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Michael Leong: On Ritual

Michael Leong: On Ritual

“Before sitting down to write, I methodically lay out my instruments as a good dentist always does before a nervous patient. Side by side, I place:  a toilet scrubber, a left-handed Allen wrench (my muse stubbornly insists on the term ‘zeta key’), a ridiculously sharp record needle, and a small collection of novelty pencil tops in good to excellent condition. I religiously avoid dairy products. I always make sure to polish my periscope. Sometimes, I prepare an elaborate hand of solitaire for somebody else, an honored guest who — nevertheless — never comes. I gargle a shot of bootleg holy water and throw everything off of my desk in a fit of demonic possession. I rip up the storyboards. I reverse engineer illegible alphabets. I practice a range of awkward bird calls that were specifically designed for the Cretaceous period. In my mind, I choose ideas as if I were skeet shooting at zero gravity. And when it seems the appropriate time (which depends upon the wind’s flavor, the inclination of the moon’s invisible sun), I release into polluted waters a fleet of a thousand black rice-paper submarines. They descend slowly, fueled as they are by their own inky dissolution.”


On Ritual at Big Other

Is it true, dear writer? Do people in all walks of life find that “starting off with a simple, ordered routine establishes a mindset which helps get any job done”? Questia claims it’s so (August 2009). I remain on a mission to prove or debunk the notion.

Help me. Jot down your writing ritual (or not). We’ll discover–and let readers know, finally and forever–if rituals really do pay off.

  • 300 word limit.
  • Rolling deadline.
  • Recommend others.
  • Reply with a pic of you–in your workspace or in outer space.
  • Replies, questions or comments: stacymus@gmail.com

Previously ritualized: Nicolle ElizabethGabriel Orgrease

*Some responses may be eligible for posting at American Short Fiction blog, where I began the On Ritual series.

12 thoughts on “Michael Leong: On Ritual

  1. Very happy to see Transfigurations in this author photo–I am (might as well make a complete sentence, complete with wonky syntax). I love Jay Wright! Sadly, all the pages in my copy of Transfigurations came unglued and split into their own “chapbooks.”

    1. Yes–Jay Wright is amazing. Thanks for the comment, Adam. It reminds me that I need to catch up with him and read Disorientations: Groundings…

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