They say: “you are what you eat”, which basically means, in the context of this post: ‘you get out what you put in’. That’s true for most folk – unfortunately, or not as the case may be – I am not ‘most folk’. I’m writing still, but life has a way of making that a bloody hard thing to do at times. External pressures, commitments and worries all combine into some ‘ultimate-force’ doing its best to scramble my creative whims before they’ve even flashed across the dank, echoing space behind my eyes and become a ‘thing’.
They say: “destruction breeds creativity”; or something like that, at least. They also say: “think outside the box”. They say…lots of things. I don’t need a ten-step check-list from some coffee-morning-mummies writing group to realise that at the moment my writing is starting to suck. I’ve fallen into the old self-made trap of spending too much time and thought on ‘the one’ project that is my main focus – to it’s detriment. In my last post, I wrote about the need to keep applying myself – this is still true, I just need to alter the dosage a little – and maybe have some less serious, or time-consuming things to tinker with on the side as a distraction.
I’ve decided to set myself the task of posting at least once a week about things that I’ve come across on the internet; using them as prompts for writing exercises where I just go with the flow, as it were. I hope by allowing myself to throw something up now and then – that’s not some intricate piece of punk mythology – but disposable in nature, and that my internal critic won’t brutally assassinate before I’ve even finished writing it – I can increase and enhance my productivity (recently that guy has been holding far too much sway over my work; it’s time to take the power back). That seems to be the main issue at the moment: concentration. On a good day I’ve written maybe 2000 words in the past, which, for first draft quality are pretty bloody good (even by my draconian standards). On a bad day I’m almost retching as I force out a meagre handful of corruption in vile-looking strands that are something akin to sentences.
So, what I’m seeking is some sort of middle ground between the highs and lulls, where I’m in a productive mind-set, able to bang-out 1000 words at a time. That shouldn’t be too hard to nail – this little enforced exercise I’m undertaking will, I hope, lubricate some of the blockages, sharpen me up and help to snare the unexpected. So – let us throw wide the doors of perception…
This is what I hit first:
An article about on/off post hip-hop crazies Death Grips, and some grainy live footage they’d recently released.
That started me off; I followed up with, and then settled, on this:
After which I wrote this, the first (hopefully) in a series I’m dubbing ‘Behind My Eyes’:
The sonic assault mind-fucks me. My brain is jack-hammered into submission beneath a tattooed crescendo of industrial brutality; techno-terrorists have cracked into my safe thoughts with their crazy, discordant thunderous fuzz – this blitzkrieg of sound…duh…duh…duh. My consciousness wobbles violently beneath the undulating walls of noise, my gut lurches and I drape a hot cider and chow mein sock over the shoulder of some teeny-bopping pop queen – all flowers in her hair, tanned skin and shuffling feet. This is not her space to degenerate. She was not born for such audio carnage. Why then, does she wail so loudly when the barbarians of noise fuck her shit up? All I can think of is Carrie, the Stephen King film; a girl covered in blood – and I realise I have no mortality (or morality) left; drained of all being, energy and seemingly, of substance – I float out of the pulsing, throbbing reeking warmth cocooned beneath the great carapace of the tent, out into the cool, cool, deep cool dark of the evening, to drink it all in.
I settle by the wayside as the feckless, the mindless, the shirtless and the shameless stream past on their stunted, shambling mud-blessed pilgrimages to who-knows-where? A gibbous moon swells in the sky above me and I slink back into the welcoming grass, on the fringe of all things, blinking out of the darkness like some feral creature, semi-aware that any number of wordless horrors may have been discarded beneath me by the fluttering, gurning, grinning insects swarming across this enclave of youth. I care not, and stare instead at the moon’s pulsing filament, insects battering against its scuffed plastic sheen. The bass from the tent throbs through the air, seeking me out; side-winding through the strata of tightly packed aromas and vapours coalescing into something viscous; cooking foods, dope smoke and the prevailing undercurrent of raw sewage that lingers close to the ground. A bittersweet melange, I reflect, as I draw it all in.
The moon above has begun to bore me – so I launch myself in the direction of a string of planets whose sonorous luminescence reverberates with the drainpipe-twang of electric didgeridoo; beneath them strange space-folk of many colours, twist and throb like a happy throng of Keith Haring characters. Whistles whittle at the air, which has assumed the properties of plastic – everything vibrates as one – the sound moving so seamlessly along through it that it strikes everything in unison. I stumble into a grassy shadow sprayed with glowing blooms of cow parsley, swaying in the breeze behind an ice-cream van; oblivious to this mad, wonderful schism of unbridled sensation and connection somewhere in England at the solstice of summer. This little patch – my ink-blue oasis in a sea of sound – becomes sovereign territory. History unfolds beyond its borders, in the nightshade shadows of a field in evening, I watch from outside time: the space strung with snake-lights, writhing and jostling above trails of bright grottos, people surging to-and-fro like the blood and chemicals within their veins. The ice-cream van is all to me; a bastion of sobriety. The cool of the earth rises up through my body, infusing with me, talking me out of the clouds back down to the good, moist earth. Travellers lost – and emissaries from far-away places hail me – King of the little hill – as they stride past towards ghettos of pleasure within this grand sway of vespertine revelry. I wave them by; on they go, unbridled. The rattle of the ice-cream van’s generator and the rhythmic nocturnal sigh of this ancient Isle help solidify the scenes before me. Seconds later I’m standing, blowing out Silk-Cut smoke thanks to my silver tongue; smiling and thanking unknown Samaritans with sun-scarred bodies peeling away at the shoulders; eyes pooled like liquid satin – and they slowly rove away – him leading her with frail tattooed arms into the night, smoke and throbbing aethers.
I turn on a six-pence; my Converse squeak like bats on the cellophane blades of grass beneath, spun into dirt. The madness is behind me now; the pulse and throb warps over the heads of ten thousand people, pushing the sound higher as the heat from their bodies rises into the stagnant sky. The melody is worn into separate threads, distorted by the distance, teased-out tatters reassembled beyond the mass into ghosts of song and sound. It follows me, for a way – as I flirt along the inside of a hedge, towards a blot of trees daubed across the silver screen of the sky – and then it floats away o’er bovine fields and dusky woods, towards some foreign star, to be sometime forgotten, yet happy, a memory. I fall into the welcoming stillness of my tent, and sleep the sleep of a god on earth.