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The Dashing Life and Exuberant Times of Brian Harrison....And Other Rare Anecdotes

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Being Creative and Its Result and Embarrassment; My Weirdness Revealed

I find the secret to any creative endeavor is a swirling descent into an uncharted, undiscovered world. It is a frantic maelstrom into the fascinations and associations of the psyche into the boundless imagination. But stay on this wild course. The pathway to some higher act of collision between insight and fantasy lies in the act of purely slapping down whatever comes to mind and worrying about the silly editing later. If at all.

So day after day, I have buffeted myself with the whimsical task of writing 3 pages daily. Some of it nonsense. Most of it, detailing the dreams that I had the night before. You could say that it is my log into the airy realms of the surreal and sublime. Though, my dreams, are really not all that strange. Compared to the way that I would make them up if I had the chance. Perhaps, my fantasy-fevered brain is already at overwork on such fanciful cinemas during my waking life that when the night curtains do fall and my brain goes to a sort of soft repose, my unconscious psyche goes easy on the images and easy on the content. For those of you that have studied Jung, you are aware of the balancing act between the conscious and the unconscious.. And you will also know that this dream-vigilance can serve as a sort of window into one’s soul. –Stained glass and with all types of significant relics etched in the glass.

But enough of that. I do not wish to show you any of these dreams. I care only to express my strivings with a particular, grueling sense of writer’s block. Whereas the creativity is locked in a stagnate mold and any sense of inspiration has withered away like a cursed fig tree.

So I began to skirt these deep waters. And even plunging a time or two. It is the artistic temperament to do so. And I realized how easy it was to find myself into a place where lightning and seas connected. And who knows maybe some paper could be splashed with some ink.

I ventured out on a proposal. I put as my status, that anyone could give me a topic, any topic and I would turn around and make a story out of it. I was throwing open those ominious doors of the unconscious, stooping myself in the shadow figures and watching them dance. I had dropped the quill-pushing gauntlet, and sounded off the blazoned challenge. Give me any situation and I would answer and turn around and scribble off a story about it. It was my way of fighting off lethargy. –Of stabbing vile procrastination.
And for once heaping upon myself task after task after task. Something that my natural disposition grows squeamish even thinking about. But I felt it was all very necessary. I shall saturate myself in the realm of Story. I told myself. Well, something to that effect. Maybe a little less dramatic. But so steep myself in the creative process that I do not notice how much I am working and for what little returns. This is the antidote for my slothful ennui.

I must confess, to the reader, that my success was only limited to the first few days. After that, my natural inclination snuck upon me…and to this day, 2 weeks later, I have 2 short stories still due. But I will get to them one day…(Well, you know this talk.)

Almost 10 short story themes came in. And I set at work on them at once.
The keys started clicking the storylines out. Storylines such as wandering haplessly on the moon. –To describing a bunch of men that mysteriously change into bears taking over the Californian frontier. And then there was the tale of me being a sort of spy for the Churches of Christ. It was limitless. And the pure strategy for me was to flip around the ideas they gave me, and give them something back wholly unexpected.

But who would guess that I got too caught up in this process when I wrote my 2nd story that I lost track of myself.
It was an innocent enough storyline…Prompted by Lance Owens. Lance wanted a tale that was about me having the ability to regenerate limbs. Yes, pretty simple. Though, a little weird. But to his defense, I insisted they give me a challenge. And in the creative world, that means it really must be weird. So perhaps, Lance thought long and hard about it, or perhaps Lance was mulling over “Gee, I wonder what it would be like to be able to regenerate limbs” earlier that morning. But either way, Lance threw the story situation at me and uttered, “Go!”.

So I went. And the story started off much like a fairy tale does. I was the protagonist with this serious lament, reiterating my travails of misfortune. Where me and this character (who was based on Lance, himself) were backpacking across Spain. (Doing the pilgrimage that I didn’t do while really in Spain this summer.) And sure enough, through the meeting of a holy saint and the kissing of an archaic relic, I was given the ability to regenerate limbs. Easy enough. Nothing too out of the ordinary yet. –In legend story-telling that is. I had set myself up for the acquisition of this gift in a traditional frame. The Quest. And now I was to further the story, detailing what I precisely did with this “gift”.

And of course, my untamed imagination, galloped away on this one. So I wanted to make it humorous and completely fantastical. None of this realistic nonsense. So, I made it to where I was sort of a cursed King Midas. But instead of gold, if I touched a person, an extra limb would grow out of that person. Yes, it was bizarrely fantastical. And I wasn’t going to let that inner critic, the stealer of many a creative urge, stamp out any such idea just because it was too strange and unlikely.

So I worked away. Detailing how tragic it was at first. How alienating it was having such an ability. And the only way to really cope with it was by taking to the shadows of the streets and becoming a sort of superhero. To fight crime and set the world at right.

Lurking among the alleyways of the criminal streets, I would pop out to make right the corrupt wrong, touching the odious culprits in various places, where to their horror an extra arm or leg would sprout.

It was an altogether juvenile fiction. The sort of thing that an 8 year old might draw pictures of with a box of broken Crayolas. But I wasn’t letting my adult mind worry about the maturation level or the ridiculousness of it all. No, that was the whole point of this exercise. To let myself go.
So further and further into the back streets of absurdity did this story travel. Until, I got to the point where I even had a two-headed archenemy whom I had accidentally made years before with my regenerative curse/ability. And how he and his henchmen wronged me and the world so sorely that I became a full-fledged avenger and I executed this vengeance by slapping these henchmen on the forehead and making genitalia sprout from their heads, followed by a fierce judo-chop right in their new, ungainly appendage which sent them to keel over in grotesque agony. And then they were forced to go through life with obnoxious penises attached to their foreheads. The End. That was it. Just as weird as could be. And of course, I didn’t make any bones about it. I simply regarded it as a surreal detour with the given story topic. With its completion, I turned around to mail it off to Lance. It was just a whacky tale between two guys with a warped bathroom humor twist at the end. I just needed Lance’s email. I found it in my inbox on something he had sent out to a group of people. I hit reply on the message. Copied my strange story to it. And then mashed ‘Send’. No explanation. No introduction. Only the title, “Your Limb Regeneration Story”. And I am sure that Lance would understand its content. What I didn’t foresee until it was all too late, was that it was being sent to everybody on the list serve. Many who would be at odds to make sense of the story. Like about 200 people or so. And every single one of them, except Lance, was probably really confused by this random, unexplained story from me about genitals growing out of people’s heads. I tell you, I was so embarrassed. I immediately sent a follow up to the story on the same list serve to recommend that people entirely disregard this story. That it was a clumsy faux pas on my part. And of course it had the ironic result that anything has when you tell people to not do something; they immediately become curious. So my weirdness was apparently known to all to my chagrin. And I thought all this while I had hid it pretty well.