Recently, I’ve noticed a renewed interest in the beat poets of the 1950s. Namely, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs, and Neal Cassady. The interest is not so much about their messages as it is about the spoken word delivered with or without music accompaniment. In other words, the revival of poetry readings popular in the 1960s.
The allure of these readings is the style of the writing. When the written word is spoken, it has a rhythmic quality. Beat poet, Allen Ginsberg described the style as “First thought, best thought.” In literary terms, the style is referred to as stream of consciousness.
I explored this narrative technique in a writing workshop. The subject matter of my exercise doesn’t even come close to the contemplative musings of the Beat poets. Or any other poet for that matter. It’s a simple stream of thought based on the given prompt which was someone infatuated with someone else at an audition for the leading lady role in local theater production.
Oh, my gosh, I’m so nervous; remember, he has no idea how I feel about him, he’ll never think I’m expressing my feelings for him so relax and get a grip, I need to channel my feelings into the character, if I don’t, I won’t get the part and won’t get the chance to hang out with him during rehearsals; he’ll give it to his regular leading lady, Janice, she’s been in the lead role for the past two productions when he’s been the director, maybe there’s something going on between them, but they don’t seem flirty when they are together, all business when they interact, and I’ve never seen them together outside of the theater, she’s never joined us after rehearsals or any other time we get together at the Irish Cue; where I fell head over heels for him, attracted by his charisma, he was so charming when we talked, especially when we talked about theater, remember he invited me to the audition for this production, I hope he doesn’t think I’ll sleep with him to get the part; That’s it, Janice is sleeping with him; that’s why she always get the lead roles; Oh my gosh, I have to stop psyching myself out about this audition.
The fun part of this technique is it is actually the internal voice in your mind. A friend once made a comment about how she maintains her dedication to daily exercise. She said she stops talking to herself about it. This perspective resonated with me because I’m constantly talking to myself. Hence the name of my blog, Idle Ramblings. Internal dialogue with myself is a part of everyday life from mental to-do lists to developing strategies to execute said list.
On the creative side, I find myself contemplating story ideas on a regular basis. These thoughts are usually prompted by various accounts I follow on social media. My mind drifts off pondering the what-if scenarios, which happens to be another creative writing drill. To continue the stream of consciousness exercise, I’m going to dictate my thoughts to see what comes out of them. Come back soon to see the results.