Wednesday, June 23, 2021

spells and word witchery


My morning poems for the last few weeks have been in the form of spells--or maybe not really spells, but they feel that way (and are titled as such--"spell for married men" "spell for the lonely" .  Maybe more like exorcisms than spells, bits that need to get out on the page. (I was inspired a bit by this essay)  While I left most of my wiccan interests firmly in the 90's, and consider myself a slightly pagan-leaning agnostic, I have always loved the idea of word-witchery.  The power language has to change real things in the real world.  To create alternative worlds.  While I was never one for ritual, writing is it's own kind of ritual and summoning, which is why writers get really particular about writing routines and processes (and the pens they use as specific as any candle or crystal used by practitioners.)  And in truth, even outside the word, I've been fortunate to be able to harness my writing skills for actual good in my day job pursuits. (and this is not even counting how much writing helps me--while I've never been on board with sharing my deepest darkests, with a therapist, I will totally share them with the page and complete Writing is often a way of processing and understanding for me (actually usually prose more than verse, which feels more raw, with much less artifice.) Which is, I suppose, it's own kind of magic-weilding.  Also, it's own kind of meditation. 

Even my morning writing routine is it's own sort of ritual.  Most mornings I get up and shower, putting the coffee on while I get dressed and popping whatever I am having for breakfast in the microwave (usually breakfast bowls or croissant sandwiches, unless it's a day at home when I'll cook some bacon & scrambled eggs or an omelette.) As soon as I sit down at my desk and laptop, I just start writing, at a point when my head isn't cluttered by other things. I'm still a blank slate. Sometimes, i'll reread the segment I wrote the day before, though sometimes not even that.  There will be time for editing and revising when most of the project is finished, so now, I am still in the early stages. Much will eventually be cast out or recombined with other things. I don't usually write on weekends, so how long it takes to get a draft depends on how much is good, how much is trash.  A chapbook length series can take a couple months, depending on the finished length. Some things are fast (the bird artist was fairly swift and helped along by the latter half of  NAPOWRIMO. The first half of April's pursuits was the Walter Potter pieces, which are a short series of only 10 poems.)

When I'm done writing, I'll tend to other things like responding to e-mails or posting to socials for promo purposes, but I  occasionally share teasers on Twitter of what I'm working on. And then I go on to start my non-writing days (usually filled with library work and press work and other kinds of real-life nonsense like commuting and errands) at least with the knowledge that I have written and tended at least a little to the thing that is most important to me. And so it's a little like religion. It centers me, and before, when I wasn't writing regularly, I always felt like I was off kilter. Always pulled in a million directions except the one I most badly wanted to go. At the end of the day, even if I am treading water and tasks and frustrated by my productivity, I know I've done the most important thing for the day in the grand scheme of things, which is enough.  

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