3 Reasons to Write Stream of Consciousness Narrative

Stream-of-consciousness narrative can sound pretty intimidating, especially when it brings to mind being tortured with Faulkner during your high school or college years. You remember reading passages like this, right?

…you might go up into maine for a month you can afford it if you are careful it might be a good thing watching pennies has healed more scars than jesus and i suppose i realise what you believe i will realise up there next week or next month and he then you will remember that for you to go to harvard has been your mothers dream since you were born and no compson has ever disappointed a lady and i temporary it will be better for me for all of us and he every man is the arbiter of his own virtues but let no man prescribe for another mans wellbeing and i temporary and he was the saddest word of all there is nothing else in the world its not despair until time its not even time until it was

The last note sounded.

~The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner

Stream of Consciousness

Photo by Chris Willis

Now, you probably did one of two things there: 1) Jumped right into the passage, trying to puzzle out which part of the story it was from and what this particular passage was talking about; or 2) Read a couple lines in and then let your eyes glaze over and skipped down to see what kind of point I’m making.

Well, here it is:

 1. Get into your characters’ heads.

Stream-of-consciousness narrative can be a good way to really, really get into your characters’ heads, to see what makes them tick, to see how they got from a conversation about oranges to a recollection of a childhood trip to the zoo.

 2. Flesh out a child-like whimsy.

Ever seen the movie Up? Doug is a typical dog, except for having the ability to talk. He commonly gets distracted by squirrels or weird scents. Your characters can get distracted and trail off, interjecting “Squirrel!” or something better suited to the situation. This is a technique James Joyce used to great effect.

 3. Use it to show when something is wrong.

Perhaps the passage above from Faulkner looks like something from the mind of someone with a brain injury. It works that way, doesn’t it? Stream-of-consciousness narrative can reflect disorientation in many forms, from just waking from a nap to a car accident victim.

Why don’t we give it a try!

PRACTICE

Let’s try writing stream-of-consciousnessly today. And for those still uncertain, feel free to not follow Faulkner to a T. Use punctuation, use full-sentences, but flesh out what your character is thinking and feeling.

Write about that character of yours that still seems a little bit of a mystery to you. What would they do if they were in a room full of people, but tuning everyone else out.

Write for fifteen minutes of 250 words, and post your practice in the comments when you’re finished.

And if you post, be sure to comment on a few others.

Here’s my practice, about thirteen-year-old Sam. She’s a little dramatic and silly, but then, she’s thirteen.

*********

On days like today, sitting two desks away from the big window doesn’t help. The view’s much nicer from this room. Last year was a dreary gray driveway. On rainy days, there would be squiggly lines of dead worms scattered all over it. It was like the muddy trenches of Normandy or some such place. Except with worms, of course.

But this year! This year there’s a line of trees! Someone said that the person who lived in the house on the other side planted them ages ago because they didn’t want to look at and listen to all us kids. We’re not that bad looking. Maybe they didn’t want to see the dreary defeated worms.

But the trees have so much scope for the imagination – they’ve grown quite a lot and today the sun is out. There’s a little squirrel out there…wonder if he’s gathering food for his family? What if a hawk swooped in right now and just snapped him up by the scruff of his neck? His poor family would all cry little acorny tears. Acorny tears?

I smile, but not enough to give away that I’m doing working on homework. Refocusing on a patch of sky, I wonder if I’ll ever get to see water precisely that shade of blue, besides in the pictures in magazines that lie around the house. One day I’ll travel the world, exploring nooks and crannies. Obsolete nooks and crannies. Wait, not obsolete, ah, the other word. Ob-, ob-, ob-…Well, anyway, in some wayside bookstore or coffee shop, I was bound to meet some beautiful, young, foreign man with a passion for books and a heart for music and he’ll sweep me off my feet and we’ll see Paris and the Taj Mahal and New Zealand and-

“Pst! Sam! Stupid!”

 

About Danielle Duvick

  • Stream of consciousness – Nathan

    So I really should be helping the guys sort out this problem but I’m too worried about Jake to listen to what Hank is saying. Why does my brother have to be such a stubborn stupid ass? Why did I push him away like that, I knew he was feeling vulnerable but I just couldn’t bring myself to let him know how I was feeling, just lashed out and now he’s gone. Okay, maybe it wasn’t all my fault, I can’t be watching him 24/7, he’s a grown man and responsible for his own actions…

    But maybe if I’d been paying more attention he wouldn’t have just taken off like this. I mean, no word from him for weeks and that really isn’t like him at all. Every other time he was away, even when we’d argued, he’d always come round within a few hours and then he’d ring or text me every day just to see how I was doing. He was always there if I needed him, day or night and I don’t know what to do with him gone.

    Oh come on Nate, pull yourself together! You are moping around like a lovesick teenager who’s been dumped, instead of a grown up with a life of your own to live and work to do that Jake just abandoned – and why the hell did he run off when he knows he might well hold the key to all this mess?

    Damn it, Jake. Where the hell are you?

