Monday, March 22, 2010

Running on Empathy

A significant feature of the free association techniques encouraged by analysts with a Freudian bent is the information deduced by the analyst and possibly the analysand as well. This aspect has long enthused you, taken as you are with the lightning-like static of seemingly free-floating ideas being related to others in ways you have just begun to understand. The possibilities yammer and cry out with the possibilities that you will learn more about your characters from this associative process as the story develops and the revision begins to provide you with yet greater results.


You particularly enjoy the times when you approach your blog template with nothing apparently to use for your theme. There is then a tingle beginning below the surface of the skin, radiating outward from the inherent doubt that you have at last exhausted your store of prepared essays, run dry, and now will have nothing to say; you will be effectively shut down. Don't expect help or bright flashes of ideas. Empty. Stunned into silence, aware only of the void rather than the thrum of ideas waiting to burst free.

The feeling of depletion, of having reached a temporary end of the associative process from which a torrent of relevant ideas emerge is a necessary condition to your own progress, the taunting excitement of potential failure that goads you into the turf of despair, where the homies may fall on you.

If you were to admit defeat, concede that you had nothing to write about on this particular day, little would be lost for the associative writer parson you have striven to become and indeed are. You would have experienced another time in which the process did not work for you, opening the possibility of another such failure in short order, a sign of systemic entropy as opposed to muscular, determined venture to collect more process-related associations. All the more reason, then, for the excitement, the gamble, the tingle of disaster hovering about you.

Are ideas so scarce or so valuable to you? Much of the time, if you had any more, you would give them as you do dollars to those asking you for spare change or using them as suggestions to students who seem choked up in their fear of having for the moment nothing to say.

We all have nothing to say until we begin saying that nothing, observing the facial tics and nods or scowls, looking about us for signs. Even when alone, we write to parts of ourselves or to images of unseen readers we hope to reach.

Look for an individual, however you have invented him or her. Look for a person you have endowed with some agenda, then, instead of writing about yourself, ask this individual, How does it go with you? Ask in the language of your streets and terrain. Ask from the depths of your curious heart. How goes it with you, whomever you are? What is your wish, your dream. Be careful how you ask, What is your problem? Think of the way it may sound. You want the to reply, and you want to be able to listen.

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