Hey, who’s driving this pen?
I’ve often wondered about automatic writing. Is it true that if I sit down with a pen and paper, try and empty my head of all mundane thoughts (harder than it sounds, trust me – when I’m trying not to think of anything I start thinking about whether I should wear flip flops or hiking boots tomorrow or that I really must sit down and finish writing my latest novel/script/short story – that thought pops up all the time), then some passing spirit will take advantage of my temporary absence of mind and use my hand to write its memoirs. I had a go at this many years ago and I believe the only word I could make out was the word ‘lilo’.
Would a passing spirit seriously take the time and energy to possess me in order to write ‘lilo’? Nah, I’m thinking not.
The other evening I decided to have another go once sproglet had gone to bed and the rest of my family were engrossed in other activities (a highly technical game of cards – seriously, it was like watching tactics for world domination being put into place) leaving me free to effectively turn off for a while. And, oh boy, did I turn off. You’re going to have to bear with me on this post, because having read through what came out of my head that evening, it reads as if someone swallowed a dictionary and ate a thesaurus for dessert. And so, dear readers… the result went a bit like this:
Brace! Brace! You’re In For A Bumpy Ride!
“What’s going through my head right now? I’d have to say curiously little considering our minds are constantly on the go. I often accuse myself of writing too much about the mundane, the day to day, but what is the mundane? Isn’t every moment we live anything but, and a little miracle all in itself? Do those who profess to have the least have the most? Should my pen be confiscated for writing such tripe? Guaranteed it should be. Writing thoughts that want to sound more intellectual than they are. Filling a page with tired words. My mind often whirrs to its own beat and I doubt anyone else hears its music.”
By now, some of you will have decided that I’d probably been on the Bacardi when I wrote the above and will have stopped reading, but I can only put it down to my brain trying to clear itself of ‘the mundane’. What else came out of my pen when I wasn’t paying attention…?
“Are these words even mine? A disembodied voice whispering in my ear. CHOCOLATE! No, that word is definitely mine. I was reading the other day about an old mental asylum called St. Crispins. It was something out of a Victorian horror story. What remains there after the lights are extinguished for the final time, the last person leaves and the door is locked behind them? Do ghostly faces peer out of cells filled with anguish, wondering why they have been left behind? Or are they content, secure within the walls of their mental prison, curious at the sight of ghost hunters and thrill seekers who are convinced by the mental horrors of pain and torture their TV addled brains throw out at them. And here I sit at home, pen of purple in hand, wandering down the dimly lit corridors of my own mind while my husband and mother in law enjoy a game of cards, an unread book at my side that promises to be a good read but hasn’t yet been allowed to capture me while I write, write, write, a restless mind searching for a moment’s peace in the mental asylum of automatic writing.”
Hello? Any Crazy People Here?
Well, if I was coming out with some automatic writing that evening, whoever it was paying a visit had a thing about mental asylums. Or maybe that’s just me. Well, everyone loves a good gothic mental asylum, don’t they? Um… don’t they? Wait, I’m not quite done. Yes: there was more!
“I’ll read what I’ve written one day and I’ll wonder where the words have come from. So far from the mundane. So far from the average – more in common with the rain falling to dash itself on the conservatory roof – “
I think my brain may have short circuited a few sentences ago – I do apologise. Normal service will resume shortly.
“- I wonder if the roof in our bedroom has resumed its leak.”
See – there I am!
“I had a dream last night. A flame haired zombie with a smile like a shattered mirror and eyes with sparks of lucid insanity chased me over slippery ice. A curious thing – it was oddly amusing. I awoke needing the loo, wondering how I would react to finding such a zombie in my house in the dead of night. In the dark, it was an eerie thought; later in the light of day. the thoughts reconciled themselves into a single cohesive statement that I would, of course, remove its head without a single flicker of remorse.”
No more late night horror movies… no more late night horror movies…
“That’s what a zombie hunter in any number of books I’ve read would do. Is it not so? Well, we can but hope that we never encounter such beasties of the underworld so we can carry on our masquerade of life without burdening our little brains with such stresses and terrors. Because what we see on the TV and what we read in books is just for our cheap thrills and needs to be stored away in the recesses of our thoughts as bollocks so we can close our eyes at night. Sleeping with one eye open is not as easy as it sounds.”
I have never tried sleeping with one eye open. I don’t recommend it unless you have a bottle of Optrex in the cupboard.
Is It Over Yet?
“And so, drinking the cold dregs of my tea while Sandy winds her claws into my hair while she lounges behind me on my headrest -“
Sandy is my cat, not a pet zombie, please don’t panic.
“- at peace with the knowledge that when she throws up on the rug I have to clear up after her of a morning, have I achieved any kind of mindless Nirvana?”
Some of you will now be screaming that I’ve definitely achieved a mindless something right about now.
“I can tell you I have no idea what I’ve been writing but my subconscious tells me the zombies will keep.”
So…um…yeah. That was an insight into my world of automatic writing. I wasn’t paying much attention to what was coming out of the end of my pen that night as my brain seemed to be elsewhere (as it often is most days anyway). One day I may give it another shot, see if any revelations appear on paper. Perhaps an entire novel might appear – that would be handy – I understand it has happened to people before. Do spirits get writer’s block…?
I’d love to hear if you’ve had a go at automatic writing – perhaps you’d like to post up a transcript of whatever came out of the end of your pen when you least expected it?
©Nicola Kirk and http://www.nicolakirk.wordpress.com 2012