I’m not a particularly superstitious person. I don’t care about the number 13, I like black cats, ladders don’t bother me. When I was a kid, I held my breath as we passed the graveyards, lest a wandering soul try to enter my body, but it’s been years since I did that. I have friends who are superstitious (my favorite is a friend — I won’t out her unless she wants to be outed — who throws salt over her shoulder if she spills salt. She did it when we were at a restaurant once, and I’ve loved the gesture ever since).
Recently, I did have one superstition — painting my toenails. See, I never paint my toenails. A few months ago, I bought this gorgeous cock-sucker red for my toes and, the night before a big art event in Seattle, I painted my toenails. That night, I hung out with my friends G&B and had a fab time. The next morning, however, I stepped off a single step and broke my ankle.
For three months, I was afraid to do anything with my toes. I couldn’t take off the old, now-ugly polish. And I certainly didn’t dare polish them again. Finally, I bought bright blue polish and psyched myself up. The day I was going to paint them, friends G&B called and said, “Let’s have dinner!” I said yes, but then I couldn’t paint my nails. Different color, yes. But hanging with the same friends on the same night as nail-painting? Oh, hell no. Two days later, I finally managed to turn my toes shimmery blue. So far, so good. I am continuing to be careful around steps though…
Thinking about it today (being Friday the 13th and all), I realized I’m not really a superstitious writer either. I don’t have any things that must or much not be done in order for me to pen a word or twenty. I do have rituals — walking to the coffee shop, for one — that help me get things done, but I don’t think those count.
My characters, however, are often superstitious. My current character does the same action every time she lies, in order to ward off the creatures that feed on lies and deceit. I’ve had characters who must touch the same things the same way before they enter a room (which makes me wonder: where does superstition cross the line with OCD?), I’ve had characters who have lucky pieces of jewelry, and I’ve had characters whose superstitions have taken over their lives (literally or otherwise).
I think superstitions are a fantastic way to show character, whether in real life or on the page. So I’m curious:
- Are you superstitious as a person?
- If you’re a writer/creative creature, do you have superstitions around the creative process?
- Do you give your characters superstitious tendencies?
Kiss kiss bang bang, s.