    • Marianne Vest

      That’s interesting. It allows you to say how Nathan is feeling, but still kind of tell a narrative back story.

    • I hope Jake comes home soon but something tells me that isn’t meant to be. Well written!

    • It’s very interesting how Nate seems to go back and forth between blaming his brother and then blaming himself for not being patient enough. I like how there’s the sibling relationship, but there also seems like something more, because he’s not just the left-out brother, but the “lovesick teenager,” which makes it seem like there’s another level to the whole story.

    • Nora Lester Murad in Palestine

      This feels really honest to me. A person feels responsible and yet resentful. You showed that nicely.

  • stream of Mary’s consciousness

    Oh no, mum’s passed out again, stupid, stupid, stupid. Jake the little… Why did I come home? I hate this, I really hate this. Jam everywhere. Is there anything in this room that is not bleeding red jam. And Jake, where is he? Okay, so if I check the baby first, change it’s nappy cos I am sure mum didn’t bother. Thursdays are just zero days. I wonder how long it took her to get from the bank to the off license. Did she even pay? I should ring Halloran’s, see if we owe them anything. Oh mum, remember when it was you, me and dad. He built that swing in the yard and we took it in turns to swing. We laughed. Do you remember laughing? Proper laughing at something important, not the bottom of a vodka bottle, or some random tosser you picked up. I mean laughing ‘cos it’s summer and the grass smells green and the sun is shining just for us. Oh mum, look at the baby’s bottom, it is raw, red, why don’t you change it? I am so past tears, mum, I wish you could hear me, Jake doesn’t know how to laugh, I barely remember, mum, please ….

    • Marianne Vest

      That really shows how immediate stream of consciousness is. I feel the sadness and frustration there.

      • dafd

        Though I agree with much of what was said, I would suggest toning the thoughts down a little bit. They seem a bit mature for a young girl and clear headed for someone in a distressing situation — also although the story and content is itself sad, the form and force of each assertion is not; sometimes its even effective to try to displace the structure and content in order to create some cognitive dissonance.

        • Rae

          I disagree. When a child has to go through this type of thing, they grow up faster then they should have too. They become more mature then other kids their age. If they are worrying about something like this, their thoughts would be more responsible.

    • AliceFleury

      I could visualize this as she’s plodding through the room. Love the jam bleeding everywhere. I knew she was changing the baby. I liked this.

    • Just heartbreaking! Very well written! I felt Mary’s pain, frustration, and longing! A young girl who shouldn’t have to worry about such things. 🙁

    • That is very good. Talk about getting inside a characters head!

      • Yvette Carol

        Yeah. Ditto what Angelo said!! Brilliant Suzie.

    • Bleeding red jam and a baby’s red bottom. I like those images.

      Is the mother missing in action? I get the feeling that the mother is off somewhere and shifting responsibility onto Mary.

    • Oddznns

      Really sad. Very good.

  • I’m laughing so loud I’m scaring my kids because I TOTALLY did option #2 with the glazed eyes and the skip ahead. Thanks for a great start to my literary morning!

    • I know. Wasn’t that great? I did option #1 and was thinking, how many people are actually going to read through this whole thing. It was a nice surprise I read the question.

      • Marianne Vest

        What part of the story is it from? I know it’s Quentin because of his saying no Compson would disappoint a lady and the stuff about Harvard and the sadness of it. That was a hard story to follow, and a depressing one.

        • It’s at the end of “June 2nd, 1910.” Quentin’s been in a fight with Gerald and he wanders away to look at the river, then go home to wash the blood out of his clothes.

    • Me too! 🙂

  • Charlotte Udziela

    Here is my stream of writing exercise:

    She wanted to wear her hair in a wispy bun pulled together at the nape of her neck but no her neck was too short so she put up with the thinning grey helmet that was her hair hating the jowls the wrinkles the puffiness of her hooded eyes which reminded her of her grandmother’s eyes, so angry and terrified they were set above those lips flecked with tobacco spittle and the only saving grace in her memory was the trace of Yankee accent that she held onto a half a century after the old lady had died alone in a nursing home of a thrombosis and lay somewhere in an unmarked grave – she didn’t even know the cemetery except of course it was so far away out in the west in that nondescript town so far from the hills of western Mass. where her grandmother was from and she knew she was being petulant and lazy, always lazy, wanting to learn French but having no discipline ever rueing the dust that covered her desk as she stared at the coffe-stained unsent pledge plea to some liberal org that lay there one of many she gave to lamely ten dollars here five dollars there to feel a part of something when she never felt a part of anything or at home anywhere, always on the outside looking in, what had her grandmother felt landing in Reno fatally embarrassed by the mistress her cock of a husband took and married and set up in Longmeadow and she then died of cancer no tears shed for that woman, Henrietta or was that the woman her own father took up with after the War. At her house growing up, at all the houses here and there across the country in one dismal town after the next it was always before or after the war, but everything stank of acrid cigarette smoke they all smoked her mom and dad and the grandmother they dragged along since she couldn’t live alone given that she was prone to fits and wild weeping rarely dressing and going on and on about how she had seen Sarah (sayruh) Bernhardt and Maude Adams, which was a name she liked even today along with Tess, though these were things she never could share with her husband, whom she avoided comparing with Charles in M. Bovary. Too painful, too painful and Emma was way too vain and silly anyway.

