Tag Archives: free association of thought

Been There, Done That

The Prompt:

Today, page 48 of Room to Write asks us to write 101 places we’ve been or 101 ways to dance. The goal is to list them as quickly as possible, ideally within 15 minutes. I’m choosing to run with Places I’ve Been:

Response:

1 London
2 York
3 Edinburgh
4 Inverness
5 Bath
6 Dover
7 Calais
8 Paris
9 Nice
10 Cannes
11 Monaco
12 Vernazza
13 Corniglia
14 Riomaggiore
15 Monterosso
16 La Spezia
17 Parma
18 Rome
19 Venice
20 Florence
21 Salzburg
22 Munich
23 Dachau
24 Interlaken
25 Zurich
26 Barcelona
27 Berlin
28 Oberammergau
29 Dusseldorf
30 Amsterdam
31 Stockholm
32 Pula
33 Rimini
34 Budapest
35 Saalbach
36 Vienna
37 Besse
38 Les Deux Alpes
39 L’Alpe d’Huez
40 Geneva
41 Courmayeur
42 Pesaro
43 Anzio
44 Sermoneta
45 Mougins
46 Juan-les-Pins
47 Sevilla
48 Grenada
49 Malaga
50 La Mancha
51 Madrid
52 Southampton
53 Chipping Camden
54 Tywardreath
55 Fowey
56 Falmouth
57 Flushing
58 Devon
59 Woebley
60 Bristol
61 Manchester
62 Wolverhampton
63 Ashby St. Ledgers
64 St. Albans
65 Brighton
66 Canterbury
67 Cambridge
68 Oxford
69 Windsor
70 Portsmouth
71 Isle of Wight
72 Lewes
73 South Downs
74 Greenwich
75 Blackheath
76 Bibury
77 Stratford-upon-Avon
78 Chawton
79 Chicago
80 Disneyworld!
81 LA
82 San Simeon
83 Monterey
84 San Francisco
85 Carmel
86 Paso Robles
87 San Luis Obispo
88 Los Osos
89 Santa Barbara
90 Tamarindo
91 Buenos Aires
92 Torres del Paine
93 El Calafate
94 Rotorua
95 Queenstown
96 Auckland
97 Christchurch
98 Marrakech
99 Istanbul
100 Mumbai
101 Delhi

Reflection:

Wish I could say I got this one in under the wire, but it took me closer to 20 minutes–mostly because I kept checking Google Maps to verify spellings or remember names of places caught in my head–in which case, I should’ve just powered through with a description or best-guess spelling (as I’m sure I still managed to botch plenty!). I clearly ran with cities, as that seemed the easiest way to start out and made for some fun (albeit quick) reminiscing about past travels.

The point of the exercise is to stretch ourselves into our well of memory. Just when we feel frustrated because we can’t find inspiration from either imagination or experience, an activity like this can remind us of all we truly have to draw upon. Maybe it’ll dislodge an idea for a story setting. Maybe it’s an experience you had, or people you met, in that location that can figure into the plot or characters, or simply lend rich description for visualization and texture.

Who knows, but by the end, I actually felt disappointed that I’d already hit 101. I feel like I “wasted” spaces on places I’ve might’ve just made a train connection, not leaving room for more of those where I had proper experiences–but that’s how free association of thought works, I guess! When I delved into my memory well, I suddenly relived the sequence of certain travels, connections and all (which is some of the logistical nitty-gritty that could figure into stories, to add a layer of reality). I barely scratched the surface of my home country and state, for cryin’ out loud! 🙂

Here’s my actual travel map:

Screenshot 2016-03-08 19.26.29

Actually, it would be fun to try this sometime and only focus in and around my hometown so that I’d have to branch out beyond cities and list things like schools and grocery stores and playgrounds. Or try the “Ways to Dance” option as a more imaginative exercise, as I figure at some point you just have to start making up moves. Um, which sounds amazing.

Well then, I’ve made my journey round the world in 20 minutes. Tag, you’re IT!

