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  • Writer's pictureShana Ritter

A habit of words

I have written a poem a day for the last twenty-two days. I gave my word to do it and so I did. It is not about inspiration or finding more time. I developed a habit. It has to do with practice. It has nothing to do with good or bad. Nothing to do with how much I have to say, or whether I am doing something new, or working on something old.

It is a habit of words. A habit of lines. A habit of sitting with a page that is blank and filling it. The constancy of showing up. The immediacy of just doing what I said I would do; a poem a day for thirty days. This is what makes me a writer. This month.

Thinking about writing doesn’t do it. Only writing does. Only putting the words down on screen or paper. Not just wanting it. Only the act of doing the thing claims the name of what you are doing.

It’s very simple – if you want to be a painter you paint, if you want to be a chef you cook, if you want to be a childcare worker you go and take care of children. If you want to be a meditator you meditate – that’s why it’s called a practice. If you want to be a writer you write.

Here are two poems from this month – unrevised.

Aubade with Praise

I want to rise into the day in praise of every little miracle around me yellow forsythia breaking open flash of red winged song woodpecker’s echo drum each unfolding leaf my own working arms and legs.

Let me offer thanks for sight gratitude for touch even when I do not reach let me recognize the shape of your hand.

What I know About Astrophysics

I know the earth comes round again. The moon circles even as it stays turned away. There are more stars then we can ever count. The sun is very, very hot, exploding all the time. There is space, and then there is space. There are distances we cannot yet measure. Death is one of these.

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