    • AliceFleury

      I got a little confused, but wow, this really tells who this woman is. That she’s older than she wants to be, doesn’t want to be like her grandmother and probably is. Probably married or likes some jerk like her grandmother married.

    • Well done! Reminded me (a lot) of the Faulkner segment.

  • Marianne Vest

    I went ahead and used and unreliable narrator like Faulkner as well as stream of consciousness.

    It’s hot and they’re all standing around me, in the living room, by the Christmas tree Anne said my hospice bed wouldn’t look good in the living room, but I don’t want to miss seeing my family.

    She’s trying to get me to drink eggnog again, saying it will fatten me up, but it makes me sick. I want to go to the bathroom but the black girl says I’m not to get up. She took my cane this morning. She broke into our home last week, and now here it’s Christmas and they are giving her eggnog. She must not have a home because she stays right here with us. I need my cane.

    The tree is glittery. It binks. I thought I saw the ornament that my parents gave to Anne and me when we got married. The wedding is today. Anne’s beautiful, and the war’s over, and we’re on top of the world.

    We need to water the Christmas tree so it doesn’t dry up, start a forest fire, and run the bears into the house. Anne says she watered it. I can rest.

    More medicine now. I have to take a train to to Baltimore. It’s getting dark and I need to hurry. Here are my daughters, all grown up. They’re crying. I don’t want them to be sad. I need to take care of them, my babies. Anne’s holding my hand, waiting with me but I don’t think she’s going to get on the train.

    • I like it. Let me guess, Alzheimer’s?

      • Marianne Vest

        It is roughly my father dying from bone cancer with the hospice worker there. He was on morphine and did make it through Christmas. He died in early January (years ago not this year). He was really confused by the hospice nurses being there. It was sad.

    • Wow! I love the way you ended this. Well done!

      • Marianne Vest

        Thank you.

    • It was a very good read Marianne. Thanks. I love how you clearly portrayed the narrator was sick and how you injected your personal experience into the story. It added emotion. Nice job. 🙂

      • Marianne Vest

        thank you JB

    • “We need to water the Christmas tree so it doesn’t dry up, start a forest fire, and run the bears into the house. Anne says she watered it. I can rest.”

      This was good. I’m reading about Christmas trees and bears and suddenly I’m thinking about Goldilocks. It’s funny how the mind makes paths that are just completely irrelevant and yet somehow true.

      • Marianne Vest

        Bears, forests, fires, etc. The words do lead the thought sometimes because of connections between them, don’t they? Now it’s clearer.

    • Yvette Carol

      Woa, I felt like I was reading a book. Marianne, is this the start of a short story? Evocative of age and atrophy and quiet angst.

      • Marianne Vest

        It’s just about my father when he died. It was sad to see someone who had always been so rational and in control become that disoriented. He was on mega doses of morphine though. I’m glad people here liked this. It was hard to write although he’s been gone since 05.

        • Yvette Carol

          Wow. I’m sorry….And yet, Marianne, you know sometimes the memories around which we have the most emotion can be the richest source for story….If we are brave enough to go there, that is!

    • Oddznns

      I love the way you’ve done ‘old, disoriented and confused’ . especially the bit about the black girl who’s broken into the house and the Christmas trees and bears.

      • Marianne Vest

        Thanks – you got it.

    • Did she die at the end?

      Really good practice, Marianne. I love your writing so much. I know I’ve said that a lot. But your words feel clean and spacious, easy to read and yet full of complexity of emotion.

      • Marianne Vest

        Wow thanks Joe. That sounds particularly good today when I’ve mostly produced drivel.

  • Meghan Malcolm

    Stream of Claire’s Conciousness

    Claire’s mind drifted into consciousness, a piercing ring hissed in her ears, “The baby! Oh baby, please be okay. Be okay. Mommy’s got you. Wait…Mommy? Never called myself that before…” Claire slowly moved her frail hand onto her ballooning belly and tried to lift her heavy eyelids. One glimpse of a smoky sky set her into a panic. “Where is the ceiling? Where did it go? Why am I laying on the floor of the girl’s washroom? Why can’t I hear anything except this terrible ringing? Did I fall and blackout? Maybe this is a pregnant girl thing. Hopefully, this doesn’t get added to the long list of embarrassing moments of “teen mom”. Carrying a fat belly and leaving twice a class to pee is bad enough… No, this can’t be cause of the baby because that doesn’t explain why the ceiling is MIA. Unless I was thrown out the window..Psh, I’d be dead if that’s what happened. And I’m not dead…right? Oh, what’s going on? Please baby, don’t be hurt.”

