Flowing streams of consciousness

Readers of this blog have very likely noticed that there is a seriously long lag time between postings. In fact, after starting this blog in April of 2009, only 44 postings were made in that year. The main reason for this is that, as a beginning blogger, the time it takes to compose a blog can be considerable and in a life that is full of fun and responsibilities, that time is too great to justify the ends. One thing that really increases the time it takes to write a blog, has been the desire to keep things as impersonal and humble as possible. This is a hard task. One method was to avoid the use of the words “me”, “mine”, and “I” following the method used by a friend and fellow blogger who is known as the Permanent Pilgrim. While he has perfected this technique and manages to write his blog faithfully, using only 45 minutes of time each day to do so, this was not possible for me. The technique requires so much thought and finesse that it increases the time it takes to write this blog considerably. Yesterday, it was necessary to travel to town to buy groceries and pay property taxes and the land trust (fideo comiso). The Permanent Pilgrim accompanied me on the trip, so that he could replace a broken tea pot and provide company on the long trip to Cabo San Lucas and back. A lively conversation is pretty much guaranteed when these two bloggers get together and the drive seemed to take a tiny fraction of the time it actually does because the mind was engaged as we traveled across the desert. Eventually the conversation turned to my writing. And how the blog writing was not being particularly successful, in large part because it takes so long to write a single blog. The Permanent Pilgrim suggested that my background as a scientist and academician was stifling my creativity. “’Strangling it’ might be more accurate,” was my thought. The Pilgrim, who is an artist and not a scientist, considered this some more and suggested that a writing exercise should be undertaken. One in which the writer abandons all rules and notions about “how to write” and just writes nonsense. He pointed to the author Dylan Thomas, of whom he had recently written, and how this famous author had often written in a manner that was nonsensical. Admittedly, this was in part due to his extreme alcoholism. But it seemed like an idea that had merit. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. The results were posted last night on this blog. Two examples of what turned out to be stream-of-consciousness writing rather than actual nonsensical writing. A manner of writing which requires that every thought regardless of its origin or content be written down quickly and without consideration. Like vomiting on the page really. As a technique for writing it has been employed by many writers. As a means to harness creativity, overcome writer’s block and to convey thought processes in fictional characters. A well-known example is Jack Kerouac‘s On the Road and William S. Burroughs’ Naked Lunch is a personal favorite. The human brain is incredibly fast. It can be difficult to get thoughts down on paper as quickly as they come. Jack Kerouac, writing in the age before the computer, taped together strips of tracing paper to make a sheet 120 feet long that he then fed into his typewriter, allowing him to write uninterrupted. The manuscript for On the Road is one long uninterrupted sequence, without paragraph or page breaks. Stream-of-consciousness writing was discovered to be fun and exciting. A little bit intimidating from the letting-go-of-control standpoint. And the results? Well, I leave it up to the reader to decide what you think of the results.


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