Stream of consciousness experiment attempts to recover originality

I’ve decided to sit down every day and jot stream of consciousness for 15-30 minutes with no discernable goal, in a notepad. I guess the idea is to jar loose some new ideas, original thoughts. I spend so much of my life reporting on other people’s thoughts and observations, that I’ve started to forget I have thoughts too. Or maybe I don’t. Maybe no one does. It’s all just regurgitated versions of someting that happened, just reordered, reworded.

I wrote bad fiction in college, lots of it. I figured I’d probably write bad fiction for a living. As it turned out, writing about air conditioners for computers was a lot more lucrative. You’d think I was writing original thoughts back then, but most of my fiction was autobiography with a helping of Stephen King.

Once or twice a month, I wonder what my fiction would look like if I started writing a few pages a day again. I secretly harbor this fantasy that I’m somehow becoming a better fiction writer, just from getting older and being a reporter (even though I’m not writing any fiction). It makes a kind of sense, since each successive, older version of myself finds the previous version’s writing crappy and immature, but promising enough that maybe someday…

I write a few sentences in an essay about the grizzly bear hunting trip last year, and I’m paralyzed by how meaningless the words seem on the page. 10% of it might be worth reading. But 90% useless seems to be about on par with everything else I’m reading lately, so maybe there is hope.

The contents of this post was generated in my 20 minute notepad/pencil experiment, writing about what I was writing about. But I aslo delved into this idea that I like the disorderly edges of things. Composition and entropy (like an old house being swallowed by the forest), river and stone, morning and evening. I like the edge of intimacy and strangeness — when I was a kid I’d be riding in my parents’ car, looking at houses from the dark outside and imagine what kind of life was going on inside the window. What’s happening in that room with the incandescent glow bouncing off the ugly, unfamiliar walls? What are they watching on TV? Why aren’t the people in the room talking?

Anyway… not real useful stuff. But like I said, 90% crap is expected. I may or may not publish all of these, but it did seem like a decent way to keep the blog populated.

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About mstansberry

Matt Stansberry currently lives in Eugene, Oregon with his wife and son.
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6 Responses to Stream of consciousness experiment attempts to recover originality

  1. Guy says:

    You’ve been doing just fine all this time. Don’t force it.

  2. Nstanz says:

    The think tank needs recharged… Remember there is light at the end of May… Old superstitions and tales retold… New material lies there… remember the fish gods have a sense of humor… bring the bull roar and get ready to conjure up old Demons… and don’t F with the Mac and Cheese…

  3. mstansberry says:

    Don’t f w/ the Mac and Cheese indeed sir.

  4. Dude, that’s the curse of the journo. I’m so conditioned to write in stretches of 1800-2200 words that it’s hard to break out of that. Sounds like a good plan.

  5. Tough Gnarl says:

    I saw fireworks light up the sky yesterday on a residential street surrounded by North Hill Italians and burn-outs, the sound of Aerosmith cutting through Newport cigarette filled air, encompassed in the stench of barbecue ribs and the blood red lathered mop, a cardboard paper covered barrel of Coors Light and in some strange way realized that this is supposed to be how we now signify the start of summer, or at least the end of the winter path through the Doldrums of no sun and no fun, try remembering the lyrics to your favorite Pavement song…I dare you. I can’t think of any right now my mind is so uncharged and leaking battery acid over my unmotivated soul. But I’ll still keep trucking along dutch dutch dutch. May is almost over my friend. Return to normalcy. I could read about zombies all day.

  6. Stacey Cassidy says:

    Easy Tiger. I recall reading said “bad fiction”. I also recall liking it. Glad to see you’re doing well. Really beautiful photography! What are you using! Paul is absolutely adorable! Congrats!

    Hope this finds you smiling,
    Stacey

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