Day Nineteen: Don’t Stop the Rockin’
Today is a free writing day. Write at least four-hundred words, and once you start typing, don’t stop. No self-editing, no trash-talking, and no second guessing: just go. Bonus points if you tackle an idea you’ve been playing with but think is too silly to post about.
I want you to let it all hang out. So does writer Anne Lamott. At the risk of turning Writing 101 into an Anne Lamott fan club, no one motivates me the way she does. Every time you sit down to write and think your idea is too stupid, too uninteresting, too random, or too unoriginal to be committed to the page, let Anne give you a gentle but firm nudge:
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.
Don’t look at your feet to see if you are doing it right. Just dance.
Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people.
I don’t think you have time to waste not writing because you are afraid you won’t be good at it.
You’ll never feel so good about writing down every half-baked non-sequitur that comes out of the recesses of your lizard brain. And if you’re tempted to reply, “That’s easy for her to say, she’s a famous writer!” I give you:
I know some very great writers, writers you love who write beautifully and have made a great deal of money, and not one of them sits down routinely feeling wildly enthusiastic and confident. Not one of them writes elegant first drafts. All right, one of them does, but we do not like her very much.
Four-hundred words. One at a time. Go.
For an extra prompt I used, The Writer’s Block: a 786 paged book filled with photos, writing prompts and ideas… the prompt I picked is at the end of this tale. Please read the story first.
I don’t think I have ever known the house to be this quiet. Come to think of it, I don’t think I have ever known any place in my lifetime to have been this quiet. As I walk from room to room, I pick up sounds that must have always been there, but I’ve never been given the chance to take that much notice of them.
In the kitchen there is the soft humming of the fridge freezer, while in the front room there is the sound of the clock ticking. I have always wanted one of those clocks that chimes or one that has a cuckoo clock that pops out on the hour. Maybe now I can.
As I step into the backroom, I can hear the birds chirping in the garden, It would be nice to know which birds are making which noise; maybe later, now I have more time on my hands I could get a book from the library and find out just which birds visit the garden. I think you can get a tape that lists all the birdsongs, maybe that would be better.
As I take to the stairs, I am reminded of the creak the third step always makes followed by the seventh and tenth. Over the years I have thought how easy it would be to fix it, to hammer a nail in. I look at the nail-file in my hand; I’d forgotten I was still gripping it so tight. If I had a hammer I would fix those stairs right now. I would really hammer those nails in so the stairs never made another sound ever again.
Instead I’ll put it off for another time, for now I’m just really enjoying the near silence of the house as it talks back to me. The bathroom has its own way as much as the rest of the rooms in the house. Here it’s the dripping tap, it’s been like that for as long as I can remember. There is a big yellow stain where the water has dripped over the years. Makes you think what is really in the water that would cause such a stain.
The back bedroom looks over the gardens. Our garden faces another garden at the back. In all this time I have never met my neighbour. There have been times I’ve seen her pottering about when I’ve been up here, but she has never looked up. I have often made up stories in my head about who she is. Sometimes she’s married with a handsome husband and five beautiful children, on other occasions I see her as a spinster, having never met the love of her life, always dreaming of the one; and then I think that she’s trapped as I had been for so many years. On those days I shudder.
As I walk into the front bedroom, I smile at the sunlight as it streams through the windows. I have never liked this bedroom but today it feels so much nicer, quieter. In here the only sound I can hear is my breathing which is so much calmer now. I look onto the bed and see what I had to do to make the house a better, quieter place. I walk over to the side of the bedside cabinet, with one eye on the bed just in case, I carefully place the nail-file into the drawer, sit on the edge of the bed and pick up the phone.
“Hello, I would like to talk to the police.”