Category Archives: Freewriting

More Messiness from the Membrane


The Prompt:

Room to Write page 9 is yet another freewriting activity, this time launching from the word “game.”  If you’re writing this by hand, you’re supposed to fill 3 pages before stopping.  The idea, once again, is to unleash whatever comes to mind without thinking about it–writing needs to be messy sometimes.  In the trash might be some treasure to incorporate into your writing projects, but if there isn’t, no need to feel guilty in just discarding it.  Goldberg likens it to the necessity of mixing clay before being able to mold it into a sculpture.  Okay, then, time to find what comes out of the ol’ grey matter tonight.

Response:

GAME game on you have a problem with this?  bring it bring it on sucka I am so sick and loathing of people who play these petty games don’t leave things be lose all sense of perspective and just lose themselves in nonsense the rotten recesses of their own minds and feeding nothing to those who need it most giving not but taking all and dumbly standing by to let others pass without lifting a finger to help in the endeavor and they watch and they jeer and they crumble in their own self-loathing they forget the rules they impose on themselves but hold others strictly accountable and whatever happened to the happy connotation of game child’s games they were fun once but it’s acceptable when children not adults playing at children’s games mild lost to tea and egg pie and muddle gunk and tomfoolery wizened but not wise enough they bore me tore me ripped me off and can now f*** off for all I care the consequences may be harsh but I can withstand I can withstand I speak boldly but pray I can can really hold up to this torment this swallow this this this junk that they may expose me to and I try to hold my head above the the cesspool not inhaling its chunky funk and drowning from it stabbing my brain with it it’s dead dead sinking fallen swollen hardened whitened flaking and saturated and wallowing on its own at the bottom but I will rise I must rise I must stay above and do so by not being so lofty the helium I pump into my ego my conceit my superiority my arrogance will not be what lifts me in the end but be the iron ball bearing in my waist coat pocket that pulls me down the gravity of the situation that levels where I ought to be and nothing more.  floating atop the refuse of others’ garbage and spew and not being able to lift from it for I contribute to it my face down in spongy stench and adrift with secretions of my own fallacy i drift  wade I stroke I preen I try to stay clean try to stay dry until I reach the island before me just a few strokes further yet with every splash comes another wave to send me back further from where I started the fish nibble at my toes and I catch my breath and try to inhale the purity calmness gaseous extremity that I can believe in the cool quake calmness of din and then I reach the apex of snow and glide and glisten along my way the sunny fresh extremes of hilltops glossed in icing and glint and free falling to a furry escape.

Reflection:

I don’t know if my onscreen attempt would have reached 3 pages or not, but what I do know is that my brain physically hurts now that I stopped.  I’m very tired, for one, but another reason is the simple fact that freewriting is like bench-pressing for your mind.  It’s a way to keep it bulked up and toned at the same time as setting it free.  This time I actually typed with my eyes closed, going back afterwards only to correct for spelling.  I found that visuals came to me more clearly that way, even if I couldn’t pause to think through how to describe them well enough.  I can’t say I can find anything to salvage from what I spewed above, but it was worth the attempt.  It’s all about “showing up on the page,” as Goldberg says.

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Lack of Memory

The Prompt:

Spinning off the previous prompt, Room to Write now challenges us to freewrite on what we DON’T remember.  This can consist of memories we’ve tried to recall or wish we ever had, or can be entirely sarcastic in the vein of, “I don’t remember asking you for your opinion.”  And because it is freewriting, we are to write continuously without pause. so it won’t necessarily make grammatical sense.  Before I get started, I’m going to make a quick run to the loo so I can concentrate, otherwise, I’m going to write a lot about not remembering my bladder ever hurting this badly or the last time I soiled myself.

Ahhh…that’s much better.  Okay, now I’m ready.

Response:

