Friday, October 23, 2009

S is for...

Stream of Consciousness

You know, that idea of writing whatever enters your head at that moment, in an effort to replicate the way in which the human brain flits around all over the place, and was popular with writers like Joyce and Woolf. I once thought about renting Ulysses from a library to read it but I never did. I remember I was in Cardiff University library with a friend called Gareth, and I was hungover, and we were going to creative writing, which I did for two years, but for some reason I never did actually rent Ulysses out. We were the only two males in that creative classing, I think, so it was an odd set up but good fun. The first thing we were ever asked to write for that course was a piece of steam of consciousness prose and I did mine on a train journey I had done, when I went home from Cardiff to Cornwall. I can still remember it now, the train journey, the sun piercing the carriage, the mild hangover emanating from my skull, the cold, damp BLT sandwich I had bought, listening to Grace by Jeff Buckley on my CD player. CD players? A different era.

Written steam of consciousness still doesn't capture the true reality of the human mind as really it's unconsciousness that happens to you as you're wandering around, sitting on a bus, or whatever because that's when you don't even know where your mind is, why it's jumping from one subject to another; like that moment when you say 'oh what was I talking about?' or when you dimly try to remember something you've just been thinking about, that has passed on, but you don't feel you full got to the bottom of, often something that was a bad thing, a worrying thing, that you needed to think about more fully.

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