Monday, October 4, 2010

Stream of Consciousness


I like Stream of Consciousness writing. I like the way it makes associative leaps, and dissects the mental process. I like it, but I can’t write it. The closest I’ve come is with a character called Macquarie. I wrote the dialogue and action when I was sober, and the Stream of Consciousness when I’d had a few. Reading it back later I didn’t know whether to be more concerned for my character’s mental state or mine. Still, it was an interesting experiment.


The problem with Stream of Consciousness, for me, is that my consciousness isn’t a stream. It’s more that squelchy mess you get in the yard when you forget to turn the sprinkler off. And don’t get me started on my subconsciousness. It doesn’t flow, it doesn’t make associations, and it isn’t particularly evocative. Here was some I wrote on nightshift:

Three hours until the shift ends, and now the phones are ringing again. That ad with the blue eyeball balloon and the heart, what’s that selling? The air-conditioning is too cold. Katrina’s back from her break, and she looks really tired. I think I’ve lost my keys. No, they’re in my other pocket. There is something sticky on the floor. I hope it rains tomorrow. I can’t remember that word for how the ground smells after the rain. It’s something to do with loam. I like the way that bitumen and tin smell just before the rain. It’s sort of metallic, and sort of sweet. You smell that, feel the anticipation, then the rain hits – kaboom. Oh, it’s for an optometrists. What the hell does a heart have to do with optometry? If I take my shoes off – shut up 203, I need to give out his urgent job to the other crew– I’ll have to put my socks on and I don’t want them to get dirty. Sometimes I’m sick of this job. I wish that bookshop in Flinders Street hadn’t closed. I want to check out that one on Charters Towers Road. Maybe I’ll do that in the morning if I’m not too tired. Wonder what time it opens. I need to pee soon. The psych ward is useless. 295’s gonna be stuck up there for hours. Can’t the doctors just sedate the guy? There’s a sword on TV. Looks old. I think I need to go to the dentist. I’ll wait til I have leave. Now it’s a guy with statues. Maybe it’s Antiques Roadshow. I’m tired. I’m going to take my shoes off. How come I never had any relatives leave me expensive stuff? That’s an ugly vase.

 Ten minutes in my Stream of Consciousness, and you’ll be screaming for a lifeboat.  

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