6 Essentials for a Writer’s Perfect Weekend:
Now with MORE Dancing Dragons!

This weekend I, inadvertently but unmistakably, stumbled upon the six essentials for a Writer’s Perfect Weekend. I swear, it was like having a dragon fall out of the sky and land on me.


It was exactly the way the Climactic epiphany of all great fiction is meant to be:

  • completely surprising

    One minute I was just sitting there reading a book I was loving more and more every page.

  • utterly, impossibly inevitable

    The next minute I was wondering how I could never have seen this before, how I could have been on this planet for half-a-century already and never known. . .

And I’m going to share those six essentials with you.

That’s how much I love you guys.

  1. Carlos Santana playing Samba Par Ti

    So first click right now on Santana playing his classic, heartbreaking Samba Par Ti (Samba for You, Love) so you can listen to it while you read the rest of this.

    I promise it will make sense.

  2. Dancing dragons

    Because the dragons are dancing to Santana.

    I bought those dragons seven years ago at our local garden store—I know, weird, I guess they’d thought about importing woodcarvings, but they didn’t sell, so my beautiful dragons sat on a shelf accumulating dust until they went on sale half-price.

    And then I came along.


    I bought the big dragon. It’s just too beautiful, carved all of one single piece of starwood. Every scale is hand-carved, every tooth, every delicate, curling whisker. All of a piece.

    I went home, mightily trying to resist its little matching pal.

    But I went back the next day and bought that one too.

    And now, after seven years, I just yesterday discovered the song they’ve been dancing to all along.

  3. Homemade chili verde in homemade flour tortillas

    Fortunately, of all the things the deer demolished in our garden this summer, the volunteer tomatillos were not among them. So as I was staring in amazement at the dragons showing me what they’d been dancing to all along, my husband made homemade chili verde from the tomatillos and homemade flour tortillas, and we ate them with sour cream and. . .

  4. Homebrewed beer

    Because my husband has also gotten into brewing his own beer this summer, and the stuff he bottled a few weeks ago is really—I’m telling you—amazing. As our son likes to say, “Everything tastes better when it’s homemade.”

    I want to name this new beer Dragons Samba Par Ti.

  5. File 113 by Emile Gaboriau

    And. . .and. In the middle of the dragons dancing to classic Santana and the most extraordinary homemade lunch you can possibly imagine, I was also reading the final act of one of the seminal detective novels of the Western mystery genre, File 113 by the brilliant Emile Gaboriau.

    I was in a state of near-hysteria, because the dragons were dancing so gorgeously, and the chili verde and beer were so good, but I couldn’t stop reading because Gaboriau—it turned out—had anticipated my every guess about his novel and was in the middle of devastating me with his lush, gothic expertise with the written word.

    And these are my antique hardbacks! That I bought as a set, published in 1900! I couldn’t get chili verde and beer on them!

    But I couldn’t stop doing any of the things I was doing even long enough to decide between them.

  6. President Obama

    So instead I took just a moment to calm myself with a reminder that, on top of it all, our wonderful POTUS is still leading the electoral college by miles, just as he has been for weeks throughout the debates. . .while the neo-cons’ talking-head clings by his fingernails to the slipping edge of all those expensive TV ads with which the neo-cons hope to buy the American country right out from under its people.

    But they won’t buy our country.

    Because they can’t.

    Because Americans aren’t stupid.

    We may not be perfect, but we know our Constitution is based upon “truths” our founders took to be “self-evident,” among them “the Right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

    So when the neo-cons’ talking-head tells the top 1% of the wealthy of this country—when he thinks he’s in secret, behind closed doors—that 47% of Americans are lazy, irresponsible bums who feel “entitled [his emphasis] to food, housing, and healthcare” (all covered under just our first Constitutional Right: “Life”), that this means “these 47% pay no income taxes. Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income taxes”. . .an impossible, bare-faced, shameless lie, only because these 47% (“48%, 49%,” he says suddenly, throwing numbers wildly because he knows they’re meaningless) are that half the entire popular vote who can be absolutely counted on to vote for our President Obama, not even including the swing voters (most of whom are registered Republican voters, whose last GOP President was such a blatant neo-con that he taught them to hate him). . .

    We know perfectly well that Obama can count on that incredible amount of support because in only four short years he has:

    • turned around the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression

    • brought our loved ones in danger home to their families, after nine years of war instigated by that President so infamous even Republican voters hate him (the majority of those troops from Republican families)

    • funded the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) with an extra $1.4 billion (you read that right: an extra $1.4 billion) for the care of our returning troops, which funding was slashed within an inch of its life by the previous Republican President (whom, you may have already noticed, taught even Republican voters to hate him)

    • helped expand the VA by another $2.7 billion (you read that right again: expanded by $2.7 billion) for mental health professionals for the care of our returning troops who have faced such horrors on our behalf

    • did a whole bunch of other stuff for our troops and their families, which has been meticulously cited on his blog by Milt Shook, including the below

    • saved Detroit (the mostly blue-collar jobs of mostly Republican voters)

    • signed the most significant women’s rights bill we’ve ever had since the neo-con puppet talking-head Phyllis Schafley shot down our Equal Rights Amendment when I was a teenage girl (leaving me to spend my life working just as hard as my male counterparts without fair or equal pay)

    • along with a whole host of other unbelievable accomplishments

      Even against the worst obstructionism in Congress ever seen in my life—

      Practiced across-the-board by neo-con talking-heads against our President for the sole purpose of being able to claim, now in 2012, that the President hasn’t accomplished enough

    We get it.

    The neo-cons are talking behind our backs to rich people about us—Democrats and Republicans and Independents, liberals and conservatives, all alike—about buying our country right out from under us for a few measly millions by using their television-ad dollars to make fools of us.

So we read and write our brilliant literature, we eat our fabulous meals cooked homemade by the hands of those who love us, we educate ourselves on what’s happening to our country, and we get our heinies in gear. . .

and go Vote.

For our inalienable Rights.

All around us the dragons are dancing—both the infamous and the fabulous, the demonic and the magnificent. They always have been, and they always will.

And while the dragons dance to the beauty of what we have, and what we are, and what we are right this moment claiming as our own. . .our hearts break with sheer poignant gratitude for it all.

Get our of your seats right now, people. Step into the maelstrom of your life.

Go dance with the dragons.


[I KNOW: I finally turned off comments because of the spam. Thank you for all your comments over the years! You’re such a joy to write for. If you like this post, please feel free to click StumbleUpon and/or Facebook and/or Twitter.]