    Still unable to hear, Claire lifted her head up off the ground and propped herself up on her elbows and suddenly felt grateful that she was deafened to the horrors around her. Brick and rubble layered the blackened ground, familiar faces from the school halls lay around her, injured and weeping or still and lifeless, and…“Fire. Fire….Fire. Gotta get up. I gotta get me and baby out of here. My baby. This is my baby. You’re safe now. Mommy’s got you.”

    • AliceFleury

      Some bomb or something went off at the school. Great way to show the aftermath and move your character on her arc that she realizes she cares and loves for her baby.

    • Oh wow! This REALLY grabbed me! VERY well written. I want to buy your book! 🙂

    • This was great, Meghan! It had lots of energy and was deeply entrenched in her consciousness which was good. For it to be traditional stream of consciousness, you’d have to chuck all those periods, but I thought what you did was great. It was surprising from the beginning.

      • Meghan Malcolm

        Wow, thanks everyone! I really appreciated the feedback 🙂 I’ve been following this blog for awhile now and it was fun getting involved in the practice for the first time.

        • Yvette Carol

          The FIRST time! Meghan, you may be a slow starter but you’ve got it girl. Get in more often. Yes it’s terrifying posting your work (baring your soul) for others to see…but that’s what being a writer is all about 🙂 At least we’re all in the same boat together!

    • Good imagery – I like that we’re just seeing snapshots out of this girl’s mind, overlaid with how worried she is about her baby.

    • I have to agree with all the other comments. This was really good. Nice job Meghan 🙂

    • Oddznns

      I like how this goes from angsting about being a teenage mom, to the school bomb blast, and back to loving the baby.

  • AliceFleury

    Oh my gosh. This is why my story sounds like a play instead of a novel. You’ve named it. Now that I know what its called, maybe I can fix it. Here’s mine, although not 250 words.

    Bree thrust the book in my hands. “Don’t you wanna know who she is?”

    I didn’t want to know. That dead girl wreaked havoc in my life before. Before Kate rescued me from a house full of kids without parents. When the only friend I had was someone no one else could see. Someone who hid the other kids toys when they wouldn’t share or include me in their games. Someone who made me different because I could see her. I don’t want different. I want normal.

    I threw the book on the table. “For all I care, she can go to Hell.”

    • Marianne Vest

      This should be in a novel. It is eerie in that I’m not sure if the person she is thinking about is really a dead person or is a fantasy that she has.

      • AliceFleury

        Thanks Marianne. Actually, when I read this writepractice, I was stuck in a scene. And realized the description of stream of consciousness was what I needed to work on. It’s exactly what I have trouble writing. And as I thought about the scene I tried to get in Gen’s head to figure out what she’d be thinking about.

  • OK- the Faulkner bit hit home (and I was out of school when I tried to read “Sound+Fury”!) Here’s the practice:

    I wish I knew where this place was! I never should have lost the GPS… now I’m relying on stupid Mapquest. They give the craziest directions sometimes. I don’t even know what radio stations are around here. Ugh. Let me flip around and see. Oh! David Jeremiah’s radio program! I like hearing him preach- he’s pretty good. Conservative. I don’t think his voice matches the pictures I’ve always seen of him, though. He seems a lot older. Hmm- he’s in Revelation again these days. He likes…

    Dang it, that was my turn! I miss my little bossy English lady saying, “Turn left ahead. In 500 feet turn left.” Oh, how I wish she was still here, talking to me from the console-thingy! I’m going to be late, I know it. I hate being late. It makes me feel so incompetent somehow. OK, what am I going to say to them if I’m late and he’s already gone?

    Hey, I can turn here! This is the parking turn- sweet! Sweet-sweety-sweetness! OK, if I boogie I can hopefully make it in time… just want to see him before they take him in for the operation. No… no, no, no!

    I’m two quarters short for the little meter thing? What kind of crazy parking garage is this? Back home you take the ticket then pay. Amazing. My luck that I’d find the world’s stupidest garage where you pay the flat rate. What does Revelation say about dumb parking garages, Dr. Jeremiah?

    • Marianne Vest

      I like this, and I identify with the lost and irritated person talking to himself, when his familiar technology helper is gone and the new one isn’t working well.

    • Ha nice ending, David. I actually interviewed Dr. Jeremiah for a magazine article recently. He was very nice. Was this you channeling a character or yourself?

    • Ah! So frustrating! I like that the whole thing loops back around to Dr. Jeremiah. The slang and the not-quite-spitting out the correct words make me really feel like I’m right in this guy’s head.

    • Yvette Carol

      David…nicely done. This character has a real voice. I felt that the sweet-sweety-sweetness was an elegant way of putting it, the way we often say the silliest things in our internal dialogue that we would never say out loud.

    • Oddznns

      I like the way you mesh the familiar (Dr. Jeremiah) with what’s obviously strange (trying to find your way, the funny parking meter, no more GPS). And the way it loops back to Dr. Jeremiah too!