 


Show Me, Show Me, Show Me How You Do That Meme

These have been busy days causing much blog-neglecting, so for now I shall finally snag the writing activity from Corra McFeydon’s A Lit Major’s Notebook blog as I told her I would.  I had also told her I had a Spotlight Award waiting for her when her blog was up and running again, which is still out there for the offering, though I know she will graciously not accept 😉

This is in keeping with some of the writing prompts I follow that allow for brevity…it’s like an ink-blot test, really, offering insight through metaphorical self-perception:

– If I were a season, I’d be autumn.
– If I were a month, I’d be October.
– If I were a day of the week, I’d be Thursday.
– If I were a time of day, I’d be 23:00.
– If I were a planet, I’d be Saturn. (I like a good accessory).
– If I were a direction, I’d be West.
– If I were a tree, I’d have the perfect branch to sit and imagine on. (and there’d be a monkey in me)
– If I were a flower, I’d be dried jasmine blooming at the bottom of a tea cup.
– If I were a fruit, I’d be a tomato.
– If I were a land animal, I’d be a cat, sleeping in a sunny window.
– If I were a sea animal, I’d be manatee, fooling sailors that I’m a mermaid.
– If I were a bird, I’d be a mockingbird.
– If I were a piece of furniture, I’d be a chaise lounge.
– If I were a liquid, I’d be red wine.
– If I were a stone, I’d be sedimentary.
– If I were a tool, I’d be a level.
– If I were a kind of weather, I’d be alternating showers and sunshine, UK-style.
– If I were a musical instrument, I’d be a piano.
– If I were a color, I’d be burnt sienna (consult your Crayola box).
– If I were a facial expression, I’d be a raised eyebrow.
– If I were an emotion, I’d be anxiety.
– If I were a sound, I’d be fingers tapping on a keyboard/piano keys in inspiration or a flat surface in impatience.
– If I were an element, I’d have an even atomic number.
– If I were a car, I’d be a Volkswagen.
– If I were a food, I’d be cheese.
– If I were a place, I’d be lined in dark wood paneling and floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, flickering in candlelight.
– If I were a flavor, I’d be spicy.
– If I were a scent, I’d be spicy 🙂
– If I were an object, it would be fun to be unidentified and flying, too.
– If I were a body part, I’d be the eyes.
– If I were a song, I’d be “Just Like Heaven” by The Cure.
– If I were a pair of shoes, I’d be black ballet flats.
– If I were transportation, I’d be my own two feet.
– If I were a fairy tale, I wouldn’t want any contemporary retellings of me to star J-Lo.
– If I were a holiday, I’d be spent traveling.

Oh yeah, and if I were a song, I’d also most certainly want you to rock out to me (men, apply that guyliner):


On the Borderline

Oh goodie, this is a fun one—a game of sorts for those days when you fear the tap to your creativity has run dry and you just can’t write.  Well, you can.  Given some direction—rules, if you will—you might be surprised when you spring a leak 🙂

The Prompt:

Page 41 of Room to Write asks us to choose one of the following words:  fence, road, boil, or fall.  Then:

1. Write the first words that come to mind when you think of your chosen words.  Write them in a list form until you hit the bottom of the page (or your computer screen…I decided to do 20).

2.  Keeping the list in the exact same order, develop a story in which every line uses one of these words.

Response:

He rode the fence on the issue.

Sure, he realized the importance of establishing boundaries,

but was this something to fall under such restriction?

He was already on the border of sanity as it was.

One thing he was never good about was choices,

options that left him speculating which path to take and leaping to cynical conclusions as to what menaced him ahead on each.

In this way, even the gift of choice wound barbed wire round his psyche

and threatened to strangle his pride with the chain-links of fear he entangled himself within.

He never was a man of conviction, willingly crossing picket lines to not rock the boat with authority

and practically tying their strings onto himself as if he were some wooden puppet,

his thoughts and actions the property of someone else, always.

Facing the crossroads that he was now, he tried to envision vast farmland

dotted with livestock and caressed by the open breezes.

In this vision was also a garden; yes, there must be a garden in the back,

serving as the division of pleasure and labor,

where his legal troubles could be checked at the gate and all he would know of the world was a blooming fortress.