I DON’T REMEMBER the exact moment or day when I first met my husband, I just remember knowing at that precise instant in time that I wished I had met him before the boyfriend I was dating at the time.  I don’t remember ever being the first to say, “I love you,” because I don’t remember ever being one to willingly succumb to the mistakes most women make.  That said, I don’t remember why I let myself over-analyze those first relationships so much and not assert my opinions more.  I don’t remember when I first started doing so, finally, but I’m sure my husband sure does as my first real victim.  I don’t remember I don’t remember I don’t remember I don’t remember I don’t remember why I let myself go ahead and choose a college major that I wasn’t passionate about, and I don’t remember why why why why why why I let myself go forward with that career as long as I did.  I don’t remember when exactly I ever felt I had a clear grasp on my future and what I was meant to become.  I don’t remember so much about my grandmother, as she died when I was only five years old, and I don’t remember why, when she was alive, I was so shy any time she spoke to me.  I don’t remember why I was so afraid of Minnie Mouse when I was three and at Disneyland that I started bawling and made her cry, too, in turn.  I don’t remember much about my grandfathers, other than what my parents have told me about them, as I was not even alive when they still were.  I don’t remember having a close relationship with my longest living grandmother, who I knew until my adulthood, as I don’t remember ever knowing how to start a conversation with her and be genuinely interested in most things she had to say, at least, not until it was already starting to be too late.  I don’t remember why I didn’t make more of an effort to know my extended family better, other than perhaps because I felt close enough to my immediate family members, that the rest weren’t necessary.  But I don’t remember so much of my ancestral history, how So-and-So is related to What’s-His-Name, and I won’t ever remember these things after the ones who do pass away and won’t be there to remind me.  And thinking of that terrifies me of all that I’ll cease to remember over time, all the details and breaths that we each take in each other’s company that we should be recording in our minds and hearts because of Time, that fickle and fleeting mistress that ultimately takes all away and the memories that went with it when we take them to our grave.

Reflection:

Hm.  Not so thrilled about this one.  That was really, really hard.  I mean, it entails trying to remember what you don’t remember and trying to do so nonstop without thinking about it too much.  I never fully let go of it like I was probably supposed to because I knew I’d end up spinning off in some other direction and deviating from the task at hand, God forbid.  I understand the principles of writing and keeping with a theme and maintaining consistency in plot and characters, etc., but I wonder if my problem right now, the reason I’m having difficulty getting on further with my novel, is that I’m too insistent on holding onto this kind of control and that to get where I’m planning to go really does require letting go and going off the beaten path, that that will actually be the true path to the end goal, even though (especially since) it’s not the shortest point from A to B.  I guess I shouldn’t be reveling in this as though it’s some big new realization…I’ve known it all along, and these exercises are reminding me that I was not remembering that…

Huh.  Isn’t it something how things can come full circle like that.


Memory

The Prompt:

On page 2 of Room to Write, Goldberg challenges us to another freewriting exercise, this time not being allowed to stop until filling 2 pages.  I’m going to be writing mine on a computer screen, so I’ll just keep going until I’ve written what I estimate would fill 2 journal pages.  The other parameters we are given is that we are to begin with the words, “I remember,” and launch into whatever memories we can recall, however recent or long ago and however accurate or real they are.  The idea is to again tap into that mass of grey matter we cannot consciously access, and if we get stuck, repeat “I remember” until additional memories dislodge.  Wish me luck, and the best to you as well!

Response:

I REMEMBER squinting in the sun for what felt like at least 5 minutes because my older sister had told me that staring at the sun was a sure-fire way of having to get eyeglasses.  I remember always wanting to wear eyeglasses as a kid, to the point that I did, in fact, stare directly at the sun on a cloudless day and eventually received a tortoiseshell pair with fake lenses for Christmas (interesting that it was only two years later, in 8th grade, when I really did need glasses, and was prescribed my first pair after being diagnosed with far-sightedness and astigmatism).  I remember also always wishing I could wear braces, once again getting that little gem of a wish granted by freshman year in high school.  I remember wanting a lot of things as a kid that I eventually did get, or never got and realized it was the best thing I didn’t, but one thing I remember always having and always savoring was the happiest childhood with my siblings and parents.  I remember my sister dancing in a baby pool with me even though she’s nine years older and wrote song lyrics to dance by–I believe the song was called, “Twisting by the Pool.”  And yes, we did the twist.  I remember in much more frigid weather, my brothers who are seven and ten years older than me chasing my BFF and I around the snow-covered backyard and pelting us with snowballs.  I remember my sister building snow fires with me in the “cave” created by that giant evergreen in the backyard when the heavy, wet snow weighed down its branches to offer us dark yet dry seclusion within.  I remember wiffle-ball games in that backyard, my brother whipping a ball at me so fast and totally on purpose and it smacking me directly in the thigh and leaving a very big, very red mark.  I remember standing in the grasses of that backyard in solitude, taking in the warmth and happiness of a summer vacation sort of day, and how sometimes when I looked into the clear blue sky, I would see what I called my “fairy”:  it wasn’t anything that I made up nor actually believed was a fairy.  It was a strange sort of translucent illusion that looked like a flower with layers and layers of petals, and these layers and layers of petals would appear to rotate inward as though on some sort of circular conveyer, rendering the image a glowing and flashing clear light of movement that recurred to me time and again without apparent rhyme or reason.  It’s been a while since I’ve seen it, diminishing, perhaps, with my childhood like beliefs in Santa and the Easter Bunny.  Maybe it was my fairy, my very own private one, my guardian angel that is still with me even though childhood fancy doesn’t allow me to see it anymore.  Or maybe it was just a since-healed impairment in vision caused by staring at the sun for a long, long time.

