Week 3: Channeling the Muse
Updated: Feb 4, 2020
I just really allowed my muse to be my guide and I just go with whatever I’m feeling. K.D. Lang
As the remnants of the flu turned sinus infection turned ear infection manage to work their way out of my body with the aid of modern medicine and ungodly amounts of tea, I’ve managed to get myself back into the flow of writing again. I will admit, having the 100 Day Writing Challenge to help me have a consistent task at hand has been incredibly helpful, as well as some intersession school work that I’ve been having to do.
For school, I’ve had to write two brief scenes, both of which I’m surprisingly proud of. The first is an adaptation of another already existing work. I chose Shirley Jackson’s The Intoxicated (though I will be doing another treatment of Neil Gaiman’s October In The Chair because, well, I love Neil Gaiman. Clearly.) I found Jackson’s story about a drunken middle aged man talking to a disillusioned young woman about what she believes the end of the world will look like to be oddly poignant and timely, considering it was written what, 70 years ago?
The central conceit of the conversation is that people who aren’t yet old, yet can no longer consider themselves young, always seem believe that they understand what it means to exist in the world. Fortunately, I think the tide is turning in that everyone now realizes that no one has any idea what is going on, and the only way to move forward is to accept that and work together. It’s a powerful story, less bone-chilling than some of Jackson’s other works, but definitely worth the read.
The second was centered around an individual with a goal in mind, though they must continuously lie to overcome the obstacle that is keeping them from that goal. I chose to do a scene about a young man, Henry, and his cousin, Lauren, who leave a preppy Hamptons party and are pulled over for speeding as Henry is rushing to get his cousin home. Lauren, however, unknown to Henry, has stolen a significant amount of, um, illicit substances from the party, and manages to talk the officer into letting the two of them go. It’s dumb and fun and letting myself write something with no need for some earth-shattering revelation was really freeing.
Tim Clare’s 100 Day Writing Challenge, however, has moved on from free-writes into a more esoteric realm. Though I can’t speak on what Clare’s beliefs are, I have a strong connection to my own spirituality, which might be a post for another day. I do have many friends, however, who have practiced automatic writing, and I find that I usually have a very difficult time letting myself get into that headspace. After letting my subconcious run, for lack of a better term, free during the last week’s free-writes (in addition to keeping a dream journal – Tylenol and NyQuil give you some WILD dreams) I did find that it was easy to let words just kind of flow from my fingers to the keys.
The prompts start with a phrase, and you’re intended to let whatever voice flows continue the sentence, the story, uninhibited. I want to remind everyone reading this (meaning my mother and possibly one or two random people who’ve stumbled into the end of the internet) that this is entirely unedited, and in addition, incomplete. I don’t know what any of it means, but I will say that I don’t feel as though I were the one writing it, which is…an interesting concept, especially given the content that came forth.
Without any more hedging, here is Day 16 – “My Darling I…”
My darling, I’m so sorry. I never intended things to turn out the way that they have, but I can’t say that I’m not pleased. It’s been a dark, cold, lonely journey, and I never expected anyone other than myself to be caught up in the whirlwind of my mistakes. But wishes and expectations never beget reality, or at least they rarely do.
I suppose you’re wondering how it is I’ve ended up here, if the news of my adventures have yet to reach the papers that is. And I would be remiss if I didn’t afford you some kind of explanation. You deserve it, I should say, that’s the least I can do for you. Well, as I sit here, in the comfort of this cabin hidden away from the rest of the world, being searched after by men and monster alike, the winds and rains ravage the glass window panes, every crash of thunder another terrifying sense that the world is closing in.
I just want you to know that I didn’t do it. Though all evidence may point to the contrary, I myself never committed any of these deeds, in my mind if not in my body. Something has taken control of me, something far beyond my understanding. I knew better than to play with forces that existed beyond my control, but my pride had gotten the better of me. I thought as long as I held the book in my hands, that the ink on the pages would be mine to command. But words have far more power than I could truly ever have known. The moment I spoke them, they ceased to be mine, and they were taken ahold of by the world at large, by the forces that spin the cogs that lie beneath the world as we understand it.
We are not the masters of our own destiny, this I now know.
I write this to you now not as a warning, for nothing can truly protect us. I write this to you as an apology, as a small beacon of truth shining through the world of lies and obscurity in which we live.
Please, whatever you do, burn the journals. No one else need ever lay their eyes on the words that spilled forth from my pen, for if they do, I have no doubt that their fate will follow the same path as mine. Though, who am I to say what fate has in store for them, I’ve tried to understand it. I’ve tried to change it. But by now, I of anyone should understand that that is impossible.
As I wrote the journals I discovered that the words that came from beneath my fingers did not originate in my own mind. They came from outside of me, as though I were a prophet.
It’s strange, isn’t it. I don’t know quite what else to say about it, so I’ll just leave my stats here at the bottom. I had a new personal best day this year. I wrote 3913 words on 1/20. So there is a light at the end of the influenza tunnel. Hopefully the momentum continues.
Thanks for reading
Weekly Total Jan 15th-Jan 21: 7837
Best Day: Jan 20th, 3913