  • stream of Lanie’s consciousness:

    Lanie hung up the phone and continued to gaze out the window. She suspected that she knew what Brad was thinking. They both wanted kids and it just hadn’t happened. It was so hard to work, every day, with abused kids, unwanted kids, people with too many kids. It had gotten to a point where just looking at a pregnant woman broke her heart. Why God? Why is it so easy for everyone else to get pregnant but it’s beyond us? Have we done something to offend You and you’ve made me infertile to punish us? Do you still do that? I know You did in the Old Testament but I don’t remember it happening after Jesus came. Besides … You said that I stand pure and holy, guiltless, in Your presence so why would You punish me for something that I don’t even remember doing? I guess You wouldn’t. So WHY? Why can I not get pregnant? Why no babies? Why is my husband now “shopping” for an orphan? Have I failed him? We haven’t even talked about adoption yet God. Well we have but only in general terms. I want a baby. Fresh. New. One that only knows us as parents. Are You REALLY calling us to adopt an older child? One who has suffered so much loss and abuse? God she is going to be so emotionally needy and I’m not sure I have the strength. What are You trying to do to me? Heaving a heavy sigh, Lanie turned back around, sat in her chair, and started to read Allie’s case folder.

    Lanie is one of the main characters in a serial fiction story that I’m writing as part of a blogging challenge this month. The story began here: http://www.bethszimmerman.com/2012/04/01/afraid/

    • Hi Beth. Good practice. I hope this helped. It’s interesting, your version of stream of consciousness here sounds very young adult fiction. I’m wondering if that was intentional or just came from the inner monologue your portraying. In general inner monologue makes the writing sound young.

      Which is weird, because Faulkner or Joyce or Woolf spent a lot of their time in their characters’ heads and it didn’t sound like YA fiction. I’ll have to think more about that. Anyway, good practice. How is your challenge going?

      • It’s going quite well. I’m enjoying the journey and finding that I can get these characters who perpetually live in my head out into print. 🙂 And I suppose YA Fiction is probably one of the genres I tend to be drawn to. Or Christian Fiction. Thanks for taking time to leave a thoughtful comment!

  • The character, Severino, right after he killed a soldier with his hands on the side of a mountain on a cold, winter night during World War I.

    You’re so young. Much younger than me. Why didn’t you just back away? Why did you have to come at me like that? I would have ignored you, let you get away, you’re just a kid–was just a kid. God forgive me. Look at you, you should be home with your mama, not lying here with blood oozing from your wounds. Wounds I inflicted on you. God forgive me!

    Seems like a lifetime ago I was your age. Before the war, long before the war, war was just a game we played in the village then, no one was ever hurt, not like now, the real thing when so many don’t make it home again, like you. Why did you have to come at me, you’re so much smaller than me you couldn’t think you could beat me. So why, then? You are, were, too young to know better, I should have known better, but what was I to do?

    God forgive me, you’re just a kid, just a kid. I’m sorry.

    • That was good Angelo. Especially the parts when Severino thinks over and over again that he’s just a kid. I also like how you link his thoughts back to playing war as a kid.

    • I like how he keeps asking God to forgive him, over and over again. It seems like this would be an interesting character to get into a longer piece, just to see where is the point that he breaks. He has to kill this kid, he is obviously sorry about it and so aware of how what he is doing now is not a game. What will he do with this in the future?

    • Marianne Vest

      That’s good Angelo. I wish there weren’t wars.

  • Okay, I will do a quick (and probably too short) SoC from my RP character’s point of view, Blue. For contest, he’s in a The Hunger Games-esque game and is in the aftermath of a chase:

    Okay, I’m up to a big task here. Here I am, with a small empath, a bleeding terrakinesis user and a disgruntled hydrokinesis user right in front of a jewelry store which has all its window display dumped right in the doorway. Why isn’t anybody noticing this? Where is everybody? This whole game is strange already. Did that girl on the radio cast a spell on everyone so they don’t start running around screaming and calling for the police? While that would be good, it’s absolutely and utterly uncanny. I mean, why? If I was a passerbyer and I see us in our horrible state, I would go right to the doorway and start scooping up all of that gold and silver.

    But since I have a bottomless wallet, I wouldn’t need it anyways. This is definitely magic going on. But what’s with all of the greenbacks? Wouldn’t that wreck the economy too? Or does the girl on the radio also have it under a spell?

    Thinking about it, how would we know that we’re all not under a spell, and we’re only playing pieces who think we have free will?

    Nah, I don’t want to think about that.

    Hmm…Link does look good with that purple cap on.

    Why does that remind me of a song? Well, it’s not like I would be able to remember it anyways, considering my memory had been spirited away too.

    Oh, hell…might as well get those hotel rooms now.

    • Marianne Vest

      That’s interesting. I like the “how would we know that we’re not all under a spell, and we’re only playing pieces who think we have free will?” Then “Nah, I don’t want to think about that”. It’s like you person doesn’t have complete control over their thoughts, they have to argue with themself.

