When I find myself particularly burdened and unable to continue on a work in progress, I find it useful to drag out a technique that my 4th grade teacher exposed me to when I was still young enough to care what people told me. Stream of Consciousness. Rather than attempting a story or a plot or a character design, I just start writing the first thing that comes to mind and finish when I’m finished. Far more often than not, these bits and pieces end up in the desktop waste bin, but I figured I’d share one for anyone that hasn’t given this a go. Me, being me, means that the gibberish product is usually weird or dark or stupid, but that hasn’t got too entirely much to do with the exercise. If you picture a writing block as an actual build-up of something, a clog behind which all of your creativity and expression is building up under considerable pressure, then this is a sort of stent designed to relieve the pressure and get your words flowing again. The stent itself isn’t what you’re looking for – the words that flow through it are. That being said, here is my weirdness:
I used to believe that, were I to split myself from sternum to sack, I would reveal a bioluminescent inside that shone bright and gold. It would be all of the usual sorts of inside things, but lit with my own magnificence – a corpulent and roiling mass of my own shining worth. As a child, I used to run staccato patterns down the center of my gut, imagining where I would make the split, where I would rupture myself to reveal all that I truly was inside. Most often it was a center cut. Straight and unwavering because I have some struggles with obsession and compulsion that require things be straight and unwavering. Other times, however, when my fancy rode high and mighty like plumage gone mad with its own pomp, it would be a jagged thing of wicked turns and curlicues that took their time crossing my flesh.
The purpose was never to spill myself into dirt and rubbish and die a gutted thing.
When I did finally cut, with ragged and broken glass no less, it was because I was certain that my worthy insides would make everything on the outside shine as it should. The stark and grey bits of reality that had been hammering away at the surreal landscape of my imagination were growing, multiplying, breeding with unnatural speed. What had, once, been a slow and mounting oppression became a tumultuous landslide of tedium that threatened to suffocate my most valuable parts before I could split asunder and revel in the worth that I had kept hidden.
Every day I heard the simpering moans of mates who had given over their own shining insides to fit more neatly with the doldrums. Fellows with razor tongues traded them for stenotype fingers and an unlikely fraction of offspring. Raucous girls made of tattoos and bourbon-soaked thighs gave themselves up to baby buggies and grocery carts loaded down with their own rotting former selves. Slowly and with rasping grey tongues, they would whisper to me that nothing inside could shine. Nothing inside made the outside a better place. Take the tie. Take the shoes. Hang yourself in mediocrity.
Each time, I sang to myself in an awful but joyous voice that only sounded inside of me: I am something golden inside. Just wait, you’ll see. And then you’ll hang yourself in envy.
When the last and greatest of my co-conspirators took to the punch card with unwavering loyalty, casting off his drug-induced stupors and illicit affairs, I thought my time was too near to risk waiting or wilting or washing away. I pushed my fist through a pane of self-imposed delusion and took up the largest, most hateful shard. My plumage was bereft by loss, hidden among my ears and hairs and knotted brow, so I made the cut straight and unwavering. I cut deep and fast and exulted in pains that lit my life afire, driving across my nerve ends with bladed tires and spewing out caltrop exhaust.
I couldn’t have expected to find so much pale and red-stained rubber. Thronging yards of efficient engines, bleeding and shitting and chewing along at a pace unset by my desires. No light lit the gloom and no wonder of exceptionalism spilled out to suffuse my life with previously unknown wonder. Instead, sucking drop by spilling plop, organs and ashen deception poured from inside of me to lay dead and increasingly underrated at my feet.
Dreams, it seems, are not meant to be realized.