He then frowned at the way even his fancies imposed a natural barrier around him,

and wondered if he wouldn’t constantly need something to hold him back—balancing on the precipice of order and chaos as he was—

yes, something that would keep him penned in for his own protection and the safety of the world below.

He struck a match against the brick ledge, the final demarcation he would draw.

Reflection:

Today is definitely one of my days of feeling groggy and uncreative—there’s so much to take care of on all levels of my life, so my preoccupation with it all is almost paralyzing me into doing none of it.  In light of these kinds of days, I really appreciate an activity like this that confines me within a short set of rules; for as much as I think I’m a creative spirit, I’ve always functioned well within parameters.  Maybe that’s why the word “fence” is the one that leapt out at me 🙂

Anyways, if you ever find  yourself in a writing funk, I can promise you this is a good way to shake up your stagnant creative juices; there’s no pressure to how this sort  of piece will turn out, just that you follow the rules and keep on to the end.  Maybe it’ll go straight to the rubbish bin, maybe you’ll actually pull something from it to recycle in another work.  Who knows, but this took me less than 10 minutes, so surely you can afford that little bit of time to see what results.  It also has potential as a good lesson in working with motifs/extended metaphors in following through on a theme.

So, obviously I use these writing prompts to get me going, but I’m curious about YOU.  What is it that gets your brain-blood flowing and inspired to write again during periods of creative dormancy?


Mood Music Musings…

It is an eerie thing—underlying the cries of children in the garden square, a sinister melody booming from an organ is seeping out of the Victorian church beyond my window.  The only music I ever hear from there is new age Christian rock on Sundays, never an organ, never on Tuesday, never of that magnitude and fervor.  Huh.  It’s creating an odd atmosphere for me inside my old Victorian terraced home, I must say…the computer desk and bed are disintegrating from sight, along with a century and a half of paint as I start to envision the dressing table and hip bath that might have once stood in here, this room that I believe was once used as a dressing room.  The unit we live in was once only the bedrooms of an entire four-story house, you see, which makes it quite laughable for me to think that what we now occupy as both our kitchen and reception room space was only the master bedroom.  It is a place in which every petal in the ceiling’s floral moulding sends down whispers to me of all they have seen through the decades.  Trees have grown tall around brick and stone that was once exposed, new, though sooty now and crumbling and left for fanciful folk like me to point to and sigh for a bygone era.  But, my, how my feet would have pinched, my organs been crowded and lungs bereft of a deep breath of air…the dust kicked up on my hems and the humid sweat on a sunny day bleeding into the tight-woven fibers of my sleeves to cake in my dead skin and bake my scent.  No, though I used to lose myself in imagination of how much simpler, more romantic a life back then would have been, I peer through the wormhole to see it as it was and feel quite thankful I won’t be lugging tins of water up and down all those flights of stairs, past the pretty banisters, thank you very much.  Burgundy velvets, trembling fringes, clinking china, flickering flames…all these and the incantations of a seance fade to ivory.  My computer materializes back into my field of vision.  The organ music is muffled beneath the waterfall sound of speeding autos. It diminishes into a pleasant tune or subtle nuisance, depending on which I will choose it to be.


Blindfolded

The Prompt:

Whereas previously we were asked to write about something we can see through our eyes, imagination, instinct, and intuition, today page 28 of Room to Write asks us to write about what we can’t see—this can be something literally out of our sight, or figuratively hidden from our understanding or missing from our lives.  This should be freely written, beginning with the words, “I don’t see…”

Response:

