Three pages of free association. Three. That’s it. Doesn’t need to be college ruled. You can use graph paper or an art book or, fuck it, use receipt paper if it feels right (side note: if there’s a notebook that uses receipt paper–but tougher–I want it. Nothing writes better than receipt paper. Cancer risk be damned.)
Here’s what happens: the first page and a half are easy. You enter into the writing knowing what direction you want to take things. A half a page goes by and your idea is finished and you easily transition into some other aspect of your day or previous days: work sucked, my life sucked (past or present), my date sucked. Or maybe it’s one of those crazy miraculous days that are actually, ya know, good. After about a page and a half you have to start reaching for things to write about. Only problem is you’re not supposed to stop. You can’t stop writing, you shouldn’t even take your pen off the paper at all.
That’s when the madness starts. That’s when the real demons come out. The writing gets sloppier. You stop putting down actual words or sentences. You stop trying to think and you really do just write. It’s sort of amazing what comes out. A lot of it ends of being the sort of poetic dribble most of us write after our first breakup (preferably when we were younger.) Did you forget you could write like that? I’m not saying it’s good. Anything but. Hell if it doesn’t feel great though.
Try this too. Clean your room everyday for ten minutes. Doesn’t have to be the rest of your life. Make a one week commitment. Start with making the bed and move on from there. You won’t have a clean room the first day. You probably won’t have one the second or third day either. But by the end of the week when the dishes are gone, when the laundry is officially quarantined to one corner of the room, when those towels you could swing like a sheet of cardboard are properly thrown away, or, god forbid, thrown in with the rest of the dirty laundry–when that’s done? Your search for something to clean might lead you to dust. Dust, guys. Like with an actual rag. It’ll feel so out of whack you might instinctively ask someone for your allowance.
Louis CK spoke at event for the death of George Carlin. It may have very well been his funeral. Anyway, the thing that blew his mind about Carlin was that Carlin did a new show every other year. A new show with new material. What was the consequence of that? It meant that first show you might talk about funny dog faces. But then two years later you’ve already talked about funny dog faces and so you have to go somewhere else. Maybe you talk about your feelings. Another two years and you’ve already talked about your feelings and so you have to go a bit deeper. Each time deeper and deeper. More raw. More honest. Eventually, he says, you get so low you end up at your balls.
That’s what the third page of my free associations feel like. A heaping pile of sweaty balls. Ugly, gross, way too sweaty and sticky to do anyone any good; and yet somehow completely needed to create life.
© 2013 Christopher Dart