I find that I’m limiting my writing. As I meet people, as they learn I’m a writer, as I learn that they are reading or will read or have read something I’ve tossed out there, it now shapes who I am, what I write about, what observations and opinions I am wiling to speak out loud or voice on the internet.
Back in the day, when nobody read what I wrote, I doodled about this, that, and the other, about who I met today or the absurdity of what happened today or who and what had offended me or the problem with society or the underlying encouragement at a stoplight. I just wrote.
I’ve got to get back to that. I’ve begun a new practice, literally a writing practice. It’s timed writing, streams of consciousness, never stop moving, don’t think just write, go-go-go until the timer stops. Natalie Goldberg is the expert on this practice, this discpline that is said to unlock all other thoughts – all the first thoughts, actually.
Maybe this stream of consciousness is the key. Or the first step. I’ve got to find that unfiltered voice again.
Like, I’d really like to write about the wizard who came to Tyler’s class today on the last day. I’d like to write about his wrinkled neck, his medical scrubs patterned with stars and moons. His cape. The banner that hung behind him. His gravelly voice. How he shouted his magic words like a charismatic TV preacher. “Live, dead fish! LIVE!”
But the teachers might read it and think I don’t appreciate their every effort to include creative cultural pieces into my son’s education. It’s not that. And I don’t want to risk that. It’s just that he was a weird wizard.
He gave them coloring sheets of his face. He said, “Color my nose any color you want, just not red. Why? Because I’m not a clown. I’m a wizard.”
Tyler’s leaned over and whispered to me: “I’m coloring his nose red.”
(My ten minutes are up.)