Day Two Hundred and Seventy Five: Automatic Writing In Practice

A few days ago I mentioned how I wrote a poem using a kind of automatic writing that we’d been instructed to do in my creative writing class. What follows is exactly what I wrote in that class (ok, that’s a lie, it’s been edited a tiny wee bit but not in a drastic way) and will almost certainly form the basis of a longer piece of fiction for my portfolio.

I asked her what she was thinking.
“The crack in the ceiling scares me. I don’t know what it will bring.”
Such an obscure statement demanded and answer but I had none. I could only reflect.
“Aren’t you going to say something?”
“I don’t know what to say. It’s a crack. I’ll call a plasterer.”
“It’s sinister.”
“That’s what Ginsberg would say.”
I flashed her a smile, she failed to reciprocate. Crossing the room and reaching high up into to our white bookcase, she produced a leather bound version of a book I knew would be familiar.
“If you’re going to quote Ginsberg to me, you better tell me which poem it’s from.”
I sat down in the chair next to her and she handed the book down to me. I took it and, without opening it, placed it on the table.
“It’s from ‘America’. ‘Burroughs is in the Tangiers. I don’t know if he’ll come back. It’s sinister’. The whole poem is sinister. Didn’t you know?”
“I don’t care, that crack is sinister. It’s evil.”
She glanced at the crack in the corner of the ceiling. It extended out toward the centre of the room like a morbid vein, white paint flaking away around the edges, revealing flecks of blue, yellow, gray and green, telling stories from the past, hinting at the lives that were here before us, quietly suggesting that we compare ourselves. Are we better? Worse? More or less dysfunctional? One kid? Two kids, four? None at all.
I agreed with her. It’s sinister.
“Alright. It’s sinister. I agree.”
She looked at me and smiled. I had no idea why.
“Are you sure you’re not just saying that to appease me?”
She crossed the room and sat in my lap. I took the cigarettes that were hanging out of her back pocket, like always, opened the carton and sparked one.
“No. It’s sinister. Ginsberg would have a field day.”


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