Daily Ritual

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This morning I woke up at 9:01 to my alarm blaring. I rolled over onto my stomach, slammed my face into the pillow and screamed as loud as I could. After that I got up to use the bathroom, shadow box for thirty seconds, listen to a podcast, eat a bowl of cereal, and make a cup of tea. At 10:00 I sat down at my desk with the tea and a bottle of water. Next – and this is very important – I started chomping on a piece of Extra Polar Ice. Now I’m ready to write. I usually go strong till about 1:00 when I eat lunch. After lunch I write again till 4:00, take another break, usually a walk around the block, and then I go at it again until 6:00. I’m in bed by 11:00 to do it again the next day.

This is my ritual. This is what I do every day to get the most out my writing. Most of the time I don’t scream and sometimes I don’t punch the air, but I needed that little something extra this morning. I didn’t think of it as a ‘ritual’ until my mom sent me Daily Rituals: How Artists Work – great book with a pretty self-explanatory title. Some of my favorite writers’, composers’, and psychoanalysts’ daily rituals are put on display in this book. Stephen King, Joseph Heller, George Orwell, Goethe, Tesla, Chopin, and Freud just to name a few. Each of these amazingly talented and influential artists had specific, and most of the time, simple rituals to get their work done. Hemingway (I find this unbelievable) woke every morning, no later than 6:00 AM. Beethoven counted exactly sixty beans per cup of morning coffee. Gertrude Stein had to be looking at just the right cow in order to capture fifteen minutes of inspiration.

Reading this book has shown me how important rituals are to artists. These people worked every day in almost exactly the same way in order to allow their creative juices to flow at full speed. I’ve shown you my ritual, now you show me yours. That sounded dirty… What do you do every day in the same way? It doesn’t have to relate to writing, painting, or anything artsy. When I was little I would come home from school to sit on the floor with a bowl of Cheez-Its and watch Arthur.

How fun is it to read ‘Arthur’ and ‘ritual’ in the same blog?

“Only the ‘Hitlers of the world’ work at night; no honest artist does.” – W. H. Auden

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Paper or Plastic?

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I’m checked out, have been for a while now.

I received news from a friend yesterday that he and his wife were separating. These are two people I’ve known for years and love dearly. It’s easy to figure out what a “separation” is. I don’t have any stats to back it up, but I’m willing to bet that most separations don’t lead to a healthier marriage. Chances are that they’re going to get a divorce. I knew this and was devastated. It felt like someone punched a hole in my gut to reach up and grab the heart just to squeeze some life out of it. But in all the sadness I realized something: this might sound selfish, but I realized that I haven’t felt that much emotion in a really, really long time. It was like hearing a lyric from a shitty country song – “I just wanna feel soooomethin’!”

For the past half-year I’ve been in exile. Most of that time has been spent writing a novel which I’m super proud of. I love to write – I can’t think of a better way to spend time – but I’ve come to find out that I’ve isolated myself from nearly everything else I love. It hit me this morning that I haven’t seen a single friend since OCTOBER. I’ve been living in a fantasy world. Almost every emotion I’ve felt has come from a group of characters created in my own mind, now trapped in a word document on my laptop. Every problem I experienced was under my control. I could hit one button and go back a whole page or chapter if I didn’t like how it turned out. This book has been a barrier separating me from a world of real problems, I realize that now. I also realize that it’s cut me off from a world of real adventure and excitement.

Giving up writing this book isn’t an option for me so I need to fix myself. I hope that expressing this publicly will hold me accountable to take action on getting back to being a socially functioning human being; to get out more, to see friends, meet people, spend more time looking for a job, and actually live. Having found out I’m a hermit that refuses to deal with his problems disgusts me. What’s more repulsive is that I’ve used my imagination and love of writing as a crutch. I’m my own enabler.

Have I created my own world apart from the one that I used to love? I’ve been depressed before and consciously sought isolation. This isn’t anything like that. I feel content, but could I have fabricated that emotion for myself like I’ve done for my characters? Have any of you experienced this in your own creative ventures or seen it in someone close to you? It doesn’t seem like a healthy behavior, but is it normal to separate yourself like that?

Or should I put my faith in these words by Goethe: “A creation of importance can only be produced when its author isolates himself, it is a child of solitude.” He’s knows what he’s talking about, right?

First ever blog post!

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First and foremost I would like introduce myself. My name is Dylan Dayhaw. I’m from Pepperidge Farm, North Dakota, and I grow my own Cabbage Patch Dolls. None of that is true, except my name. I did have a Cabbage Patch doll as a child, but I bought him from a store like the rest of my vegetables.

That might have been the thing I hated most about college – every instructor in every 101 class saying, “Okay, introduce yourself, tell us where you’re from, and give us a fun fact!” I always wanted to say something outrageous like, “I collect rat skulls!” with a huge smile on my face. I never could. I had class with a friend once who told everyone he could breathe through his belly button. It was funny until the professor asked for a demonstration.

Honestly though, I’m from West Virginia. That state that was admitted to the Union in 1863 after it broke away from Virginia. I can’t tell you how many people, when I tell them where I’m from have said, “Oh, I love Virginia!” That’s nice.

I recently graduated from West Virginia University with a B.A. in Criminology that I don’t know if I’ll ever use. I now live with my grandmother and I don’t have a job. This might just make a great dating profile. Long story short, I was dealt a very unfortunate hand. EXCUSE ALERT: I’m stuck in a town of less than 2,000 people with no vehicle and very little prospects for a job. Hopefully my next post will be about finding a job! Wouldn’t that be great? I think so.

One of my purposes for writing this blog – the main purpose – is to put myself out there as a writer. I’ve been writing a book since October that I’m really proud of and will definitely post about in the future. What I would like to do with this blog is post at least once a week with a short story or other piece of writing. It could be fiction, could be non-fiction. A poem or micro story. It could be a personal thought – a comedic take what’s going on in my life, a review of some sort, or just something I’d wish to share with others. Whatever I post I hope you find some enjoyment in it!

I welcome constructive criticism. If I make grammer or spelling mistakes; let me know!

I’m a big fan of quotes so I’d like to finish every post with a quip or inspiring proverb.

“Try not! Do, or do not. There is no try.” – Jedi Master Yoda