Tag Archives: free association

On Finding Your Voice, sort of

People keep asking my advice lately.

Lol wut.

Well, I guess it’s fine. But I’m just a pair of eyeballs posing as a human being. Keep your salt shaker handy to liberally season anything I say. I will not be held responsible for the stupid things you do with my advice.

On having a voice:

When I was in writing classes people kept asking the teacher about how to develop their voice. It confused the hell out of me. What is a “voice?” As long as you’re not trying to be anyone else, you’re yourself right?

Unfortunately, I was so confused by the question I never paid attention to the answer. Or maybe the teacher just bullshitted so I forgot what they said. Bullshit answers tend to lay pretty light in the brain. You can remember them talking but not the words they spoke…
I think, though, that I finally learned what they were asking. They were still kids. They were asking the teacher who they were. Poor kids! Poor teacher!

I don’t know much, and everybody is different. What works for me may not work for you. But lately I keep hearing people talking about their inability to be creative. Not having a voice is a similar complaint, in a way. At least, the solution is the same.

Here goes:

Empty your brain. Upend all that garbage and start fresh, empty. Nature abhors a vacuum, right? The second you empty your brain, a thought will rush in to fill it.

This is fine. Use this. Put your pen to paper and start writing.

Writing poetry, for me, is a conversation with my subconscious. I’m always a little bit curious to see what it will say next. What little monster will pop out of the deep Id? What strange conclusion will be drawn from this inauspicious little starter word?

I read once that creative people actually have a stronger link with their subconscious than non-creative people. It’s that little touch of madness… too strong a link makes you unfit to live in a society; too weak a link, you’re a robot I guess. But all you robots, do not despair. If you envy the wobbly reality on this side of things, you can work on breaking down that wall. Start by emptying your brain. Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.

Oh, you’re done emptying your brain already? Now write, or draw. The first random word or phrase that comes to mind, or the first line you draw. Kick it around. Follow where it leads. The Rationalist inside of you will tug on your sleeve and say, “hey… this is stupid, what is this shit?” Grab that rational person and upend them, over and over. You’ve ears only for your muse and her name is Crazy.

There is a thin, thin line between controlling your verbal rabbit chasing, and pure schizophrenic word salads. It’s like controlling a lucid dream. Very fine balancing act.

However, if you can master the art of tapping into your crazy, you will never be creatively blocked. Once I learned how to do this, I wrote my novel. Every time I found myself slowing down, not knowing where to go from here, I turned off my thinking brain and let the schizophrenic lead the leash for a few seconds. She never lets me down. Sometimes she takes me on a really strange, dumb, or unexpected journey, but if I just leave her to her own devices, she’ll sniff out the truffles. I think I mixed some metaphors there… schizophrenics aren’t good at finding truffles. Who knows, maybe they are.

How does this relate to finding your own voice? Well, I’ve always been an oddball, so I’ve always drawn or written odd things. A logical person will write logical things. And a normal person writes normal things. What if you’re ordinary? If you are, guess what? Ordinary people will love you. And there are a lot of ordinary people in the world. You’ll be a hit.

Help, I don’t have a voice! The anguished writer cried aloud, with her loud voice.

Yes, you do. It’s probably not the voice you wished you had. You can’t iron the uniqueness, or the normalness, out of yourself. That’ll only make you sad. Instead, embrace what you are. Accept the flaws. I must accept that I always write free verse with small words, frequently recurring words. Blah blah darkness blah blah time blah blah wild blah blah me I myself me. I get so bored of myself. I want to write like Edgar Allen Poe or Mark Twain, but that’s not happening. I’m too lazy to try, and if I did, it’d be stilted and wrong. It’d be more like an autotuned voice, or a helium voice.

You’ve got to be who you are. You’ve got to write what comes naturally. Don’t try to impress. Stay true. Don’t fake. Don’t act. Relax your mind and find that thin line between rabbit chasing and schizophrenia, and tread the edge. Don’t let the Rationalist hook you away. If you do this when you put pen to paper, then whatever you write or draw is pure untrammeled you. The hardest part is not about finding your voice; you already have it. It can’t leave you. The hardest part is shutting that inner critic up, and accepting the voice that you have.

Edit:: Conversations with these two are what inspired the above post. Read their stuff.

Lille Sparven speaks the raw truth:

www.lillesparven.com/2019/02/censuring-mirror.html?m=1

Paul Sunstone asks the good questions:

https://cafephilos.blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Not in This One

 

This is a lot of nonsense. I didn’t write anything very good, and I didn’t want to separate it into different poems because it all fit together so well into the whole “I can’t think or write today” theme. So this is my free association. Consider it a deep insight into the magical creative process, dissect it, and discover great wonders. Or consider it somebody’s brain vomit, and know that you deserve better.

 


 

 

These thumbs

These fingers

These hands

These arms

These shoulders

This torso

These thighs

Knees

Shins

Feet

Toes.

All are mine.

All work well.

All are obedient

I keep them clean.

I exercise them

But today I still feel gross.

Whatta belly.

What an ass.

What thighs.

Nobody will want to look at me

If my belly sticks out this far.

It doesn’t matter

How bright my smile

(My teeth are rotting anyway)

Or how loving my eyes

(Bad vision, asymmetry, burgeoning body tag on eyelid)

Even my glorious red hair

(Knotty, rough, frizzy, not forever)

And my white nails

(Thin, prone to tearing)

Although my hands give me the ability to write, draw, cook,

I am all thumbs today.

 

 

 

I hate myself.

No I don’t.

 

I love myself.

Eh, mostly.

