Blog Post #3 9.9.15
A glim light shines from a cabin doorway tucked behind a darkened dirt road. Surrounding the cabin is shrubbery and autumnally color forest wall. A crisp, damp air is incased with sounds being produced by the night’s wilderness. As you move up the dark path toward the cabin, camp fire lightens the side yard cleared for the purpose of lawn chairs and a solid oak picnic table. A camp fire is focal point to a visionary’s dream as the night takes over. On the table there is a half empty bottle of Gentleman’s Jack, a coffee flask with an inviting October aroma of pumpkin spice, and cookies bought from the local corner store. Small glasses line the table with cities names printed on them. Getting warm by the drinks and fire, five friends sit with the orange glow highlighting their faces. We approach the scene with a thriving, opinionated conversation already taking place. Joan Didion is next to Jack Kerouac having a heated discussion about an article they are sharing The Daily Writing Routines of Great Writers (Maria Popova). Anne Lamott is watching the dialog unfold while pulling out topic points from her own article Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life (Anne Lamott) waiting for the right moment to jump in. While Courtney and Ray sit quietly across the fire, observing the commotion with a copy of Zen in the Art of Writing (Ray Bradbury).
Courtney: That is why all of us great minds have come together. We need to figure out a concrete art of writing for the magazine article.
Ray: My passions drive to the typewriter every day of my life, and they have driven me there since I was twelve.
Anne: The right words and sentences just do not come pouring out like ticker tape most of the time. I know some very great writers, writers you love who write beautifully and have made a great deal of money, and not one of them sits down routinely feeling wildly enthusiastic and confident.
Joan takes a long sip of the whiskey she filled into her coffee mug.
Joan: Also, the drink helps. It removes me from the pages.
Jack has had enough quietness. The others have now had their moment to speak.
Jack: My superstition? Another “ritual” as you call it, is to pray to Jesus to preserve my sanity and my energy so I can help my family.
Ray: In quickness is the truth. Make it your own. I began to make lists. Long lines of nouns caused my better stuff to surface.
Courtney: So lists, prayers, whiskey? None of this seems to be getting us any closer to what can work for the average Joe writer.
Anne: Shitty first drafts. All good writers write them.
Laughter erupts from around the campfire as they all realize the truth in this statement.
Jack: I had a ritual once of lighting a candle and writing by it’s light and blowing it out when I was done for the night.
Joan: I need an hour alone before dinner, with a drink, to go over what I’ve done that day.
As the night grows longer the moon begins to rise and the stars impede on the conversation. Whiskey starts to move the conversation from writers to friends.
Courtney: I see we are getting nowhere else with this tonight. I sure am glad the Times offered to pay for the cabin for a whole week to allow us to brainstorm.
Laughter again erupts as heads tilt towards the night’s sky, all artists taking in the true beauty of nature. The scene closes out by heading backwards down that dark, dirt road.