Thursday, February 16, 2012

Writing and Lethargy

The later the hour, the easier it is to drift into another galaxy ... and the easier it is to get tripped out by this vid. Maybe our ability to create and to become entranced come from the same place?

The more exhausted I am, the less horrific my writing tends to be. Strange, but whenever I'm wide awake, alert, and fresh-faced (rare, but it happens), my writing is squeakily self-conscious. It meanders stiffly like locked muscles, going around and around the same laundry list and to-do chores of the hour. I can't fully plunge into fiction because my mind can't get slippery. It can't detach itself from the cares, concerns, and ticking clocks of the day and trickle down into the cracks of clandestined dimensions. The air vent is choking, the carpet crumbs are multiplying, and the deadlines are beating me over the head with umbrellas. When I'm alert, there's too much fluorescent lighting in my head. My writing becomes too polished and prickly. I become overly aware of everything I write, and I immediately backtrack, walking around the same sentence over and over and over again, 'til I'm certain it was never meant to be written in the first place.

An hour goes by and I've produced less than a paragraph. It's a neat and prim paragraph, as crisp and sharp as my caffeinated focus. But even after I dust it off eleven more times, I read back over it and feel nothing but shame.

But when it's two in the morning and my brain is blurry, the writing starts to flow because I'm allowed to be messy. Somehow, late at night, it's easier to channel the sloppiness of imagination. The line that divides me from my subconscious blurs and the silhouettes of my fictional world become distinctly visible, like the unveiling of stars at dusk.

In a state of lethargy, I can let the chaos of creativity dirty the blank page. I can let my imagination be naked to the bone. What I create may end up being nothing but a tangled slush of garbage--but it'll have some color. Even if it's deleted the next morning, at least I stretched my imagination's muscle to a slight degree. Most of what spills out of my head is jumbled nonsense, but beneath all that there might be a subliminal scrap or two of something creative. Entire kingdoms we have yet to create are entombed in our subconscious. When you're exhausted and half-asleep, the portal to those worlds opens a little wider. Grab a pen, and see what subconscious pieces land on your scribbles. At the very least you're writing, accessing those swirly, liquidated cosmos that are too feathery to stain the page. Even if half of what you write is just sugary-flavored fluff. Take this blog post for example, which takes four paragraphs to say what could be said in one sentence: throw everything at the wall and see what sticks.

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