Another Anne Said

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Once Again

Fabulous of writing like crazy. Started early, didn’t take my dog. Don’t have one. Sorry. Didn’t take any of my cats, either.

I know, I know, you weary of reading these self-congratulatory blog posts. I don’t blame you. I weary of writing them.

But, publicly celebrating small successes isn’t something that I do well. To others, I continue a Sphinx imitation. “How’s your writing going?” they ask. “Good, thanks,” I reply. Smile for effect.

But what am I going to tell them? So I turn to this as an outlet, the carrot with which to beat myself as part of my encouragement. Did you know that many writers write alone? I am one of them. Because of that, writing can be a lonely but satisfying endeavor.

You don’t need to read this, but I need to write this. I need to post it and publish it. It’s all part of confronting and pushing myself. It works for me.

Done writing like crazy. Let’s go for a walk to think about what’s been done and what’s to come.

The Flowing Dream

Posting a great deal today, I know. I blame the dream. 

Last night’s dreamisode had me spilling out out of myself. See, I was me, and the hairy flesh-colored white male that I am, except I spilled out like mercury, flowing over sidewalks and streets, splashing around buildings, plants, and fire hydrants.

I’d been walking through a warm, sunny day in downtown Ashland when this began. I didn’t understand what was happening at first, and then, I panicked, because, oh my God, I’m all over the place. I worried about people walking on me, or having my liquid flesh clogging the sewer drains and drowning others. In a fit of Lucille Ball-like comedy, I scrambled to collect myself and return my mercury-ness to my corporal existence, scooping up handfuls of myself and shoving it into my shirt and jeans. But I couldn’t hold onto myself. It just flowed through my fingers. As my efforts to collect myself wasn’t working, I just let it flow.

Then I was sitting, trying to understand what was happening. Settling back, I watched me flow across the land. My body, like went around others, but didn’t kill them. They embraced it with surprise. As I sat on a chair by a table on a patio and watched myself flowing out, I saw that there was more, that I wasn’t everyone, that I was spreading, but I was still there. I wondered, how far do I go?

With more astonishment, I saw that where I flowed, other things grew and flourished. I wasn’t killing anything at all. Whether the light had changed or my vision was clearer, the day seemed brighter. As I watched, I realized that I was growing even as I sat. From where I sat, I began to see over trees and houses. Soon I saw across the valley and then over the mountains, to the beach and the sea.

Then, in a part that brought tears to my eyes in the dream, the sun was rising wherever I looked. Even as I thought, that’s not possible, I saw, but, yes, that’s what’s happening.

The dream ended.

***

I’d forgotten the dream until I was walking and thinking about my character, Anders, and who he was. In a flash I remembered the dream. I was walking in Ashland, and for a startling moment, I felt like I was in the dream, and experienced this bizarre sense of duality. As that passed, I sharply aligned with Anders and who he was. A black teenager in America, I was trying to get a handle on him, but then saw that I was tagging him through the prisms of my experiences.

He, though, doesn’t think like us, not because of his skin color, but because of his generation. His parents are black, and he loves and respects them, but their experiences don’t shape him. To him, that’s an old way of being. The new way is to shape himself. He eschews and shuns much of popular culture because of that because popular culture attempts to normalize him and push him to conform to a popular conception of who he should be, what he should buy, and how he should behave. Anders rejects and resists that.

As I explored him and his friends, I saw all of this, and how it applied to them. We have stereotypes of our segments of culture and society, from the one percent down to the homeless, from the self-proclaimed Greatest Generation through the Boomers and the rest. Anders and his friends are resisting being called a generation. They’re seeing and seeking fragmentation, breaking old norms and behavior. They don’t want to build something new; they just want freedom to find for themselves if there’s something new out there. 

They think there is something new. They can’t see it, but they’re looking through other’s eyes. It’s not until they can find their own way of seeing that they’ll discover their own country.

***

After all of that, it was a powerful and liberating day of writing like crazy. I know that it’s silly, but I felt privileged and flattered to have experience that dream, because it felt so empowering. I felt special, humbled, and amazed as I wrote.

The session is over. Time to go on to other things.

What’s What

Out of what I am, what I read, what I know, imagine, and think, come thoughts that I didn’t know, things absorbed which now push up out of my mind’s mantle of thinking and into the novel.

The characters develop sympathies that I didn’t expect. Vulnerabilities and phobias that I’ve never known are introduced. Their attitudes harden. The new attitudes shape their directions and decisions, flexing the story’s direction.

I play catch up with my thinking, but I’m always falling behind. The characters and I go through the story together, seeing what happens and catching our breath.

It’s been a good day of writing like crazy, but it’s left me somber and reflective. After all that’s happened so far, the main character now faces a large metal door. It seems to be brushed steel.

We’re both waiting for it to open.

Even as I contemplate it, the door sneaks open. Whispers of the next conversation float out. “Who are you?”

“I think that’s my line.”

“How’d you get here?”

“That’s also my line.”

So it begins unfolding as doubt and confusion wrestles with truth and expectations, and story forms.

Another day of writing done and gone, at least one more time.

 

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