" I still encourage anyone who feels at all compelled to write to do so. I just try to warn people who hope to get published that publication is not all that it is cracked up to be. But writing is. Writing has so much to give, so much to teach, so many surprises. That thing you had to force yourself to do -- the actual act of writing -- turns out to be the best part. It's like discovering that while you thought you needed the tea ceremony for the caffeine, what you really needed was the tea ceremony..."
- Ray Bradbury
I'm in the middle of #12 in the writing of short stories that I prefer calling 'medicine stories.' For reasons I could only call personal medicine I began to write fiction that brought characters and place together to make sense of the nonsense that is my life. The title of this post "The Tea Ceremony" is the title of #12's installment -- the bit that is remedy -- in the story Nine is for endings.
The characters in this story began as four-year old girls when Pine Needle Dancers wanted out at Halloween, this Halloween just past. True events and mythic characters living out fictional parallels gave me somewhere to take the long needles that fell to the forest floor. Real needles. Real forest floor.
Through the year now closing, or so it seems to close according to my calendar-driven meters, I collect thoughts, ideas, dialogue, and rewound memories. The artistry of noticing and noting patterns make their way through my system of sort-and-keep. One name for this system is the Immune System. For many years, I have renamed and retraced the way I respond to 'assault' and find more or less successful methods to handle the process. The sidebar of this blog lists many of those methods, as I use them, recycle them, and reuse them with time.
This morning as the lowered temperatures of late November and the presence of crunching leaves underfoot slowed my innards down I felt the Sad Road widen. Tears of grief open the edges of that road. Too bad. So sad. Walking down the road only made me sadder. My friend and road walker friend gone. I was out and about, but I was not writing things down and that has proven to be not such a good habit. If I can write, I do.
The quote above from Ray Bradbury was one of my rewards for noticing I was widening that Sad Road. Such stories have come from that place, but. But, to be reminded that its the ceremony not the caffeine that I'm after was just enough to feed me the next part of Nine is for endings. I have washed the dishes, enjoying the hot water baths that clean the bowls, silverware and pancake batter from the whisk. I have looked up to see that Tall Pine who inspires me to love kinks and wobbles in living.
A smell of wild rice simmering replaces Wild Forest Black Tea.
If you are compelled to write, or paint, or sing I hope you will. There is a girl now twenty-two who learned about the tea ceremony at age four. She is here if you care to meet her.