Brain-Free Writing

Quite often of late I begin a daily post with no ideas in my head of what the post is even going to be about. The pre-writing technique is known among English teachers and writing teachers as free-writing. But it is basically writing with a completely empty skull.

Of course, I don’t mean that literally. The skull in the picture is not mine, and the completely empty skull of which I speak is not the one in the picture. (That is really a ceramic aquarium decoration for scaring your tropical fish.)

What I did was simply start an essay without any direction or plan in mind, going wherever the insanely creative part of my brain led me. So, I started with the picture of the fairy girl sleeping instead of doing her writing. That led me to the notion that she was supposed to be writing just as I was supposed to be writing, but she had an empty mind just as I had an empty mind at that moment. So, the light bulb suddenly went on over my head. And then I managed to turn it off again before gravity made it fall down on my head so that it would merely bonk my brain and not also set my old gray hair on fire. And then I wrote down the title that the jumble of associatively challenged details inspired in me, “Brain-Free Writing.”

Steven Q. Urkel

So, then, when the initial surge of notions subsided, I resorted to another Paffooney picture, this time of an old TV character with obviously defective but plentiful brain activity. I selected this old drawing from my WordPress gallery because I often identify with Urkel. I am awash in a world of ideas unique to me, and incapable of smoothly integrating into polite society because of random massive brain farts and social awkwardnesses.

And the Urkel picture inspired me to do a comparison paragraph. Dilsey Murphy here is a character from my own novels who is also brainy and somewhat socially awkward. She, however, is different in her fundamental character make-up from Steve Urkel in that when she turns serious about her goals, in spite of shyness and awkwardness, she gets to the point of what she wants to accomplish, and she doesn’t mess up in the way that Urkel does. She has an underlying practicalness that Steve lacks. I am like her in many ways. In fact, it is that very practicalness that led me to start from nothing and churn out this finished essay.


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