There’s this blog about the Daily Routines of writers and artists. Most of it is pretty boring. I will simplify what most writers–including me–do for you: They get up early in the morning, have coffee, and write until between noon and 3 p.m. Then they stop. (I don’t actually stop then because I need to earn a living, but I do switch from fiction to nonfiction around 1 p.m.)

Anyway, some writers are more interesting than that. My favorite was Gertrude Stein, who had the greatest. daily. routine. ever:

Miss Stein gets up every morning about ten and drinks some coffee, against her will. She’s always been nervous about becoming nervous and she thought coffee would make her nervous, but her doctor prescribed it. Miss Toklas, her companion, gets up at six and starts dusting and fussing around. Once she broke a fine piece of Venetian glass and cried. Miss Stein laughed and said “Hell, oh hell, hell, objects are made to be consumed like cakes, books, people.” Every morning Miss Toklas bathes and combs their French poodle, Basket, and brushes its teeth. It has its own toothbrush.

Miss Stein has an outsize bathtub that was especially made for her. A staircase had to be taken out to install it. After her bath she puts on a huge wool bathrobe and writes for a while, but she prefers to write outdoors, after she gets dressed. Especially in the Ain country, because there are rocks and cows there. Miss Stein likes to look at rocks and cows in the intervals of her writing. The two ladies drive around in their Ford till they come to a good spot. Then Miss Stein gets out and sits on a campstool with pencil and pad, and Miss Toklas fearlessly switches a cow into her line of vision. If the cow doesn’t seem to fit in with Miss Stein’s mood, the ladies get into the car and drive on to another cow. When the great lady has an inspiration, she writes quickly, for about fifteen minutes

A few weeks ago, Marcia and I ditched work and drove out to Bodega and took a random country road. At the top of the road, all these Welsh-looking calves came and blocked our path. There were about six or seven of them. They were very friendly and came up to the car to say hello. Marcia took a cellphone picture:

Perhaps I should go back there and try to write?

2 thoughts on “Cow as Muse?

  1. marcia

    Were you inspired after we saw those fearless, friendly cows? They were pretty cool.

  2. joy

    Yes! Inspired to pet them.

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