I’m Ann Linquist, freelance writer and online writing instructor. Whether you’re interested in writing fiction, creative nonfiction, or effective business documents, I invite you to explore this site and find out how to reach your writing goals.
We all live two lives. One life is the one where we are social creatures, interacting and being around other people. The other life is the one we have where no one is looking. It’s this second life that intrigues me since there is a definite freedom in being unobserved. We needn’t fear embarrassing ourselves or causing other people to raise their eyebrows and turn away.
I once had a very bad day where every single thing I tried to do fell apart. The computer froze up and stayed frozen all day, a disaster since I work online. The fish I cooked for supper tasted like a kid’s rubber boot left out in the sun. My spouse rather mindlessly suggested that I was never likely to have any meaningful success outside the home (and then he went to bed). I stuffed the disposal full of the coleslaw that neither of us had eaten, and the pipe under the sink exploded, shooting stinky cabbage all over the kitchen floor.
All alone, I carefully picked up a wooden kitchen chair and smashed it against the floor over and over and over until it was in pieces. This is quite out of character for me, since I am a fairly cheerful and nice person but then, I was all alone and fuck that shit!
So here you are, anonymous and posting as a lone human. Tell us about a time you took advantage of the freedom of being alone and did something you would never do in front of other people.
I would have picked 1967, but dang, that is such a cliche. So fill us in on your adventures. Where were you in 1970? What were you doing!
Peanut Beranski has convinced me we should all back up to the Lousy Idea posting and indulge in a competition for who has the lousiest idea. I put mine up, so now it’s your turn.
“And I’m afraid that we can no longer use your services since they are not a good match for the responsibilities of this position.”
I sat stock still. Yes, these two women I’d worked with for four years were firing me. No wonder my IN box had gotten so empty; it wasn’t because I was suddenly super-efficient.
“We’re sorry that the promotion to manager didn’t work out. You have a lot to offer, but not here, not now. It just wasn’t a good fit for you.”
This was the moment I should….
Okay, I couldn’t make my Monet Challenge work at all. What seemed like a really elegant and terrific idea, inspired by an Impressionist painter, turned out to be something that didn’t work in words. I am not a big fan of tricks in writing unless they are entertaining, and this one, though intellectually and theoretically intriguing, ended up being boring and a bit like navel gazing. (Me! Me! Me! My stuff! My insights! My cleverness!)
So let’s talk about lousy ideas. I’ve just owned up to one of mine. Let’s hear about a writing idea or piece that you tried that really tanked once you got into it. It might also help to hear what you learned from this kind of dead end. (I have several more, but now it’s your turn.)
Claude Monet, the Impressionist painter, was famous in part because he decided that it might be interesting to try painting one scene over and over but on different days, at different times of day, in different weather, but always from the same perspective. You might try Googling Monet’s “series paintings” to see what I mean. He did many of Rouen Cathedral and many of some haystacks. I’ve seen these in exhibit, and they are fascinating!
So why don’t we try that? Set yourself the task of picking one thing and writing a paragraph about it on day one, then another on day two, and so on.
It might help to pick something that has some special meaning for you. Or, it might be intriguing to pick something that means absolutely nothing to you. Follow Monet’s lead in that it may help to pick a different time of day, different lighting, or even different moods. I’d leave it in the same place so that you can explore what subtle differences arise and why.
I like this idea and hope to try one too.
Without meaning to offend anyone, I do claim that we mere mortals can also come up with a meaningful creation myth. Well, “myth” might be the wrong word, but how about taking a stab at answer this question: How did we get here?
Were gods sitting somewhere up very high, waving wands and creating the cosmos and our planet? Did an egg crack open and give birth to a variety of demigods who continually battle with each other for supremacy, while we mortals struggle to stay alive amid forces we don’t understand? Did some feisty amoeba get a bunch of friends together to organize a larger being? Did the eternal forces of lightness and darkness crash into each other, creating matter and ultimately human beings? Does a trickster god lurk in dark matter, waiting to pounce when we discover his/her existence? Did a comet hit a cooling rock and let loose little gremlins? Who was watching all this?
I often think much of fiction is about writing a version of the fables of old. Try one!