The Truth Board

A Blog by the Editors of
The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

My Photo
Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Free Writing: Frustration in 500 Words

            So, here I sit, surrounded by crushed diet coke cans and the general disarray that I assure myself is simply the side effects of an active mind, though my roommate say that’s just the hammer on my tool belt of excuses for not cleaning. I’m standing toe to toe with one of my oldest and most despised enemies. My adversary stares me down, without fear, without mercy, without weakness. We meet again free writing.
            To understate the matter nearly to the absurd, I don’t enjoy free writing, especially here, now, in my pitch black room lit only by the faint glow of my aging, dying laptop, at 2:33 AM, unable to sleep, tasked with the duty of writing about the most ambiguous topic ever conceived by man: anything.
            People with only a limited knowledge of the inner workings of my frontal lobe might assume that an exercise in such extreme individual liberty is a refreshing unshackling from an otherwise mundane cycle of written assignments bound to a prompt. What kind of Rational Anarchist would I be if I didn’t enjoy more personal freedom over less? Such people are profoundly misinformed. Too many choices without even a hint of direction leaves me intellectually paralyzed. I simply have too many things to say.
            The conventional wisdom behind the free write is to let your thoughts run like pre-internet children through a field of unspecified plant life and write down whatever comes to mind. A few revisions and you should have something that is at least readable, and maybe even interesting. Not so with me. If I’m alone with my thoughts for too long, I start ranting about politics, religion, and the death of critical thinking. While that may be pleasurable and therapeutic for me, it’s puzzling to those who can’t follow my train wreck of thought and strident for those who can. A prompt, even a bad prompt, could give me the gentle push towards a manageable topic. Much to my chagrin, but not to my surprise, no such topic has presented itself.
            Why does free writing vex me so? After all, I like writing, and I like freedom. A combination of the two should be magical. And yet, like chocolate and ranch dressing, they’re two things that simply don’t mix well. Writing, if it’s good, should have a purpose, a direction, or at the very least a topic. Writing about nothing should be reserved for existential short stories and The Purpose Driven Life. Civilized people pick topics before they go wading through 500 words of prose. Not me. Not this time. This time I dive into the great unknown entirely unwilling, forcing myself to go deeper and deeper into the irrelevant, abstract, and the unreadable. Damn you free writing. You win this time, but I’ll be back. Back with substance, passion, and power channeled through words. Then you’ll rue the day you forced me to free write about free writing. Just you wait.



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home