Have you ever done something, or thought something, you’re ashamed of?
Uncomfortable as it is, dredge up that memory. We’ll be using it for today’s exercise.
The purpose of our experiment is to demonstrate the effect on our conscious when we try to write something our unconscious doesn’t want written.
Find a place you feel safe. Sit by the fire, if you can, or if that’s not possible, have a shredder under your desk. You’ll want access to methods of rapid complete destruction.
Are you sitting uncomfortably? Good. Let’s begin.
Lay out your writing implements: pencil and paper are best.
Line up your method of destruction; fire or shredder, have it ready.
Now, write down that thing you’re ashamed of.
Oh, the fire? That’s so you can destroy the evidence before anyone could possibly see it. Removes any actual risk of embarrassment, of having this thought discovered once it’s written. At the slightest hint of intruders, toss it on the fire and behave as if nothing happened.
It’s just you and your writing.
You’re safe, right?
Go ahead. I’ll wait.
# # #
The act of putting something in writing conjures it from the ether and renders it real.
That’s how powerful your unconscious is: despite knowing you’ve already done or thought this shameful thing, if it’s not writ it’s not real.
Your unconscious will do all in its power to stop you bringing this painful thing into the material world. Its job, after all, is to protect you: dodging traffic, avoiding lightning, driving hunger and thirst.
What kind of savior would it be if it allowed you to scamper about, willy nilly, bringing into reality something as painful as that memory?
And yet, writing that evokes true emotion from readers comes, not from the head, the conscious, but from the heart, the unconscious; direct from the depths, unfiltered by fear.
And there’s your challenge: negotiating a truce with your unconscious to allow what’s in your heart to come out of your hands without your head interfering.
We’ll talk about that more next week, eh?