Pajamas, pot and pie: our practitioners on creative rituals

Richmond-based poet Sarah Kobrinsky will be part of our Point Richmond pop-up on June 12th. She’s invited friends and fellow writers John Oliver Simon and Stacy Carlson to join her in facilitating an Open Classroom on the life span of creative rituals.  We think you’ll want to be part of the conversation – if you don’t believe us, just see what they said when we asked the trio to tell us a bit about their own current creative rituals:

“I write best first thing, anywhere between 5:30am & 7am. On an ideal day, I get up before my family, make coffee, light a candle, and set to work. Yes, in my pajamas. Coffee is a major part of my ritual. I boil water in an old battered kettle on an old Wedgewood stove, then pour it over fresh grounds into my cafetiere. I listen to music on my headphones so as not to wake said family. My go-to is The Brandenburg Concertos. It is a fail-proof way to get me going – mentally, creatively. And I work until my five year old wakes up, comes down the stairs, and blows out the candle. I write entirely by hand, and I am very attached to my notebooks.” -Sarah Kobrinsky, Poet (Point Richmond)

Sarah Kobrinsky writes in her pajamas

Sarah Kobrinsky writes in her pajamas

“I’m a morning person, so this process starts between 6 and 8 am. I generally eat a small sliver of medically prescribed marijuana, fill my tall mug with coyotes howling at the moon with strong coffee, and walk out to my bench in the garden which I have been tending for 40 years. I contemplate the plants: tomatoes, onions, garlic, basil, kale, lettuce, collards, chard, and the herbs, echinacea, tarragon, comfrey, valerian, skullcap, feverfew, all-heal…always something that needs to be done in the garden, but now I’m looking for a poem. Or the poem is looking for me. I may do some breathing meditation. When an 11-syllable line comes through, I write it in my blue notebook, currently the 276th in a format going back four decades. The poem might start anywhere, be about anything (I’m not sure poems are ‘about’ anything). Once it begins, it will follow its own course. I write an unrhymeschemed hendecasyllabic sonnet. I’ve written hundreds of these. I read it aloud, make some changes. Each time it changes I say it aloud again. When this draft is finished, I go inside and type a second draft of the previous day’s poem on the old Sears typewriter I have on long-term loan from Sarah Kobrinsky. Then I go to the computer and type a third draft of the previous day’s second draft. I usually find some good energy remaining either for translation from the Spanish or working on a manuscript or sending poems out… it’s a whole cottage industry.” – John Oliver Simon, Poet (Berkeley)

John Oliver Simon practicing Grandpa's syllables

John Oliver Simon practicing Grandpa's syllables

“As a novelist, I create rituals that serve as portals into the deepwoods of my imagination – there lies the source material for my fictional worlds. Over the years my rituals have taken many forms, from Jungian dream work to book making, collage, and seance-type communions….and I've drawn from various traditions, including body awareness and shamanic practices, poetic mindfulness, vipassana meditation, and free writing. Over the years I've eliminated my need for ‘inspiration’ in order to write, but I rely on my arsenal of tiny rituals as tools of my craft.” – Stacy Carlson, Novelist (Oakland)

Stacy Carlson on a pie break

Stacy Carlson on a pie break