When I’m faced with writer’s block I frequently turn to a classic mode of writing “Stream of Consciousness” to help process what I’m looking to say or to say what I want sans auto-judgment and being Pride Month(1) and with St Louis Pride just passed it felt like a good time to present my first SoCT post.
I discovered this style years ago when reading a wiki page about Finnegans Wake for which I’m pretty sure I was following up a lead in my on-and-off again House of Leaves analysis project(2) and again I ran across it when I met a friend of a friend over facebook (we never met in real life but we spent lots and lots of time talking in the year 2010, he was one of the few writer friends I’ve managed to make a connection with, unfortunately it wasn’t quite over our mutual enjoyment of language rather it was a bonding over a woman(3). However he used to write these really long (1000+ word) SoCT soliloquies that were a real joy to read. Most of the time.
Then I got into a situation this spring where I was reading both Mrs. Dalloway and Infinite Jest at the same time and I got a real taste for the past and present of the style. For those of you who haven’t read Mrs. Dalloway: it’s a challenge. Its a story about a lady, Mrs. Dalloway, planning to throw a party and the general going ons of her day. The fun part is that Woolf jumps from narration to internal monologue to a new pov character to a different part of town and back and back again without paragraph breaks or other indicators to tell the reader “HEY I’M CHANGING GEARS NOW”. On the other hand Infinite Jest is much more clear with formatting choices but it has its fun too with its 100 or so pages of footnotes and subsidized time both act as deeply disengaging elements to the story, if I remember right DFW mentioned he liked using these elements to keep the reader just one the outside of the story like a frequent reminder that the reader is engaging in a story that is uneven and sometimes non-linear similarly to how stories form in life rather than a polished beginning to end narrative that can be consumed with a lack of discernment challenging the reader to question what the story is about which I began to interpret less like DFW challenging the reader and more DFW asking the reader for help to discover the actual meaning of the story. Whether it was a story about the pursuit of happiness in America or an examination of consumer culture or a eco-political statement about how we as a species handle pleasure.
I really don’t have a good conclusion for this one this week folks. However I do have a few announcements:
- Stickers coming soon!
- The next book on my reading list: Albert Camus’s “The Stranger”.
- I have less that 100 days (96 to be precise) until I leave for England!
If you liked this remember to subscribe and share. If you have book recommendations, feelings (strong or weak, your choice) on Stream of Consciousness style, or just want to tell me about the really strange thing your cat did this weekend, please leave a comment. I really enjoy audience participation and look forward to reading and replying to your comments. Thanks and remember: Never be afraid to have pride in who and what you are.
Footnotes & Errata:
- Etymologically speaking, June is an interesting month to be Pride since it comes from the word “lunonis” meaning “of June” in reference to the Roman Goddess Juno who is mother protector of community, youth, vigour, combat, &c.
- Of those who know about the project, I am still working on it albeit slowly still no ETA on completion though. However the major setbacks of that project have been addressed (women, whiskey, and worries).
- These sort of “heartbreak bro-mance” relationships seem to be a common thread over the years with me. At least three guys I’ve made friends with was due to the mutual acquaintance of a woman whom has broken both of our hearts to different degrees. None of these relationships have lasted longer than a year. Just like the rest of my relationships. How do I relationship?
Picture source: Dream Theater – Train of Thought