all of last week eating my meals from a spoon, sampling her inventions and wearing cotton plugs in my ears. By Thanksgiving, I was rotund and considered consulting a specialist about a gastric bypass and a hearing aid. Nearly mad (as in crazy, borderline insane, fragile even) from not writing and having to lie flat on the bed to zip up my jeans, I contemplate purchasing polyester pants with an elastic waistband to accommodate my new shape-round, and checking into Motel 6.
Now fat, and nearly bonkers from not writing, I still have to deal with my sister’s mangy mutts that look better in a photo than up close and personal. Yorkie terriers are all about focusing your attention on them. They will stop at nothing—even defacing your personal property or nipping at your toes—to obtain it. Where you sit, they sit. If you don’t look at them, they will sit on you. If this doesn’t work, the mutts will walk up and down your body—assumes you are in seated position or asleep— followed by wet pooch licks, chomping on your hair, biting your toes and ear lobes. If physical abuse does not procure the attention they desperately need they resort to petty theft. They go after personal objects, such as underwear, bras, MAC make up brushes, a computer mouse, the pair of reading glasses on your nose. The mangy mutts are not discriminating. They figure if they have something of yours in their teeth and run around the house a light speed you’re going to chase them. They’ve won. No writing is possible under this sort of duress.
While I don’t have rituals, I do need to write (maybe that is my ritual, the actual act of writing). When I don’t, my head clogs with the words desperate to get out. It feels a lot like a sinus headache. In my desperation to relieve the pressure in my head and lift the weight off my chest, I resorted to hiding in bathroom. My laptop and I fit snugly in the empty bathtub. I managed to write an entire page before the dogs found me. Right behind them was my mother with a slice of Banana Bread and her amber filled glass. Later, my sister walked in and sat on the toilet seat to chat. In her defense, she came bearing gifts, a glass of hearty Merlot and a box of Ex-Lax. She suggested I consider writing a fam-moir. The jeans I sweated bullets to slip over my Latin thighs are choking off the air to my brain and the third glass of earthy Merlot she is holding in her hand looked more like Nirvana and less like another 120 calories. It went down without effort. As for the dogs….. well, one day I will have them stuffed or maybe offer them up to a hawk. (For sure my sister is going to sue me now).
Do you have any rituals and/or what stops you from getting he words out?