Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Benefits of Ritual Sacrifice

--Adrienne Miller
I’m an egg breaker. 

I found out this out a couple years ago at a RWA meeting. Eric Maisel was giving a presentation, and he said something along the lines of, “Start every writing day with a ritual”. Ok. Fair enough. But then he broke out the big gun.
“Every morning break an egg.” 
That’s it. Break it. Open it up and let the insides pour out. 
People gasped. No, really. They did.
“Can you save it and use it later?” somebody asked.
The answer, “No.”
My mind spun. Of course, you couldn’t use it later. You’d already used it, given it up as a sacrifice. You can’t make a Denver omelet out of a freely given sacrifice. If that was your plan all along, then your heart wasn’t in the ritual. So why bother cracking them early?
I was thinking this was one of the most brilliant pieces of writing advice I’d ever heard. So, imagine my surprise when I turned to my friends and saw their horrified expressions. 
They explained their reticence. 
I can’t just waste eggs. 
I would feel guilty. 
The whole idea just creeps me out.
Valid reasons, all of them. But me, I couldn’t wait to crack open some eggs. 

The next morning I got up before my husband and my boys. I pulled back that hinged cardboard cover. I imagined what I wanted to write that day. And then I broke that bad boy open.
And it worked for me. I wrote like crazy cakes that day. I kept at it, and it kept working. 
Obviously, I’m a ritualistic person, and I get why the daily sacrifice works it’s magic on me. Sacrifice isn’t a good thing or a bad thing. It’s just another word for the price that has to be paid to receive what you want. Sacrifice isn’t selfish or selfless. It just is. 
There’s no guarantee it work, or, even more frightening, that what you think you want is what you really want. When I was younger, I sacrificed my energy, time and even money, trying to coax a little more attention out of boys that weren’t worth mine. Now days, I give those things to my family, and in return I get the opportunity to love an incomprehensibly beautiful love.

As for my little egg cracking ritual, it’s a daily meditation of what writing means to me and what it’s worth. And that’s what works for me. 


Rachael Herron said...

Okay, I *HEART* Maisel, but you just explained it to me in a way I can really understand. I'd heard him say that twice, but I get THIS. Letting it all go, pour out, SACRIFICING. It makes sense.

(Do you still really do that?? OH THE EGGS!)

Pamela Cayne said...

I am *so* printing this out (several times, in fact) and posting it all over my house, my car, and especially my computer. Thanks for an awesome post!

Sophie Littlefield said...

i had no idea you (or he) did this - but I have to say, that's one of the weirdest but coolest ideas yet! wow.

Juliet Blackwell said...

Yay to sacrifice! I think it can be an incredibly powerful ritual for those, as you say, who are "so inclined." I've seen it used by many -- obviously it's huge in witchcraft circles. So go on with your bad egg-breaking self!

L.G.C. Smith said...

I love this post! Though I can't bear the thought of sacrificing the $6 a dozen organic free range eggs sitting in my refrigerator (don't judge me, people -- my sister is an organic farmer and it comes with the territory).

Anonymous said...

WOW!!!!!! AMAZING how powerful just imagining that is. I'm going to try it tomorrow morning!!!!

Pens Fatales rocks (and I guess there's at least one RWA con in my future!!!)

Mario Acevedo said...

I tried this egg-breaking ritual this morning. Said a short affirmation and crushed the egg in my hand. The insides didn't pour out but splattered all over the sink, my shirt, and I got yolk in my eye. Didn't feel too magical.

Unknown said...

i remember hearing this in his talk and loving the *idea* of it, but the practical me couldn't get over wasting the egg :)

i'm so glad it works for you!!

Tom Neely said...

Ahhhh... so now I know what to buy when you write "Daily Sacrifice" on the shopping list. Thanks for the clarification.

Adrienne Bell said...

Rachael -- I remember that was the RWA meeting where I met you. You said that Maisel had really helped you take your writing seriously and I thought, "well, if it worked for her." :-)

Pamela - Why, thank you **blush**

Sophie & Julie - I think it's pretty cool and powerful. But also on the weird side of things, so I don't bring it up in daily conversation.

Adrienne Bell said...

Lynn & Lisa- Martha gave a similar reason to me once. Like I said, totally valid. We all do what works.

Mysti - Thank you. :-)

Mario - I think you're confusing cracking into an egg with drive-by egging your own house. That's ok, happens to everybody one time or another ;-)

Kristin Miller said...

Awesome. Call me crazy but I think I'm gonna try that tomorrow. I, too, am a creature of habit...must be a non-related-Miller thing. I'll let you know how it goes when I see you Saturady!

Oh, and HardBoiledMysti (one of the people who commented), has a wicked sense of humor. Hard Boiled--Ha! :)

chandra said...

Is it cheating if I scramble it with a little cheese?

Adrienne Bell said...

Chandra, only if you don't invite me over for breakfast ;-)

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