Somewhere, in a trash heap, there are notebooks full of little stories, poems, and songs I wrote. Not to show to anyone; just for the sake of writing. Unfortunately, I threw the notebooks away. Probably out of the fear that someone would find and read them. That was when I thought writing meant getting it done right on the first try. If I wrote something that wasn’t very good on the first pass–which I still often do–I’d throw it out and be upset that I wasn’t better.

I don’t long for the days before I had a clue about the writing process. But I do miss my old routine. Now I sit on the couch and write with a little music on. However, when I was a dopey early teenager (not that early teenagers are inherently dopey, I’m just speaking for myself) I had a routine that I always went to. I heard The Doors song “Soul Kitchen” the other day and I immediately had a teenage flashback.

It was of me in my bedroom. Lights off. Candles burning. Incense flowing. A CD of The Doors playing as loud as my parents would allow. I used to draw pictures of the songs. Then I’d write a story that went along with the picture. Maybe write some shitty, angst-y poem about whatever I was hung up on at the time. I’d write until I’d get into that meditative state that writers fall into when they’re really jammin. Then, when I was all done, I’d read over what I wrote. About 99% of the time I’d cringe and throw it away. Immediately. But I kept coming back for the feeling of it.

I wish I knew then to keep what I wrote and keep building on it. It still probably wouldn’t be up to my standards, but maybe I would’ve written my first novel at 23 instead of 36. And if a frog had wings it wouldn’t bump its ass when it hopped. Ha!

Oh well. I wouldn’t change anything anyway. And one of these days, I’m gonna break out some Nag Champa, put The Doors on, and write by candlelight. Hell ya.

-CT

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