Are you as a writer superstitious? Do you believe in lucky charms that will help you write? Do you have a ring, or bracelet or a scarf, or hat, or a dress that you think if you wear you would be lucky? Perhaps a habit that you start your day with, like a coffee or mocha with your favorite donut from Tim Horton’s or a latte from Starbucks?
Many writers have built up a ritual to start them off on each day’s writing task. Hemingway sharpened twenty pencils; Willa Cather read a passage from the Bible to get in touch with fine prose. Thornton Wilder took long walks. Thomas Wolfe would sometimes roam through the streets of Brooklyn all night. I have read somewhere that an author, an agnostic, often got down on his knees and started the working day with prayers. While others conceived totally different notions:
“I will not tolerate the presence of yellow roses, which is sad because they’re my favorite flower. I can’t allow three cigarette butts in the same ashtray. Won’t travel on a plane with two nuns. Won’t begin or end anything on a Friday. It’s endless, the things I can’t and won’t. But I derive some curious comfort from these primitive concepts.” Truman Capote
I like to start my writing by filling my fountain pen with ink. I begin by jotting down my points and ideas on my notepad. By the time I am at my computer hitting the keys, words and sentences flow on my page. If on the other hand I hit the keyboard first, it takes a while for my ideas and sentences to run. It does not matter what type of pad or paper I use, though I prefer white blank paper with no lines. If my paper is lined, I find myself writing in the empty space between the lines. And oh I am so glad I am not in school anymore so no one can insult me for doing that or tell me off for using an ink color other than blue or black. My preferred color is black but unlike Rudyard Kipling:
“For my ink I demanded the blackest, and had I been in my Father’s house, as once I was, would have kept an ink-boy to grind me Indian-ink. All ‘blue-blacks’ were an abomination to my Daemon. … My writing blocks were built for me to an unchanged pattern of large, off white, blue sheets, of which I was most wasteful.”
I like to use ‘blue-black’ too. I like to experiment with different colors, sometimes mix blue with red, or green or burgundy depending on my ‘mood’. Lately I haven’t been doing that much. I have run out of the supplies that I had shipped with me from Dubai five years ago. And even though Bureau En Gros (Staples) is within walking distance from my house it lacks the abundance and affordability of the shops in Dubai. Or maybe the devil has left my inkstand.
“The Devil himself always seems to get into my inkstand, and I can only exorcise him by pensful at a time.” Nathaniel Hawthorne