Reflection:

Whew, okay, that wasn’t so bad!  It was interesting to find in that process how quickly the memories got flowing one after another once I got started, so much so that my fingers couldn’t keep up half the time.  I really think I could have gone on endlessly, when you consider how many different years in different locations and spheres of people you can reflect on, but go figure that I ended up focusing on my childhood backyard most.  I was all of a sudden transported to that arena where I spent so many summer and winter vacations playing with my family, friends, or just on my own, and while I didn’t get very descriptive of it in my writing, it was as though I could see every blade of grass and leaf to be had back there.  Clearly, that setting was a meaningful stage for those initial developmental years, and I think if you try this exercise yourself, you’ll learn something about what you value.  You may even be taken into negative memories, which could be that much more telling of you and the meaning you make as you move within the world.  I really hope some of you do comment on this with your own freewriting, as it would be fascinating to see what you unearth and how you evaluate it.


“Diving In”

The Prompt:

To kick things off, I’m beginning at the beginning.  Page 1 of Room to Write prompts  us to “dive into writing by choosing any one of the following words that have more than one meaning:  bear, cleave, lie, sewer, tear, or desert.”  The idea is to freewrite without thinking, never stopping, and if truly stuck, just keep repeating the last word written until you’re out of it.  Making sense is not the point.  Ready?  Am I?  * deep breath *

Response:

LIE lie to me you lie there in your stinking sheets wrapped in sweat mucus tears stains and you lie to my face behold that that that that lying lie there bait me with baited breath your soul swells sinks stinks and yet you think of me lie to me heave atop me spoil me spoilt the milk your nectar nectar nectar nudity becoming you seemingly impossibly I walk there too drifting apart the start so long ago such nonsense you came to you came atop me you bludgeoned me berated me beckoned me fiend.

Reflection:

Okay, my first thoughts on that are that it was really, really hard.  I found myself constantly pausing to write more deliberately and having to work hard to force my mind to free itself…in a nutshell, too much thinking.  It was also difficult doing this using a keyboard vs. pen, so I may switch to handwriting for prompts like these and just transcribe it here after.  For now, though, I’d like try out a screen-purifying software available for Mac called WriteRoom that replaces the clutter of the monitor screen with a plain black background and basic green font–in essence, reverting to the way word processors looked a couple decades ago to bring the focus back to WRITING.  Words for words sake.  Must say I love it.  I’m going to try freewriting on another word, then, using the free 30-day demo of this tool, then copying it back here.

2nd Response:

SEWER plunging to the depths of the sewer we rake through the sewage and stumble upon a sewer feeding the eye of her needle with threads woven from hair gone down the drain it’s coated in mucus and filth yet she’s smiling she darning socks with it she’s reaching down into the funk and pulling up another clotted handful of it and wrapping it about her arm for safekeeping she motions to us to try on the sweater that’s resting in her lap she wants to make sure the arms are long enough and we say we’ve heard of hairshirts before lady but this takes the cake we’re off and puddle-plunging our feet growing larger with swells of feces compounding on them with every step as the water splashes up to our hemlines and ruins our clothing with putrid stains and we hear the little lady calling after see bet you wish you had a new sweater to change into now!

2nd Reflection:

Hmm…WriteRoom definitely helped clear away distraction.  My other conclusion?  My mind is a strange and twisted corridor to meander through, and I blame my sinusitis for the repetition of mucus in both entries.  Sorry if my subconscious made you gag, folks.  Not all posts will be like this, but I have to say I’m a big fan of the freewriting exercise.  I remember my Sophomore English teacher assigning us the first few minutes of the day to this, which we’d keep in the same notebook and later use to generate poetry.  Not saying that I’m seeing any pearls of wisdom in what I churned out tonight, but I must say my brain actually feels like it just lifted freeweights and exploded past brittle picket fences that had been keeping it hindered.  Definitely a useful tool for breaking out of a rut.


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