      • Amusing enough, “Link”, as mentioned in the SoC, might use his empathy for emotion control later.

        Personally, I think Blue ponders in the wrong direction here, but I think this was still a good practice to go through. Blue, I think, gets stressed, and I’ll work on ramping that up through the roleplay.

    • Nora Lester Murad in Palestine

      I don’t read fantasy but I really liked your piece. You asked the kind of questions I ask when I read stuff that “out there” (from my POV), and that seems useful because then you can answer them. You got me interested!

  • Stream of my character’s consciousness:

    I open my eyes and I wake up to a brand new day. Without missing a heartbeat, the pain starts to claw its way up to the surface. Add to that the feeling of my head being split open by a vodka flavored butcher knife. I feel like throwing up and crying and screaming at all the wrong things life threw at me. I feel a lot of things but the strongest one is the longing. At this time, there should have been the smell of pancakes drifting all across my small studio apartment. At this time, the music of The Beatles would be playing loudly on my stereo. At this time, I’m supposed to be having the time of my life. Funny how life turns everything upside down. It dangles a shiny thing in front of you and you get attracted to it. You chase it and when you finally caught up with it life pulls it up taking you along for the ride. You feel better than ever. You’re flying! But, just like what I said, life has a way to turn everything upside down. Suddenly you’re no longer holding on to anything. You’re flying but you’re falling. You know? Falling starts off just like that. You thought you’re flying at first but you’re actually plummeting down at the speed of gravity. Then splat! You’re pancake on the pavement. One minute you’re at cloud nine, the next you’re getting drunk every night and crying or throwing up or both the next morning. I wipe away the tears and I curse at the ceiling, at myself, at life.

    I force myself up. Today’s a Wednesday. I’ve to pick myself up put myself together again and move on are what my friends have been saying. Bullshit, that’s what I call them. Have they tried smashing a cup of coffee on the ground and trying to glue it back together again? It won’t look the same as before. The cracks will be there. That coffee cup will forever be broken. No putting it back together again, no moving on, all that’s left for me to do is wish for the brand new days to never come. But I’m scared to off myself. I’ve been thinking about it. God knows how much I’ve been considering the idea. But I guess I just don’t have the balls to do it and I wake up to another god forsaken brand new day.

    I turn off the shower and I dry myself with a fluffy white towel. Inside my bedroom I start putting on my work clothes. At this time, she should have been tying my tie around my neck. But not this time. I tighten the knot and I take another two pills for my splitting headache. I walk to a small drawer sitting at the foot of my bed. I strike a match and I light a big fat candle sitting on top the drawer. I place the candle beside her photograph. Her smile’s been the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. At this time, she should have been here with me. Alive. But not this time.

    • Yvette Carol

      Good flow there with this character JB! Nice touch, that vodka flavoured butter knife 🙂

      • Thanks Yvette 🙂 Though it’s a butcher knife actually hah.

        • Yvette Carol

          Oops! My bad 🙂 I read it once and that’s the image that stayed with me….the old memory dude, what can I say!! Still, have to say, either way works. Ha ha

          • ha ha. yeah. both are deadly though one has a buttery touch to it. 🙂

    • I like the vodka flavored butcher knife, too, and then how he should be smelling pancakes, and later being a smashed pancake on pavement.

    • Marianne Vest

      That is really good. It is arranged so well. You are gradually drawn into his world and you realize that there but for the grace of God go we all. I like the part about life dangling something shiny in front of you but fooling you so that you think you are jumping when you are really beginning to fall. The line about the vodka flavored butcher knife is one of my favorite images too.

    • Nora Lester Murad in Palestine

      As I read this, I got interested in the stuff that you didn’t write — what was s/he saying internally when s/he woke up hung over? I would be interested in knowing that, and if the words are tired and garbled, all the better.

    • vodka flavored butcher knife….. I can feel the pain

  • Joe, I like your practice. I could follow Sam all the way through her thoughts. Although, I’m not sure she’d come with the Normandy analogy unless she added something about studying it in class so maybe.

    Katie

    • Thanks, Katie! I’ve actually written more about the character Sam and she’s a bit reader – really into WWI and WWII, especially ships and water-front invasions, which is a bit different, I know. She’s dramatic and comes up with all kinds of crazy things, so it fits for her. But, yes, since she’s at school, she may have learned about Normandy recently, I never really thought about that…

  • Yvette Carol

    What a great idea Danielle! Why not? I’ll give it a whirl….

    ‘Blah, blah, blah’ They talk a lot. Like a hive full of bees ever buzzing. How do they hear themselves think? Or know what the right thing is to do, what their parents and teachers would want them to do in any given situation? Incessant. Annoying.
    Blast them looking at me. They are going to talk to me again, try to drag me in. I can not stand them. They are not my people. They are not who I like. But I must be here. I must do what I was sent here to do. And let them be…children.
    Need quiet. Need space. Must practice what the Master taught me….

