On Writing and Ritual

This morning the blues were running into shore again, hundreds of thousands of silvery fry swam in unison to escape the feeding frenzy, growing swirls of terns cried out in ecstatic approval as the desperate columns of fry rose to the surface. Individual fry break for the sky, betraying their unspoken vow of safety in numbers only to prove the point as they’re plucked from the air by the terns hovering for just such a moment. Removed from this frenetic dance of life and death by my place on shore and the couple of notches up the food chain humans are offered, I contemplate the cooler, autumn-like air and the changes to come in the next few weeks.

“When we take our time and focus in depth, when we trust that going through a process of months or years will bring us mastery, we work with the grain of this marvelous instrument that developed over millions of years. We move infallibly to higher and higher levels of intelligence. We practice and make things with skill. We learn to think for ourselves. We become capable of handling complex situations without being overwhelmed. In following this path we become Homo magister, man or woman the Master. – Robert Greene, Mastery

I’m a long way from mastery in writing, but I enjoy the pursuit. The daily ritual of observation, contemplation and expression offers me the opportunity to improve my skill set, and perhaps live up to the declaration made by Mr. Harding in that high school English class when he handed back our papers, looked at me and announced to all that would hear, “You will be a writer someday”. 35 years of active avoidance later, I’m finally getting around to it. Or more accurately, putting it out there. Robert Greene writes of focus in depth, and I sense that in the ritual. It bears fruit in productivity, and is its own reward in transformation. Shame that I waited, but I’m writing now and will do so every day that I’m given.

“If you wait for inspiration to write you’re not a writer, you’re a waiter.” – Dan Poynter

“I like myself better when I’m writing regularly.” – Willie Nelson

The sunrise was lovely this morning, but not spectacular. No clouds in the sky, just a brightening orange sky and an eruption of flame as the sun rose up once again. Cape Cod offers a different perspective than New Hampshire, there’s nothing shocking in that statement but the obviousness of it. The last week was a change of scenery as I save vacation time for big travel to come. So the mornings offered me the state change that the rest of the day couldn’t. Even in this there’s nothing new, save for the ritual that documents it. Daily writing offers the opportunity to discover the spectacular. Like the sunrise often it doesn’t reach that level but it can still be pretty good, and I’m better for having done it.

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