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Losing Control

I was in a workshop one time where the teacher kept referring to fiction/plots/characters as coming from a "great Jungian subconscious pool", a never-ending stream any one of us could dip into. Using that illustration, this means there are stories drifting around out there waiting to be told, much the same as there are souls in heaven waiting to be born. It is only a matter of choosing where they will go.

When a story chooses us, we only need to follow it and be truthful in the telling of it, faithful in the translation. It seems to me as if it might be a little like being possessed, but in a good way. Relax and don't fight it, then write down whatever comes to mind. If you don"t try to control it, if you are "faithful" and "truthful", you will have a good story when you are done. Maybe a bit like the Nurture philosophy—there is no such thing as a bad story, only a writer who doesn't give an honest translation.

"This idea of a Jungian subconscious, of a pool of existing stories waiting to be told, suggests a letting go of control, tapping into your subsconsious, taking dictation from your Muse. Write down the thoughts of the moment. Those that come unsought for are commonly the most valuable." —Francis Bacon

"The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible."—Vladimir Nabakov

"The story I am writing exists, written in absolutely perfect fashion, some place, in the air. All I must do is find it, and copy it."—Jules Renard, "Diary," February 1895

"Play around. Dive into absurdity and write. Take chances. You will succeed if you are fearless of failure."—Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within

"You get your intuition back when you make space for it, when you stop the chattering of the rational mind. The rational mind doesn't nourish you. You assume that it gives you the truth, because the rational mind is the golden calf that this culture worships, but this is not true. Rationality squeezes out much that is rich and juicy and fascinating."—Anne Lamott

Dr. Seuss is a great example of letting your imagination run wild. If you haven't had the fun of reading There's a Wocket in my Pocket, see if you can borrow a copy. Here are the first few lines:

Did you ever have the feeling
there's a zamp in the lamp?
Or a nink in the sink?
Or a wozet in the closet?
Sometimes I'm quite certain
there's a jertain in the curtain.

Jabberwocky is a great example of losing control:

Here's my own example of losing control:

Prompt: "losing control":

Well, I'd like to lose control in the writing. It's been a long time since I've let the fiction flow.

It's like my mind is so muddy I don't have any clear vision of a story to tell. I have the ones I was working on and I can dimly see their outline, but I can't see enough to define the edges.

To lose control would be to give in to the characters, to follow them and tell their story as it unfolds without the stress of whether or not it follows a clear plot, if there's enough tension, or anything else. To just let them run and play and faithfully scribe it.

So how do I clear my vision? How do I unclog the murky conduit of fiction? It's like I need a roto-rooter. Writo-rooter.

Losing control in general means not worrying about what anyone else thinks, including myself. It means doing what comes to mind first without suppressing any urges. Not thinking about consequences. So what would a losing control in my writing look like? Dr. Seuss? Jabberwocky?

The green sky purled with dawn and covered the land with a fiendish glow. Anson stood and watched the valley, waiting with hope and patience for the lakdirnweh to show its face. Spires of blood red bingle trees cast wicked shadows all around and the wir crackled underfoot with each stealthy step.

Anson knocked his arrow and sighted down the ebony shaft, aiming true for the opening of the quartz caves. Drifts of steam issued forth, freezing and sparkling as they hit the air. It was there, slumbering in its burrow, senseless of the death that waited outside.

Twin suns rose behind the black peak turning the green air to gold. The lakdirnweh stirred and snuffled. He tucked his wings close against his back and held his breath, squinting in concentration. Now was the time to prove his Ooesidh. Then he would be accepted with the other Oosidhenn at the next council.

A flat bronze tail snaked out, the flecks of biztah glinting in the fresh light. Slowly, slowly, the lakdirnweh waddled backward from his hovel, then rose to his full height and stretched, his shimmering opal horns pointed to the moons of Giimon.

Anson stretched the bowstring back until it brushed the moepat on his collar. Alo, Dao, Tofo . ..Zing! Straight and true it arched thru the morning, burying itself deep between the shiny plates of biztah on the lakdirnweh"s back.

With a howl of agony, it clawed wildly at its back to free itself from the pain. Black oozed around the point of the arrow, welling, then flowing down to soak into the wir. The life force of the lakdirnweh dribbled slowly to the bosom of Vuosean and then it was done.

Anson spread his wings and stood straight as he watched the dileo rise from the lifeless body and rise toward Giimon, to the sky warriors that would welcome it home. When he could no longer see it, Anson lifted his voice in his zefin song, the song that would grace his victories ever after in this life.

He was Oosidhenn now.

Now you try. . .

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