I don't share my Sundays with anyone else if I can help it. I like to use it to shed the skin I've grown over the past week and stand naked, ready to be painted all the colors of a new week to come. This has become a ritual for me, and like in many faiths observed by busy white Americans, it's a ritual I don't observe nearly as much as I should. "Should" doesn't come from guilt, either. It comes from knowing what's good from me, but veering away from that good because of the pressures of the rest of the profane week.
It is a day of rest of sorts. I run errands in the early afternoon, if there are any to be run, but once I am home again, shorts and a soft t-shirt serve as my ceremonial robes. My phone is silenced, my laptop put to sleep, and my car naps at the foot of the house. My bedroom becomes my temple. Stage right of my bed contains a cart, the shelves of which contain the writings of others to inspire me: books of poetry, printed scripts of feature-length films, the letters of authors to each other. But any writer's books tend to spill out across their spaces, so books tend to congregate in other parts of my room as well, under lamps, on my bedside table, above a bureau. Crossing my holy temple to reach for a book of 1970s photography, for example, feels like a ritual dance.
Atop my wheeled cart sits my Moroccan tea tray, and this is almost as important a toolbox as a pencil case to a fine artist for me. A blue porcelain teapot and matching cups wait, and my general tea of choice is white peach. A gourd has been hollowed and burned with images of turtles. It was shipped to me from Peru by way of the UK, and I fill it with raw sugar. A pink porcelain heart serves as a bed for my spoon, and a crackled aqua cauldron is my tiny altar. The resin incense I sprinkle atop heated charcoal inside smells like "happiness & joy" if the Indian label is to be believed. To me it smells like a cedar forest. The cart spins with measured ease across my rug so that I may pivot to pour a fresh cup of tea or stoke the scent spirits with more resin.
If it is warm enough, I open each window. My television comes on, but only to stream the DJ Cheb i Sabbah "channel" on Pandora. Yes, I still use Pandora, however unfashionable. And yes, I do put on Indian music like the awful, wannabe-cultured white woman I am. But the beats keep my flow of thought constant and calm, and the instrumentation I find to be dynamic and yet unobtrusive. Any words sung tend to be in languages other than English, and so I don't have to heed them.
My bed becomes a drafting table, and spread across are my notebook, at least one book of poetry, and usually one book of images. I read and look at photographs or artwork until something enters my head, and then I do my best to pour it out onto my notebook paper as fast as I can. And when I pour, I pour every last drop of the thought until, like my teapot, it empties or goes cold. In the space of a few hours I may drink two to three pots of tea and write three to ten drafts of poems.
This is the most content I am capable of becoming. I become a good witch drafting incantations, a priestess receiving the divine word. I feel free to think anything, but not pressured to become other than what my natural state desires to manifest. Some people meditate. Some do yoga. Some get high. I write poetry, and this is a blessing since I manage to multitask even my most relaxing activity into being both therapeutic and productive.
I probably seem to take this all entirely too seriously, but after all, what is art if not reflection and examination? A painting of an apple asks you to truly contemplate and consider the apple. In a world culture where we can scroll past a thousand apples a day, art can be quickly drowned. Supply can dilute the nature of demand. Sometimes we just don't appreciate what we have. On the best Sundays, I strive to contemplate the infinite, one apple at a time.