Friday, 15 July 2016

Remembering The Time When Gerald Ate The Washing

I am amazed to find that it was five months ago when Gerald ate the washing.  Meeting Gerald was a joy for me.

Gerald was the outcome of a writing prompt Amanda gave me, one of three she provided that day, each of them half a sentence.  I posted the results as a blog post then.  I had been having a bad time when I wrote them and I found that the act of writing was an act of liberation.  Reading about Gerald again today I am still pretty satisfied with him, apart from a question mark being omitted.  I honestly think it's a decent piece of writing.  It's also a very silly piece of writing.

Go on, indulge yourself.  You know you want to read about Gerald.  As I type that sentence I am wondering whether I will ever learn more about him or have the experience of seeing him act in some other outlandish fashion.
If you're in a creative mood, or if you're not, then you could write something from the three prompts.  They are in that post as well as what happened when I typed them and carried on typing. They're not strictly speaking the product of free writing - but nearly.  I find that none of them are terrible.  That pleases me.

I haven't posted the results of the first prompts Amanda gave me - one isn't bad and I might return to it one day.  There is a story waiting to be written and sometimes in my dreams and thoughts it calls out to me.  I don't even know who Johanna is, how she was lost or whether the one who loves her would ever find her again.  I'd dearly like to find out.  The one who loves her would like to know too.  Leaving him in that situation is an act of cruelty on my part.
The other is a poem that in places is reminiscent of the writing of Paula Nancy Millstone Jennings.  If people request these pieces of writing I will post them here.  And then I will hide myself away in embarrassment!  For at least a few hours.  My attempt at a poem really is very bad indeed!  I am choosing to laugh about the awfulness of the free verse rather than to get disheartened in any way.

Another of the prompts from Amanda led to a 9500 word story I wrote for her birthday. It's the longest thing I have ever written.  On that occasion I asked her for a list of twenty words and said I would incorporate them all into a story.  I had expected that the story would be under 1000 words, another of the little pieces of fun tossed out to the screen in minutes.  But an idea formed and then the details formed themselves as I wrote.  I knew the story would end happily but as I typed I didn't have a clue how it would get there and some of the plot surprised me.

That could also be returned to.  Amanda said that I should do it and she encouraged me to jump back into the story when I feel it's the right time. Partly I need to change a few things. They need changing. Minor details that mean the story makes less sense. Gender words to adjust. And, horrifically, a misplaced apostrophe that Amanda joyfully announced to me! But I also could happily extend the story and the descriptions of the ways imprisonment happens and the ways in which we discover and achieve freedom.
It's not high literature.  It's not even low literature.  But I enjoyed the writing and Amanda enjoyed the reading.  That's what matters to me.  What also matters is that it might not have been the best writing in the world but it was writing.  My writing.  Part of my seeking to unlock whatever creativity lies within me.  Dormant.  Neglected.  Brutally wounded and crushed.  Part of my desire to set it free, breathe on it and allow the deep Spirit to breathe on it.  To let it grow so that the unspoken creative DNA within the seeds can become the spoken Word, abundant life out of the tomb of denial.

My playing with another prompt has so far reached 3500 words. I'm quite enthusiastic about that one! It's going to take some work and in places some actual research and planning rather than just free writing everything without any plan and seeing where it goes.
For anyone interested - and you might want to write something from it too, here's that prompt:
She had never wanted that shopping trolley, and now she was stuck with it.

It sat in my head for a while.  An image formed.  It sat there a while longer.  A fragmentary plot formed itself that if I'd written it down would have read like a bad two sentence synopsis of a novel, something that misses out all the details and feels like it was written by someone who hadn't even bothered to read the book.  That sat there for a while.  And then I finally began to write.

As I wrote those first paragraphs the plot extended and my head has been playing with it so much that this morning I had to write down a few bullet point ideas for how on earth the story could get from point A to point B.  Getting from B to C feels possible.  Which is good because point C is the first thing I wrote and it belongs at the beginning.  My head has inklings of points D and E too but unless it tells me more about them they can wait.  A to B to C is more than enough to be playing with for the present.

After the shopping trolley I have four more prompts from Amanda that I haven't touched yet.  One of them was given on the day I wrote that terrible, terrible poem.  The other three were given on a day on which I was struggling just to get through the day.  I asked for three more prompts but was then unable to bring myself to write.

And then there are the books.  I have books filled with writing exercises.  I have books about writing.  I have a book which is a creative writing course and it looks fantastic.  It's fair to say that I have enough source material on hand to play with.

And then, to the joy of some, the dismay of others and the total confusion of still others, there is Blob Thing.  A (so far) daily blog post based on his adventures.  Over the past six weeks that's become something very different to what I had envisaged or intended it to be.  It may be crazy writing.  But it is writing.  They say that a writer should try to write at least something every day.  I have been writing the Blob posts.  I notice that it's been good for me in terms of being able to freely write but also in terms of my own moods.  Blob's blob lifts me up inside.

On top of that, this week I went along to The Writers' Cafe for the first time - a regular event here in Newcastle.  I've known about it for quite a while but would never attend.  I wrote about that on the day I attended, as my gratitude post for that day.  I thought it was wonderful.  But it's given me yet another thing I can play with.

That's what writing is for me at this time.  It's play.  It's fun and I am doing it primarily for myself - as any writer should if they want to be truly happy or content about the act of writing.

Yes, as of this moment I am prepared to call myself a writer.

It doesn't particularly matter what I'm writing.  It doesn't matter if it isn't yet full formed.  It's doesn't matter if it's never widely read and if my name is never known.

What matters is that I follow the call that is within me.

What matters is that I give myself time, allow myself to be free.

What matters is that I write.

Amanda said this morning that it is my vocation.  I like that.

I am a writer.

[1400 words]

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