Revisiting The Four-Fifteen

“Sea & Land, Land & Sky” by Amy Tavern

I’ve written about The Four-Fifteen before but in writing about it again, now, I’m remind myself that balance is always important…even on the road. My dear friend and talented metalsmith Amy Tavern first introduced me to this, and she’s on adventures of her own right now in Iceland. In short, this ritual involves four, fifteen-minute sections of time. When combined into an hour, they’re like a warm-up drill for writing (or any creative medium). When I’m on the road for long periods of time, this little ritual helps me get centered again and almost, almost, feel as though I’m working from home, my bags are unpacked, and I’m caught up on all my basic tasks. The idea is to not only touch in with my creative self, but also to calm my busy, travel-self down and just accept that even though many things are on hold right now due to the book tour, I can still get my most basic tasks done and I can do so with a smile.

For those who don’t have a full hour to do The Four-Fifteen, try modifying the ritual into four, ten-minute long sections. Even
four, seven-minute long sections for a total of 28 minutes would ease any weary, overworked, overstimulated, uninspired, or uncertain soul. It’s a fantastic practice that I’ve found to be essential–and it doesn’t require any special tools. Chances are, wherever you’re sitting, you have within reach at least something you can write on, some book you can thumb through, and some direction you can turn for a calming, beautiful, or bland/un-distracting view.

For my part, I’ve got 6 more days and 3 more events, then I head home. I’m looking forward to reconnecting with my sweetie when I get back, settling back into the Airstream, and hitting the trails to catch whatever’s left of Appalachian fall when I get back. Of course, Gus the Superdog awaits dutifully. Meantime, if you’re in the Midwest, please consider seeing one of my events at Carroll University in Waukesha, WI this Thursday or Lake Forest Books in Lake Forest, IL this Friday. (Wednesday night is at Columbia College of Chicago but that’s a private visit to a classroom of fiction writers.) I’m in the home stretch!

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