I don’t see what it is that wakes me on time when I’ve forgotten to set my alarm, what prompted me to unlock my door and go back into my flat that one day to check the stove that, sure enough, still had a gas burner on from my morning tea.  I don’t see what it is that holds one person up when another might slam to the pavement under the weight of the world, or what it is that binds people together when the centrifugal force of their spinning lives would otherwise fling them apart.  I don’t see what it is that I sometimes think might brush against my face as it rests on the pillow, or tickle at my toes when they peep out from the kicked-askew bed sheet.  I don’t see what some people don’t need to see because they rest their speculation in faith alone or just don’t see the point, and I don’t see what other people try to detect scientifically as evidence of what they won’t believe in unless they can see it through thermal imaging or sound waves.  I don’t see the energy that humans exude, radiating onto and into others through smiles or kind words or enthusiasm or sucking it away through frowns or insults or indifference.  I don’t see what happens to that energy when a human passes on…that energy that, in all things, can neither be created nor destroyed, so must go somewhere when its host ceases to exist as a body in motion.  I don’t see the momentum of that imprint they made in life or if it continues to survive beyond death, filling the voids that person would have filled or instead dissipating into the atmosphere, joining the energy of yet-living organisms, lifting the wings of a bird, or watering a flower.  I don’t see what is perhaps best left unseen or may be nothing to see at all, yet is somehow something I want to believe in more than what I do see.

Reflection:

I guess the idea of this activity is to understand how what is absent (only because unseen) can serve as a great presence in our writing.  Perhaps it means our characters are missing something in their lives, and their search is what drives our entire plot; perhaps it is what we writers are missing and searching for through our stories—it’s a chance to find understanding.  I’ve indeed had characters explore some of this unknown, speculating through them how something so unseen could in certain ways become overtly present and necessary for them to confront and comprehend to move forward.

Do you find that your writing has/is helping you see what you’ve in some way been blind to?  What about your characters—are they having to confront something they can’t keep avoiding?  Is out of sight out of mind?


Only in My Dreams!

I think after yesterday‘s heaviness, we needs must uplift ourselves with some ’80s radness!  Oh, as if you don’t want to…don’t resist the urge to Running-Man or Cabbage-Patch if need be…

Ah…okay, fan yourself off.  The reason I pulled this little nugget from the cyber archives is to set the theme as I backtrack to the writing prompt about dreams.

The Prompt:

Four posts ago, I mentioned that page 22 of Room to Write asks us to recall a dream:  “It can be a recurring dream, one from childhood, a daydream or a nightmare.”  As we write about it, we should be noticing which portions of the dream sequence evade our memory and which become sharper.  We can fill in any gaps, change, or expand on any of it that we wish.  I’d like to relate a few…

Response:

The first dream that leaps to mind is a recurring one that I had as a little kid.  I know exactly where it stemmed from:  a TV ad for a television station that had something to do with the seasons (or “series,” as they say in the UK) of its television programs not yet coming to an end…I don’t know if it was approaching summer re-run time or what, but what I do recall is that my dream was this extended variation of the advert in which I was the woman involved.  I was wearing a peasant dress and being chased by a hunchback all throughout a dark, cobwebby, grey stone castle.  The corridors, evil perils, and my evasive techniques would vary night to night, but every time the dream ended the same way:  the hunchback would corner me at a dead-end.  With my back against the wall and arms outspread, I’d merely repeat the line the woman in the commercial would say (though in my dream, it was probably sheer nonsense coming out of my mouth), and the hunchback would grunt, turn around, and walk away.

A recurring dream I started having later in life involved water.  The situations and story lines were always different, but the water would be there in some form or another.  Sometimes I was on a sinking ship a la Titanic, sometimes I was standing on shore watching a massive tsunami (of Deep Impact proportions) rolling in at me , or water levels for whatever reason would rise gradually inside my home.  In all of them, I had time to stare down my ultimate death and prepare the air to be swept from my lungs.

Adding to the list, I get that typical one in which I lose my teeth.  Whereas the last two dreams recurred within the span of probably one or two years, this particular one with the teeth has resurfaced my entire life.  I don’t always lose my teeth entirely; sometimes they are loose to the point of my knowing it’s only a matter of time.  Again, the story lines of those dreams will vary, but within them my dream-self burns in mortification, as it’s a total blow to my vanity.  I always feel entirely helpless and unable to hold them in place (not to mention terrified what the dental bill is going to come to).

