Following on from my last blog post…
I recently returned from one of my crit group’s writing retreats where I realized I have another writing ritual which I perform only while on retreat. I recorded it in my journal the second morning we were there:
I open my bedroom door slowly, quietly so as not to wake my sleeping friends in the other rooms. It’s only 4:30am and some were up late writing last night.
Stepping out on the dorm’s paved apron, I’m greeted by a swathe of stars overhead and moonlight shimmering on the ocean before me.
Like a lover, the sea breathed softly in my ear through the night but now seems restless. I can hear it tossing and churning, see flickers of white where it kisses the rocks.
Flashlight in hand I tip-toe past the other bedrooms, across a stretch of short-cropped lawn damp with dew, and on to the kitchen door.
I turn on no lights as I move inside. There’s something sacred in the pre-dawn stillness and I seek to disturb it as little as possible.
In the hall I creep to my desk, light the candles and the small reading lamp. My writing chair sits before the huge dark window, draped in a thick polar fleece quilt. I settle into it, pull the quilt around me, take up my journal and begin to write.
Outside the wind picks up, hissing through surrounding scrub. I hear the rain coming from far away and soon it’s pattering over the roof.
A moth flutters against the window, drawn by my light. He and I, the only two awake.
These hours until the sun comes up are my favorite time of any day. But here on retreat they are part of a ritual I’ve slowly evolved to honor writing, the craft I love.