This post comes from poet extraordinaire Jacqueline Suskin…
I like to start each year off with fire. No matter where I am in the world, in middle of the desert under millions of stars, or on my back porch in LA, on December 31st I always build a fire. I feel it’s important to usher in the New Year with ritual, to sit and stare into the flames as I think about the year past and set intentions for the year to come. While soaking up the warmth, I always finish up a journal I’ve been writing in, close the final chapter with some words of understanding, and put down on paper the visions I have for my future. Sometimes friends join me, sometimes I sit alone for hours enjoying solitude and reflection, but always there is a celebratory fire.
This year I’ve been gearing up for a monumental shift in discipline, and I’m using the mark of the New Year to set it in action. My plan is to be much more dedicated to a daily writing practice. My work with Poem Store has me creating poems on my typewriter constantly, but this is very public and performative work, and I want to focus on writing more books this year. With two published works under my belt, I know how long it takes to craft a volume of verse. So I’ve made some promises to myself. I will set aside hours each day, a good chunk of uninterrupted time, at my writing studio where I can have a private creative practice. This practice in itself will be a daily ritual, a routine that I’m devoted to, somewhat like my yearly custom of a New Year’s Eve fire.
Tradition is what keeps culture rich, it’s what helps us connect to each other’s stories and deepen our self-awareness. I find that when I commit to any type of cyclical practice, be it lighting a candle every morning, making a cup of tea to drink while I watch the sunrise, traveling to Joshua Tree every winter, or doing yoga a few times a week, I feel better about everything. It’s funny that I’m such a spontaneous person full of wanderlust, always ready to hit the road, and still I understand the power of rhythm. This year I aim to heighten that wisdom, dedicate myself to becoming the kind of writer that I know I can be. Beyond my work of creating spontaneous poetry, is the craft of sitting down and showing up each day to the labor of book making that I love. I look forward to this experimental regimen and I cannot wait to see what comes of it.
+ What rituals will you bring to 2016?