    • Thanks, Yvette! I liked your piece – it made me laugh. It reminded me of someone kind of grumpy, kind of aloof, but like they have a good reason to be, perhaps? This would be fascinating to draw out longer, to see this character actually interact with the “children” and to hear the inner monologue as he/she responds to their responses.

      • Yvette Carol

        Thank you. I guess it’s kind of the traditional clash of East meets West (but different, they are shape-shifting critters after all, which takes some of the pressure off). Funny thing is, they’re all more or less the same age, but when I came to sit inside her head that just came out. This was my first time giving her an inner monologue. That’s why I chose her for this piece because she was still a superficial character despite my efforts!

    • Marianne Vest

      That sounds like a bad place to be. Are they in a class or at school. I hope she can hold out against them and not be drawn in.

      • Yvette Carol

        They’re on a plane on their way to begin a very dangerous mission. The rest of the youth team have been together for ages, but she’s only new. This is ‘Three’ a character from my WIP, The Scorpion Empire, (2nd book in The Grandfather Diaries). She is New Zealand born but raised in Japan. I tried to get inside her head for the first time really with this exercise. I have a number of Asian friends and felt I could handle her, however actually expressing her thoughts was provocative for me. I like the last thing you said there, that made me think about her in a new way. Thanks for that!

    • Nora Lester Murad in Palestine

      “They are not my people.” — great line!

      • Yvette Carol

        Thank you Nora. Feels funny to say ‘her words, not mine’ but hey, there you go! I liked your piece too 🙂

    • ‘Blast them looking at me. They are going to talk to me again, try to drag me in. I can not stand them.’

      I love this, so harsh yet so honest. I can relate. I’d like to know more….

      • Yvette Carol

        Thanks Sid! This character is from my work in progress (The Scorpion Empire)

  • I feel shy about posting this, but here’s Lucas,

    “Who doesn’t have a past and mine is lot more extensive than hers but I’ve always been honest with her and I will be even if I have to serve my heart up on a platter for her as proof. Or maybe I mean my head I guess it won’t come to that but Isabelle is a snake and I wouldn’t put it past her to get even at the best available target God why can’t she just get the fuck and move on and how did she know that I’d have tickets here tonight whatever, she has someone else on her arm and Claire shouldn’t wear something like that in public but damn its nice and I want to go home now and forget the exhibit it’s all pretence anyway because she likes to go out and I like to make her happy when she looks at me and the corners of her eyes crinkle and she gets that grin like she knows what I’m thinking, my God I hope she doesn’t but I can read her and it’s so easy to tell her mood, and we don’t have to pretend at dinner at this affair, and wouldn’t you know there’s Darius now, and he never comes to these things, no doubt Isabelle has told him all about Claire and she doesn’t even know any of this what the hell she got into it will be even worse than the story about Isabelle she probably would never ask about Isabelle after this or maybe in light of years the time when Isabelle and I were lovers would be irrelevant and left well enough alone I don’t ask about her ex-husband except what she’s wanted to tell me and I’d rather not know anything else because I don’t want to imagine Claire with him because then I’d just want to kill the guy and that would be a bad idea because it would be obvious to Claire who did it and then what do I do explain that I was hungry? Yes Claire I was hungry she shouldn’t smile at me that way because it makes me want to have …”

    • Yvette Carol

      It’s even more admirable when you feel shy and yet post it anyway. Good on you Casey! Is Lucas one of the characters you’ve been working on? You seem to have a good handle on him….

      • Thanks Yvette. He’s a main character in the novel I keep saying I don’t want to start for another year or two.

        • Yvette Carol

          Ah. Yeah, then it’s a good idea to use exercises like this to come to know the character further. That’s what I did with mine, I tried being inside the head of one of the subsidiary characters of my WIP. In fact I like to use the writing exercises here in that way as often as is possible….

    • I loved this, Casey. I read it twice to get a handle on it. For some reason, stream of consciousness combined with skirting around the edges of the scene makes a swanky dinner (some kind of charity fundraiser?) sound so much more mysterious and interesting.

      I think if you combined this voice with observation about setting and the actions of the other characters it would be really interesting.

      • I think maybe I’ll try that. It was fun to jump around like that, if only my fingers could keep up. Thanks Joe.

    • Marianne Vest

      This is good Casey. Have you ever read “Mrs. Dalloway” by Virginia Woolf? It is stream of consciousness and is about her having a party. It is not an easy read but you might want to just check it out if you are going to use this. I really like the way you have handled it because you are really into the his head and not having him think a narrative. It’s very realistic IMO, but then who knows what another’s consciousness is like really.

      • No, I haven’t. Is it a short story? I’ve heard that one of James Joyce’s novels–Ulysses, I think– was written in stream of consciousness. It’s easier to write in character this way, but I’m not so sure how easy it is to read. Readers would have to have patience and that’s something hard to come by sometimes.

