Thursday, 10 August 2006

Stream of Consciousness.

I finished writing a short story two nights ago and I'm still feeling that funny warm glow one gets when they've completed something they feel is great. On Tuesday evening, I suddenly had the urge to put down some thoughts I had been mulling over the previous week. I grabbed my notebook, and started writing.

I had been (and still am) reading Murakami's Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman and I was getting a little concerned with the creases that appeared on the spine as I progressed through the book. I thought about how such creases defiled the beauty of the book, but then debated that the creases showed that the book was fulfilling its purpose--to be read--and this was beautiful in its own way. So I was writing down what I thought about all this and when I got to the end, I felt I needed to write some more. So I added in some characters. I placed them in a location. I made them meet up. And I found myself with a beginning for a short story.

Usually, that's just as far as I get. Then I abandon the story because I don't know what would happen next. In this case, I felt the story just coming in, like a gushing stream after rainfall. I just couldn't stop writing. I knew more or less what would happen, and if I didn't, I managed to make something up that was credible to the story (or at least I would like to think so!). I was in the office when I started writing, and as luck would have it, I didn't have work to do. So I just kept writing and writing. Right until 6. Then I got on the LRT. I found I needed to continue the story, needed to find out what happened next. So I wrote and wrote all the way from Sentul to Bukit Jalil. And when I got home, I found the story had not been completely drained out of me, and it wanted to be put on paper. It insisted. I complied.

Late that night, after approximately 3500+ words, I was done. I'm still not sure how or why I suddenly felt like I needed to get down so many words at once, and almost non-stop too. It has happened to me only once before... and I wish I knew how to replicate it. It's a wonderful feeling zooming through words, enjoying a story as I'm writing it. I've already typed it up in Word, but I'm staying away from it for a while so I can return to it one day with fresh eyes. But I've got a feeling this one will still be a good story when I get back to it (unlike countless others which managed to look like complete drivel).

I hope I can share it with you one of these days. The short story (current draft is 3800+ words) is entitled "The Creased Spine of a Paperback" and is about a man who is meeting his old friend from school for the first time in a long while. His friend has called for an urgent meeting with him and now the man is wondering what's the matter.

6 comments:

  1. I finished reading it last week, and weirdly enough partway through I too was disturbed by the creases that appeared in the spine. I am mostly very particular about not spreading the pages of the books too far but for Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman it was a tad difficult - it was the large format book (like a hardcover) and quite difficult to hold and read IMO.

    Hope you will share your short story with us. The title sounds wonderful.

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  2. It's really very hard to take care not to crease the spine a trade apperback like Blind Willow. After a while, I just stopped trying... and accepted that it just wanted to get creased.

    Hehe.. glad you like the title. Not sure when I can share it though. I would like to send it out for publication first, so that means I can't publish it online first since many publications ask for first pub rights.

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  3. Ted, great going! I have yet to experience such a marathon writing session.

    It's weird. Suddenly I can see all these posts that you've posted since 10/8 when I couldn't before. And I didn't hit the refresh button either.

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  4. Thanks! It really is such a great feeling. Just thinking about it just makes me want to jump at my notebook and start my pen's engines... er... not that my pen has them. Cough. Can't right now though, am busy with work, so the world of fiction will just have to wait.

    *puts on IT Wiz hat*
    The posts suddenly appearing could be your browser's cache suddenly deciding to refresh their contents. It happens. When you suspect that's happening, pressing refresh just won't work. You've got to press CTRL and click the refresh button to force the cache to update.

    Hmm. That may have just sounded like Greek. Sorry 'bout that :p

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  5. I heard somewhere that Mozart felt that same urge to write down his music and it seemed, the notes came to him fully formed - as if from some higher power and all he did was transcribe them. The great poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote Kublai Khan after waking from a dream - he was writing furiously to capture what he had seen in that dream when famously the person from Porlock rang his doorbell and interrupted him. When Coleridge went back to his poem, he couldn't remember what he was going to write next! So all we have are several brilliant stanzas and the rest forever lost.

    Do show us your work of feverish instinct soon!

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  6. Thank you for sharing that with us, Yang-May!

    I am so afraid of what happened to Coleridge happening to me, I must go everywhere with my notebook in hand. If I get an idea, I don't care if somebody wants to talk to me or not, I'm writing it down before I forget it!

    I do hope I can show the story soon. But will have to see first. I am determined to get this published in a literary magazine.

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