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HONORING MY MOTHER | Automatic writing

I RECALLl back in first year college, our English teacher Mrs. Aida R. Ford, had introduced us to English 101’s Streams of Consciousness, a rambling style of writing where one included how you basically felt at the moment, while describing any situation.

Raw as I thought its outputs were, this particular narrative technique resembled for me a primordial soup of sorts, where you could also apply the use of any (or all) of the five senses as your basic ingredients in the process of cooking the elements of what, when, where, why and the how.

I guess this was the main reason why I loved to watch and listen to film documentaries so much later on in life. I remember the often-unseen TV commentators of old who expertly crafted rich syncs of words and images that lulled me to sleep, so much that I thought, I’ll write like them one day.

A parade of mentors and idols had followed since then, and they had become instrumental in imprinting into my writing the importance of images. Just as I was taught, I began to treat the blank paper (or LED screen now) as one would an empty canvas propped on an easel, a space to make art.

(So, that’s it in a nutshell. Here ends my short sharing for a dear friend; on how she could squeeze out like toothpaste that intangible mess of wire-like wild ideas one has got stuck in one’s head. I hope this inspires you, and everyone else, to spice up your diaries more.)

For the rest of us however, expressing what’s in one’s head need not feel like a chore, especially now for fellows who are in the middle of a dry spell. Long before Aida Ford and long before the stream of consciousness bit, I had already been familiar with a similar style in mid-high school.

Back then, during one summer art workshop under the late Nida Alcoseba, I had come into contact with a surreal visual artist who drew weird artwork for what later became Jingle magazine. He had termed it automatic writing. No thinking, no periods or commas, just an endless flow of anything goes.

Some might even treat it as junk (I knew then about Dylan’s book, Tarantula). He said that this was really how the mind worked. As the brain later processes everything into logical sequences, that conscious effort thereby ruins the beauty of the chaos within our heads. Ookey, I thought, I’ll just go along with this guy and his crazy idea.

It had been a few years later (post-Ford) when I realized he had been right. So, whenever I’m in the middle of writer’s block, I write junk. Gibberish mumbo jumbo and lots of doodles. I even slip in an onscreen game of solitaire or two. Because who cares? The more junk I put in, the more I’m going to put out. I am sure of it. I am reminded of that humble civet. From his output comes the most delicious coffee.

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