I do my damnedest either way.

 

 

 

Neutral

I was only

Neutral

Today.

I lived in beige.

An open door

Through which everything passed.

Nothing but net.

I fed the cats.

I worked.

I cooked oatmeal.

I fed the cats.

I washed dishes.

I worked.

I cooked soup.

I washed dishes.

I worked.

I cooked pudding.

I fed the cats.

We ate soup.

I washed dishes.

I napped.

I watched TV.

I tried to read

But nothing got to me.

We ate pudding.

I tried to read.

I ate scraps.

I fed the cats.

I showered.

I went to bed.

I was able to do everything I was supposed to do

Because I just

Wasn’t

There.

 

 

 

Hey, it’s Harold’s herald!

Behold! Harold cometh!

Harold! We knew you were coming. Your herald was here.

Where did my herald go?

He probably went to the next place you plan to go.

I’d like to meet him myself, but that guy’s always one step ahead of me.

Wish I had a herald.

I need a house crier.

What’s that?

Like a town crier, but just for house stuff. He’ll get through to my deaf husband.

Take him to the monastery, he can be a friar crier.

If the monks decide to market homemade onion rings, he can be the friar’s fryer crier.

And if a friar dyes the fryer, the crier can tell everyone who did it, and be a friar fryer dyer crier.

 
Boy am I on point tonight.

 

 

 

The deer

Tall

Antlers like icicles

Legs like drumsticks

Eyes like bocce balls

Wings like no one else

Flies lightly

Into the sky

On his skateboard.

Don’t get hit by his eggs.

 

 

 

How much is a face hugger worth?

A partillion?

A zoodlequad perhaps? Maybe even twoodlequads?

I’ll buy a facehugger one day. I will, wait and see. I’ll keep it in a cage and feed it faces every six thousand years, and I’ll love it and squeeze it and call it George.

 

 

 

I am utterly blank inside.

My brain is a vacuum

My eyes are marbles.

My skin is pale, insipid, dull

I smell like strawberry shampoo

I look like a wad.

I feel like…

Like an emptiness.

Nothing matters.

I don’t mind.

Maybe if I go to WordPress

I’ll read something beautiful

Have a feeling

Get a sense of human connection.

It won’t load.

The page too

Is blank.

Well fuck me.

 

 

 

 

Come along darling.

We’ll be late for the nothing.

Don’t dawdle.

When we get there we’ll have ice chips

And mothballs.

We can dance the tarantella

The quiet unmoving one.

And then we’ll hold hands

And wait to see

Who breathes first.

 

 

 

It’s not here.

It’s not anywhere.

It’s not in the soup.

It’s not in the couch.

The blankets are too hot.

The cats are too obedient.

It might be in the licorice pudding

I’ll look…. no, nope, not there

The pudding was flavorful

But too thick.

It’s not in the malted milk

It’s not in the boyfriend for sure

I got him sick and he’s down for the count.

It’s not in the shower

It’s not in the bed

And it’s sure as hell not

In this poem.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Another Successful Day

I was kind of torn whether to post this whole thing or just the best sections of it. Usually I just post the best section(s) when I end up free-associating a mess like this. But I think it’s entertaining as a whole, maybe you will too. At the very least you can get a sense of my poetry process… or lack thereof.

And yes, I was feeling extra crazy yesterday. Gaze upon what low blood sugar has wrought.


 

And so it goes

And so it grows

Another day

Another flaw exposed.

And everyone

Is digging in their toes

They don’t get

That shit just overflows.

 

Put a bird on it.

Fffuuucckk

I’m writing this bit for me

I’m writing that bit for him

And this one for her.

And who the fuck are you?

Well

Have a little piece of my soul

I’m not using it anyway.

 

Why does the devil want souls

I think he’s in some kind of an arms race against god.

Once he gets more souls than god

he can begin the war?

Well maybe it’s his pride

maybe this is all about

His stupid ego

Like he wants a bigger business than god

But surely his business is bigger

Everyone says it is

But fuck that

What do they know

They want to think themselves the persecuted few.

 

I don’t want it

I don’t want it.

Take it back with you

I don’t want it.

Give it to your wife

You crazy sick bastard

Tell her it’s from me

Tell her I said

I think she’s pitiful

And I pity her

For being with you

And drowning in a pool of lies

She doesn’t even know she’s dying.

Like a frog in a slow boil.

 

People hurt

People steal

People love

People heal

People kill

People die

People always

Wonder why

People win

People lose

People live

What they choose

People give

People take

People bend

People break.

 

You are different.

You can see.

You are not like others be.

You don’t struggle as they do.

They don’t seem to have a clue.

You are far removed and free

You are pure and

Okay you’re just a fucking sex addict, who are you kidding.

 

Give us a kiss.

Give us another.

Give us three.

Kiss deeper.

Deeper.

Let us tongue you.

Let us inside.

Let us inside you.

We want what’s best.

We care.

Let us take care of you.

Give us a kiss.

 

How to just not.

Here’s how:

…..

Mostly that.

Also if you want to join the revolution

Don’t forget to pack the sandwich I made you dear

And be back before the street lights turn on!

I don’t want you getting a cold

Have a nice time.

Shoot someone for me!

 

And so passes

Another successful day

I didn’t kill myself.

I got some work done.

I made bread

It turned out better than I’m used to

And I didn’t kill myself.

I snuggled the cats

I didn’t kill myself.

I drank some tea

I got ice cream with Hannah

Two flavors!

I thought about something stupid I said eight years ago

And I didn’t kill myself.

The weather was really lovely too, all day.