I am stumped almost every day, after all what fun would it be if we woke up with all of the answers spread in front of us, if we woke to see them smiling back from the creases of pillows or wrapped in the folds of blankets over us. If we went through the day without once scratching our heads or feeling like we just wanted to give up, for by pushing through the mysterious fog there are wonders to be seen and experienced if only we allow ourselves.
Whenever I am stumped in my writing, I usually just sit down for ten minutes, put the stop watch on, sit in front of the computer, my mind feeling debilitated with trepidation, wanting to run far away and do something else instead. After all, this isn’t what we’re meant to do, we’re meant to have all the answers by just thinking, thinking and thinking about them. But sometimes that just doesn’t cut it.
And so here I am just, writing, writing whatever comes to mind about this subject of being stumped as the clock counts down. And the thing it reminds me of is where inspiration comes from, where the treasures lie that blind and seduce us. The real answers lie somewhere just below the surface, swimming in the icy waters of fear, hidden in grand castles of joy on high mountains, somewhere wandering lost in the labyrinthine cities full of longing lovers, or reclining in faraway, golden fields of ecstacy drenched in warm summer rain, these are the places where the answers lie.
The conscious mind is the stern, overbearing headmaster, constantly watching over our shoulder with a cane and a frown, peering over his horn-rimmed glasses to see if we’re paying attention in class or pointlessly doodling and daydreaming at our desk. Ready to pounce, slapping the cane down hard and saying: ‘no you can’t write that! That sounds boring, or that sounds ridiculous! Nobody thinks like that!’ and if the unconscious, eternal child (for this child knows more, has been to more places, and remembers more), if they are feeling brave enough will put his foot down and his hands forward and say: ‘yes I can!, why can’t I run free like the wild dogs across fields burnished with purple and gold, why can’t I scale the towers of Gothic churches and fly across cities at night with my wings?’
These are the dreams that follow us, that guide us, the eternal, terrifyingly beautiful things that have always shadowed us. That if we allow ourselves to peek behind our hands, if we allow ourselves to follow them they will unlock endless lands of incomparable beauty. It will give us answers we never thought we had. Sometimes it will offer us nothing. Sometimes the headmaster will rule. But that’s okay because we visit that daydreaming, doodling child again and he will tell us, tell us all. Automatic writing frees us, it breaks the chains of normality and sense, the chains that enfold us and lead us through life day after nonsensical day.
And as this meandering Sunday continues, I continue to write one word at a time with no aim or path, my fingers day dreaming, letting the unconscious thoughts that inhabit each and every cell guide them while I take a few steps back and watch on from the auditoriums of my mind.
On the stage right now a phantom has just been unmasked, I look across to her and we smile together in this silent, absurd dream as the phantom disappears through the roof, the lights come back on and we are sitting in a city piazza, the companies play their song across the roof of the Roman buildings and we become crows soaring to an unwritten destinations.
If we dare to descend that dark elevator into the murky, subterranean depths from where dreams are born and fed, where absurdity is normal and normality absurd, we will find that the hollows of the mind are full of treasures. If only we let ourselves in and trust the darkness, crawl through the minefields and drown in its seas. I am a great believer in the unconscious, of following and chasing its dreams. It is where ideas are born, and solutions are made. For there somewhere in the horrible, primordial darkness are the brightest stars we will ever see.