Monday, December 03, 2007

Creative Rituals

by Brenda Roger

For the past year, I’ve done almost nothing with my handbag venture. I was in need of a break from many aspects of being a one-girl-band. I’m trying to determine if there is anything I miss about making and selling handbags.

One of the most satisfying things –other than being paid –was lining up a group of fifty or sixty bags on the dining room table and attaching the tags and prices. It was so gratifying to see the fabrics formed into interesting, clean shapes. Seeing it all together just reaffirms that I’ve worked really hard. Hard work feels good. The line up and tag process was my end-of-handbag-production-binge ritual.

This past week, I finished a major volunteer project and I wanted to celebrate, but I really didn’t have a ritual for that. I couldn’t think of a fitting way to reward myself, so I spent and evening watching the Perry Mason movies from the 1930s. (Much to my horror, Perry marries Della Street in one of them, but that is a blog for another day.)

I’ve been thinking about various artistic pursuits and the creative rituals that are likely to follow the completion of a project. When I was a kid I saw the movie Romancing the Stone, starring Kathleen Turner and that old guy who’s married to Catherine Zeta Jones. Kathleen Turner plays a writer, and when she finishes her manuscript she has a glass of champagne, and if I recall correctly, she throws the glass into the fireplace. I remember thinking that seemed so glamorous, and I lived vicariously through her sense of satisfaction from a job well done.

I intend to interview every creative person who I encounter for the next few months to find out about his or her creative rituals. I will report back, but in the meantime, what are your creative rituals? What do you do when you finish a manuscript or story? Or, if there are any cops reading our blog today, what do you do when you wrap up a case?

Oh, and I know that it was Michael Douglas. I just like to call him that.


Tory said...

Interesting question, Brenda. When I am in a work group, and we finish a project, I always suggest a party or some other celebration of a task completed. When I used to write grants, the day after the grant deadline I went on vacation. Then I'd bring back the secretary, etc. "suck up" gifts masquerading as travel souvenirs.

I'm realizing that I don't have those sort of rituals when the task is all by myself: e.g. finishing a manuscript. But the going on vacation after might not be a bad idea for the future!

Joyce said...

I didn't do anything special when I finished my last manuscript, other than pat myself on the back. After that, I had to catch up on everything I'd let slide while I was trying to get the book finished.

Annette said...

Saddly, I'm with Joyce. When I finish a manuscript, I "celebrate" by cleaning the house and catching up on the piles of paperwork until I can once again see my desk.

Champagne sounds sooo much better.

And as for Michael Douglas, I'd be willing to slide down a muddy mountainside with him anyday! Watch who you're calling OLD! ;-)

Kristine said...

Interesting question, Brenda. I don't think I have any celebratory rituals, except maybe indulging in some chocolate and taking a nap. I think it's a great idea to celebrate those milestones, though.

Gina said...

Well, I always take a trip to the Office Depot, to replace the printer cartridge that runs out in the middle of printing the completed manuscript.