Monday, March 22, 2010

Life gets in the way. Superstition to the rescue?

(Yeah, I know it's not Thanksgiving, but hey, this was too cute an illustration of supersition to pass up! Thanks to Paula Becker for the hilarious picture!)

I intended to write this weekend. I had a hot date with my hero, who was finally talking to me (because, most likely, I was talking to him). Life, however, had different plans.

My daughter's first-ever, oldest gold fish died.

I am not kidding. This is not a riff off the-dog-ate-my-homework excuse. My daughter was prostrate with grief, and every time I thought that things were going to be okay and that she was beginning to give herself permission to move on, bam! More fat tears rolled down The Kiddo's face.

So I had to give myself permission: permission that this weekend, family came first and hot dates with heroes would have to wait.

I feel guilty when I don't write, not to mention terrified, because a nagging doubt still dogs me: what if the words stop coming?

Ha! I've been creating stories out of whole cloth since way before junior high.

Still, we writers are as superstitious as any major league baseball player.

When I was writing the first draft of the novel that eventually became my first published novel, I wore the same shirt every night to ward off the cold (my cold intolerance is legendary). It was my sister's shirt, a fuzzy flannel one that she'd left by accident at my house during a vist.

I'd pull that sucker on atop the other many layers I wore, hunch down and let the words fly from my fingertips. No matter what subtle hints my sister sent my way, I wasn't relinquishing custody of that shirt.

Finally, when the subtle hints stopped being, well, so subtle, I had to confess. I laughed it off, knowing in my logical, rational brain that superstition is all bunk.

"But, hey, why rock the boat, huh? And it, uh, it keeps me warm!" I told her.

My sister cocked one eyebrow. "Yeah, and if I had it, it would keep ME warm."

I've heard other writers confess their funny little rituals. What's some of yours?

Eventually I did return the shirt, after, of course, the draft was complete. I did it in an amazingly short time. Hmmmh. Now, I'm wondering if maybe I should go pilfer through my sister's closet ...