Unless, of course, seedmoon asks me.
So, a list of five things that soothe me when I'm stressed out. Following the examples of the various friends who've responded to this meme over the past two months, I've excluded the obvious, near universal items (friends, reading, sex, etc.). Now you get to see how obsessive I am.
1. Writing. Preferably fiction these days, but any kind will do in a pinch. Yes, even comments in the margins of student papers, though that's about the lowest in my hierarchy of writing comforts. Maybe it's graphomania. Maybe not.
2. Going to Beltresa. The world of the novel doesn't rival this world for daily vividness anymore, the way it did early in the process of writing the first draft, but it's still real enough that I can just go there. If you see me looking vagued out in the grocery checkout line, just figure I've gone to Beltresa.
3. Breathing. I breathe with intent, until it becomes possible to do (1) or (2). Then, see above.
4. Drinking Pretentious Froufrou Mocha Beverages from Starbucks. Pure self-medication. The body responds more quickly to caffeine's analgesic qualities than it does to any other kind of painkiller, so hooray for espresso. For many practical purposes, chocolate might as well be serotonin. Besides, if it's still possible to get a froufrou mocha beverage from Starbucks, the world can't have destabilized completely. (Yes, they do have to be from Starbucks, or instead of soothing my stress, I'm thinking, "This mocha's way too sweet. I can't taste anything but sugar. What's the point?" And then I've compounded my big stress by adding a smaller one.) Once I'm at a Starbucks, I'm free to sit down and breathe, depart for Beltresa, and, when I've half-returned, write, without the burdens of solitude, housecleaning impulses, or undue interruption.
5. Prayer. Of course, in my case, prayer is as likely to involve hiking or setting things on fire as it is to involve words addressed to deity.
Already, I'm stressed out about having given half an hour to a meme. Starbucks is closed, and FSG sated my appetite for the sacred. So. Breathe. Travel. Write.