The Skirts Up Writers get together every other Wednesday to write together and support one another in our writing and editing pursuits.
Lately we have been doing the following: each of us writes down a word or two on slips of paper. All the slips go into a hat, and are drawn out one at a time. We take 2-3 minutes to write, incorporating the words into our writing. It’s simple and works to jog our creativity.
Here’s my attempt from last week. It’s a little dark, but thoughtful. Enjoy!
She had many habits. She considered herself a collector of habits, some were good and some were bad. The good habits, like running, kept her going. The bad habits, like smoking, were just remnants of past days. There were also the little rituals that you could call habits as well: brushing her teeth starting from the same side of the mouth every time, or putting on her lotion in the same order every morning: upper then lower back, belly, breasts, right leg, left leg, left arm, right arm, hands, face.
Habits were what made her day happen. She began and ended her day with them. They were good in the morning: starting off with a cup of coffee and three pages of her journal. Two or more sun salutations, depending on how sore she was, and a little meditation. Towards evening, it all started to unravel, maybe because she had made so many decisions in her day, or maybe, like a new baby, she just had no self-control.
She really wanted to pull it all together. She wanted to make good decisions and encourage good habits: running, eating well, writing her fictions in the evening. But the beer called, and the porch awaited. There were books to read and stories to watch on TV. So much sloth to endulge in. So much avoidance to be done.
Is it really avoidance if you know you’re doing it? If it’s conscious and purposeful? Or at that point is it just procrastination? When we, as consenting adults, look at the beautiful things we could do with our lives and put our hands out toward them saying, “No. I’d rather fill this coffee cup with whiskey and ice and sit on the porch. I’d rather smoke this pack of cigarettes and watch the fireflies. I would rather surf Twitter and Facebook and some tabloid websites. I would rather consume this beautiful world, break it down and spit it out again, breathe it out of my black lungs with the tar of the cigarette smoke, than actually create something new and beautiful.”
So, once again, she opens the cupboard and pulls the white coffee cup down off the shelf. The one with the handle that’s cracked right where it joins at the top. She moves quietly to the freezer, even though she knows that pulling ice from the bin will make noise and alert him to her movements. She looks again at the box of girl scout cookies sitting in the freezer. What if she ate those instead? Would she feel better? Probably not, and it would interfere with the taste of the whiskey anyway. She closes the door, making sure that the old seal takes.
Pouring, she is less than careful, because the more it slops the less she can blame herself for the over-pour. It’s going to make her sick, this last drink of the night. She can already feel her stomach churning at the sugar, but she can also smell the burn in her nostrils, and that feels good.
Picking up her cigarettes, she walks by him. “You going outside?” He says. He tries to sound non-judgemental, but it’s hard to do that when you’ve made yourself so tough for so long.