Which Thoughts Are Your Own?

Which Thoughts Are Your Own?

by C. E. Poley

We often find ourselves struggling to define how we feel both inside our selves and outside. We struggle to find methods that express our thoughts and emotions, such as writing, painting, making music, mathematics, astronomy, and countless other things humans do. It is not easy to express the self with clarity. We are told every day by  American media that we have many outlets to express ourselves. Most of the time we are told that our ‘Self’ is related to some product, food consumption, or beauty standard. Most of the time, we are told, “Buy this product to express the real you!” That is not the way to know ourselves, for that is never who we were. That was not the truth in the hour of our birth, drenched in blood and desperate for clean air, when we were just us before anyone else told us what to be.

One of my best friends asks me on a frequent basis, “Which thoughts are your own?” This is a query that haunts me, as it should. Which thoughts are spurred by external sources? Which thoughts belong to my parents, their legacy and nurture, stuck in my brain as my own? Which thoughts come from my genetics? Which thoughts are my own? It is not  external sources. Our own thoughts are not the constant stream of processing that occurs in our brains, processing interactions with other human beings, words that were exchanged, television that was watched, music that was listened to, books that were read, text exchanges and social media discussions. None of that is ours. It is the world’s. It is our society’s. We must deal with it. If we never face it, it will be a distracting tsunami in the back of our minds. We will never rest.

We must find out where we stand, where the me in all of the world is. Not how we relate to the world, but rather separate from it, who are we? Who are you, separate from the world around you? When you stand still, alone with yourself, who are you? (Alone here has strict criteria; you are not alone if you hold a pet or play music or watch TV or read a book. You are with the other humans who made those things. They are there.)

Agnes Martin, an American writer born in 1932, said another thing on aloneness and self-awareness that struck me when I read it:

“We have been very strenuously conditioned against solitude. To be alone is considered to be a grievous and dangerous condition.

So I beg you to recall in detail any times when you were alone and discover your exact response at those times.

I suggest to artists that you take every opportunity of being alone, that you give up hope of having pets and unnecessary companions.

You will find the fear that we have been taught is not just one fear but many fears. When you discover what they are they will be overcome. Most people have never been alone enough to feel these fears. But even without the experience of them they dread them.

I suggest that people who like to be alone, who walk alone will perhaps be serious workers in the art field.”

One of the most powerful things about NaNoWriMo is that it truly just encourages people to ask themselves that question. “Which thoughts are your own?” Asks NaNoWriMo. “Tell us. Write a novel. You can do it. Do not stop writing.” A powerful message that every year, expands to a larger audience.

Friends, do not stop writing. It is one of the purest forms of self-expression and is a healthy outlet for your thoughts. (Listen to another great piece on writing by David Foster Wallace) Ask yourself which thoughts belong to you. Please share your internal journey and your thoughts with the world, if you are bold enough. If more of us ask this important question, we all come closer to real discovery and healthy awareness of our true selves.

Ridiculous, curious, most likely delirious.

I love a great story, whether it comes in the form of words or visual stimuli. I believe everyone has a story to tell, and I love to share mine.

Please feel free to read along, comment, share your own stories, or send me a message via the contact page. Thanks for your time reading my words.

Continue Reading

National Novel Writing Month 2k14 :: Writing Style

By C. E. Poley

Participant-2014-Web-Banner

One of the things you discover during National Novel Writing Month (which I have sometimes participated in since 2008) is what kind of a writer you are. What I mean by that is, you discover all kinds of things about the ways that you like to write. For example, what your methods are, what your personal physical writing zones are, what your favorite writing spot is, what your favorite genre to write in is, how you write ideas down, whether it be digitally or by hand, etc. Everyone learns something new about themselves as a writer. Because truly, anyone has the potential to be a writer. It is just about what kind of writer you are. (And in some ways, everyone is their own kind of writer.)

To be honest with myself, and with you, I am a lazy writer. That is to say, I do most of my writing in my head and in tiny spurts in my Notes app on my iPhone. I will go for a day or two without writing a word for the intended piece, and then BOOM (like right now) it is time to gather all those tiny notes (mental or digital) and get started. This year, I have had to admit to myself that I must be a more disciplined writer. NaNoWriMo has all kinds of fun lessons.

I wrote nothing Day 1, but on Day 2 got in ~7300 words, a decent accomplishment. It was word vomit, but it was something. Nothing on Days 3 and 4. This morning, I got up and pounded out another ~1200 words, leaving me barely shy of the goal I should be at this morning when I sit down to write. I am the writer who waits in the shadows of my story before I flesh out the details and definitions. I must court and tease characters and plots in my mind, and then sit down and paint the real picture on the page. I must admit to myself that I shall sit down to write when I am good and ready. I am disciplining myself to follow through on that promise during NaNoWriMo.

No writer should beat themselves up because they cannot write 1,667 fresh words every single day. If you can’t write that day because you had to be at work early, go to exercise class, vote at the polls, and then pick up your guy from work, don’t guilt trip yourself. It won’t help your creative process. Let your brain relax. Just meditate on your story and your characters to keep yourself motivated and creating, keeping all of the story rolling around in your brain cavity. It has not yet been one week. We are all a mass of writers together, creating something each on our own but also creating an atmosphere around the globe.

I do not know what I write this month, because it seems to be a jumble of a lot of stories rolled into one, stories that I believed I never wanted to tell anyone that may be one great fiction for everyone. Who knows what will come of November 2k14? It could be the healthiest NaNoWriMo I’ve ever done. It has the most potential. What about you? Tell me about the potential for your NaNoWriMo 2k14, and connect with me on the NaNo site.

Ridiculous, curious, most likely delirious.

I love a great story, whether it comes in the form of words or visual stimuli. I believe everyone has a story to tell, and I love to share mine.

Please feel free to read along, comment, share your own stories, or send me a message via the contact page. Thanks for your time reading my words.

Continue Reading

8 Ways Camping Enriches Your Life

Camping can enrich your life

If you have a moment today, please hop over to Medium and enjoy my latest piece for them. John Muir said it best when he claimed, “In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.” It’s quite true. Thanks for tuning in, friends.

Ridiculous, curious, most likely delirious.

I love a great story, whether it comes in the form of words or visual stimuli. I believe everyone has a story to tell, and I love to share mine.

Please feel free to read along, comment, share your own stories, or send me a message via the contact page. Thanks for your time reading my words.

Continue Reading