And to conclude the list, yes, when I was a student I would have the dream about having to take an exam I didn’t study for or showing up to class wearing something ridiculous, but the curse of becoming a teacher is that you keep having those dreams!!!  This time, though, it’s that I show up to class without having my lessons planned, or I show up at the wrong classroom on the first day of school, and the students are never very helpful to me in this dilemma.  Since I’m on hiatus from teaching at present, I don’t get these anymore, except that just a few nights ago I actually had one of the more freakishly normal dreams I’ve ever had—nothing bizarre, really…same classroom and students as I really used to have…except that at the end, I broke down sobbing over how much I missed teaching.  (Um, no need to call Freud in to psychoanalyze me on this one…I think Dr. Obvious can take it from here).

Okay, so what would happen if all my recurring dreams decided to recur on me at once?

I’m running through the corridors of the high school…it’s a centuries-old one in the vein of Hogwarts, and I’m late to teach my lesson on Beowulf…today, we are to debate to what degree Grendel’s mother is a sympathetic character, but I haven’t crafted my specific discussion points nor procured enough copies of the text to distribute nor written up or copied the handout nor strategized how to best divide my students up (Individually?  Pairs?  Collaborative learning groups?), and have I differentiated for their multiple intelligences?

I walk into the copy room only to see the photocopier spraying out sheets of study guides as a cluster of frantic teachers scramble to claim and collate their own; there is no solution nor sanctuary here.  Panicked, I pivot on my heel and chase down the hall to an unfamiliar stairwell where I feel and hear the grumbling of a predator:  Grendel!  I trip up on the low hem of my skirts as I jog down the steps, my sweaty palms on the railing exceeding the pace of my slippered feet.  I duck into the dank blackness of a janitor’s closet as I hold my breath to hear ever louder the rattling huffing of another; I will be trapped here if I stay, surely given away by the scent of my perspiration (or dry-erase markers), so my only hope is to dash and pray I do so in enough haste.

With my heart ricocheting off my breastbone like a racquetball in my alarm, I automatically navigate the twists and turns of the school halls, unsure of where to find my classroom and lamenting this loss in last-minute time to prep my lesson—when I arrive at my class, if I live to arrive at my class, alas, I shall have to wing it.  I grind my teeth in anxiety, debating which is the lesser of two evils to occupy my mind away from the putrid, humid breath at my neck, only to find that my top front teeth begin to sway against the bottom ones.  One slips out wetly, grazing my lower lip as it falls and trails bloody saliva down my chin; another tooth three teeth over then gets crunched between my molars before I suck it onto the bed of my tongue to better projectile spit it back at my foe in defense.  By twos and threes, my remaining teeth ease out of my soupy gums, and I try to organize them with my tongue against the roof of my mouth as ready artillery; in rapid-fire, I spray them out, their pale ivory now bloodied pink, and they pelt my pursuer like quail shot.

I’ve bought myself some time.

Up a winding staircase I go, clacking against the polished stone surface, slipping to my knee before recovering quickly and charging onwards toward an upper level corridor open to the air.  Heaving sharply cooler gusts of air through great gasps, I run headlong into the painted cinderblocks of a dead-end.  Hearing the bell sound off, I realize it’s over…First Period has already started, and I’m not there to take attendance in time to send it off to the Main Office.  Truancy slips will be issued, and it will be all my fault.  I press my forehead against the icy surface of the wall and slowly roll my skull around on its pockmarked surface to spin and face my adversary.

And there he is, slightly worser for the tooth-bullets, but still formidable.  He growls in low rumblings with a taloned claw upraised, and I start to tell him something about television reruns when a surge of foaming saltwater blasts through the open windows.  I swallow it along with my words as my body flails for orientation and gives one last spasm in its urgency for oxygen.

As it all bleeds over into black, I think a forever-silenced prayer…that my substitute teacher will not let any of those students side with anyone who would have spawned Grendel.

Reflection:

Um, yup, just as demented as any of my dreams would be.  The spin I’ve taken on this exercise was stupidly fun.  After focusing for as long as I have been on one main, continuous story line for my project, it was rejuvenating to take a random tangent that is not too serious or personal.  I think I’ve dragged this post on long enough, so will bid you good night and crazy, distorted dreams 🙂


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.


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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