I’ve decided to build a writer’s altar – perhaps because I am at a crossroads in my writing life. Whatever the reason, the call to build an altar has been floating around in my head lately, and I’ve decided it’s time to build one – a first step towards re-creating my writing space.
As a Catholic, I know about altars. I’ve created altars in my room in various places, with numerous symbolic objects. My altars changed as my spiritual life changed. Finally, when my spirit calmed down (after many years), the altar settled in a space up above a big cabinet in my bedroom. It is sparse compared to all the altars that I’ve built-in my lifetime – a crucifix made of capiz shell with a simple filigree design in the middle, a small capiz angel, a silver candle snuffer and a two-sided picture frame with the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe on one side, and my own personal spiritual symbol on the other side.
Why build a writer’s altar? Andy Couturier in, Writing Open the Mind, Tapping the Subconscious to Free the Writing and the Writer, says that an altar “is an antenna to the mysterious force fields of resonances that swirl about your trudging, dreaming, pondering, lilting self. It’s a map of the psyche, in which you belong.”
Perhaps I need to build an altar because I need an antenna that will help me focus on the direction that my writing life should take – one that changed suddenly when, sometime ago I asked myself the question, “Why write?” After all, Couturier assures us that, “If you allow yourself to be changed, what you write from that changed place, will be too,” .
As I build my writer’s altar, I realize that a deep and profound change in me as writer is taking place – one that I have not experienced before. My writing life has so far been that of a journalist and a journal writer. Now I am learning how to be a blogger, and I have begun to allow the thought of being an author to dance around in my head.
But after defining my purpose in writing, I realized that my writing has deep spiritual roots. Another reason perhaps, why I have to build my altar, because, after all, altars are symbols of spirituality.
And so I embark on this small journey and I hope to take you along with me as I go about building my very first writer’ s altar. The first step is to decide on a place where to put it. I will give this some thought, because I have two writing tables: One where I do my long-hand writing; and another where I work on my desk top computer. Come to think of it, that amounts to three if the portable table I use when I work on the laptop is included.
And so, the altar building journey begins….