12 March 2014

Writing prompt 37

It's time once again for the weekly writing prompt.

Picture this: 

You've just turned off the light and settled down in bed when you get a flash of inspiration for the story you're working on. Suddenly the character's motivations are so clear, or you've thought of the perfect solution to the problem that's been plaguing you all week. But now you're comfortable; you don't really want to sit up, turn the light back on, get out of bed to search for a pen and paper. And besides, the idea is etched into your brain - it's so important there's no way you're going to forget it. I'll write it down in the morning. First thing, you think as you drift off to sleep. When you wake in the morning, you remember only that you had a brilliant idea but can't for the life of you recall what it was.

Or you're driving in your car - maybe to the supermarket or to a friend's house, or maybe it's a long-distance drive to another city - when a phrase or sentence or line of dialogue suggests itself to you. Over and over it runs through your head, becoming more compelling each time. You consider pulling over, but there's really no good spot to do so, and it seems silly to go to such lengths for a teeny little phrase, no matter how compelling it may seem. Besides, you will surely remember when you get to said supermarket or friend's house or other city. Then someone runs a stop light, almost hitting your car. Adrenaline surges, profanities stream from your lips, and the phrase is lost in the excitement.
Or you're in the shower when a new story idea hits you. You've just gotten all soapy or shampoo-y, and even if you did rinse it off real quick, you'd then have to also dry off and tiptoe around the house in just a towel 'til you tracked down the necessary writing implements... No. No, you'll finish your shower first, then write down the story idea, which has set your brain on fire and will surely stick with you for the five or ten minutes you need until you can write it down. Eight minutes later, as you are drying off, the phone rings. It is a friend you've been trying to get a hold of for weeks. By the time you're done speaking to them, you're basking in the warm glow of reconnection and don't even remember that there was a story idea.

Today's writing prompt is brought to you by moments like these.

I had a thought...

Just because the prompt was inspired by experiences like the ones above doesn't mean, of course, that your freewrite has to take that direction. The aim of freewriting is to let go of control. To start with the prompt and then let your subconscious take over. To let your mind hop from image to image, feeling to feeling, sound to sound, and to do your best to capture those without worrying about theme or punctuation or even whether what you're writing makes sense.

My freewrite 
I had a thought last night, but I didn't write it down. I had dreams that I knew were rich and interesting as I floated in that place between asleep and awake, but by the time I got up I'd forgotten them entirely. All these thoughts, images, ideas. Is my mind a rushing brook carrying them swiftly through my head and I must catch them before they're gone? But where could they possibly go? Perhaps instead my mind is a deep, round pool sitting cleanly in the crust of the earth; a giant stirs it slowly with a stick, bringing different things up to the surface that normally lurk below. The pool contains many objects of various sizes, shapes and weights. The things that are easy for me to access are lighter than the water and bob to the top. Other things float just below the surface and it doesn't take much to get them to bob up. And then the stuff of my dreams: it's down a ways, closer to the bottom. It gets stirred up in my sleep but sinks back down again when I wake. My trauma is a body tied to a cement block at the very bottom of the pool. It will never rise on its own; it must be pulled up. Just one question though: who is the giant and why is s/he so busy stirring when I'm asleep?

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