    • Nora Lester Murad in Palestine

      All the self-doubt in here made me FEEL the character. (Perhaps there was something in there I could relate to, though it’s not in my consciousness.) I think the relationships of ex-lovers is fascinating and a great topic. I’d love to read more.

    • Oddznns

      This is a vampire right….?

    • Karl Tobar

      His feelings are easy to relate to–the jealousy, not the killing–because who hasn’t felt this kind of jealousy? Your character really explores in depth the feelings that a lot of us have but don’t put into words.

  • Oddznns

    Stream of consciousness from a Persian carpet in 1001 nights…

    The ground and I, we have lain together so long we understand each other.

    The ground quivers, “she” is coming. And indeed, she comes. Light foot over light foot, step upon step, her silk veils softly swishing, her anklets trembling. She comes borne by it, then by us, towards him.

    The ground is indifferent to who “she” is. There are so many of them, yet so the same, it seems to tell me; only one “she”, every night, the same. But I, I remember each of them a particular and individual, every night a new “she”; different little girl feet, some brushing against me like a caress, some scampering and dancing, others reluctantly dragging or trembling. Almost always, the feet are pumiced soft as silk, prepared for what must come next — the ground shivering and trembling, the air above us filling with heat and damp and tears and giggling and laughter and sighing. Then the silence after, as deep as night; broken now and then by the ground heaving, echoing a pushing and grinding from somewhere deep in its bowels, far away south beyond the mountains.

    On other occasions the ground awakes shaking, aroused from slumber by surface movements in another part of the palace where I am not; men running and scurrying in other rooms and courtyards, stamping their feet, loading and unloading. Travellers have arrived, the ground tells me. Tributes and merchandise are being set down and unwrapped, a feast is being prepared. Or, it may tell me, its armies approaching that causes the stir, viziers gathering for war councils, captains being sent on their way to war.

    I do not know these things, the activities of fighting men, the palavering of viziers and amabassadors. I and my brothers and sisters were gathered together and woven against each other to grace pleasure pavilions and accompany dalliance. This palace is where we’ve lived all the time of my remembering. But the ground, which spreads out from this platform of turquoise where I am, feels through the palace and beyond its walls into the sands and far below. It knows. And so, I know too.

    The ground reports each season’s turning. It expands in the summer heat and grows brittle with the snapping winter winds. In spring, when the sparse rain falls, it opens to absorb and hold the precious drops, softening in delight. And in autumn, when the air dries and days shorten, the ground shudders painfully as men pull the sagaux and plain grasses out by by their roots to store away for their animals’ winter feed.

    We have our differences, the ground and I. For one, the ground thinks I am insignificant; only a skein of silk on a patch of wool covering an infinitesimally small part of its vast surface. I have no depth. I am young. I am ignorant. Someday, the ground tells me, I will die. This is not the case with the ground, it hardens a little with pride against me. It has always been.

    Be still, listen, suddenly I am the one who cautions the ground.

    Can you not hear it on the wind? Bit against bridle … clanking … once … twice … a thousand times. Do you not feel the tremor in the ground? Hooves … ten thousand … a hundred thousand … beating … running …

    My brothers and sisters – the horsemen ARE COME !!!!

    • This was really good, Audrey. What a unique way to experience Arabian nights. I loved this, “We have our differences, the ground and I.” The whole paragraph about how the ground and the carpet feel about each other was great.

      This was beautiful too,” Can you not hear it on the wind? Bit against bridle … ”

      Yes, I really liked this. You should finish this, I think.

    • Yvette Carol

      Wow Oddznns. Sheer poetry….

    • Nora Lester Murad in Palestine

      That first line took my breath away.

  • Nora Lester Murad in Palestine

    If God didn’t want me to marry him, why did he give him those kind eyes? Nobody ever looked at me with such kind eyes before. And doesn’t God want me to look into kind eyes? To be touched with such a gentle touch?

    I’m sure God made him wonderful so that someone would fall in love with him, and I’m sure God was the one who brought us together. That couldn’t have been an accident. Well even if it was an accident, it would have been God’s will. So why shouldn’t I marry him? God made him wonderful and brought us together and made me love him and he sanctified marriage.

    I think the people who believe that Christians and Muslims shouldn’t marry aren’t really following their own religion. If they were, they would see that there is only one God, and it doesn’t matter what he is called, and it doesn’t matter how different people worship him. So if we’re all worshiping the same God, why shouldn’t we marry one another?

    It doesn’t make any sense! They say that if I marry him, I won’t be able to inherit. I don’t care about that. My family doesn’t have anything to inherit anyway. And my husband will take care of me. His religion won’t let me inherit either, but who cares about that? I don’t need money after I die. I just need to be taken care of while I’m alive, and I know he’ll do that…

    • Thank you Nora. It takes courage to love out-of-bounds.

    • Oddznns

      This is good… keep going. Will she be taken care of ? That’s the crux of the story isn’t it?

      • Nora Lester Murad in Palestine

        You’ll have to wait a couple of years to find out. I’m about 6 months from finishing the first draft. I’m not even sure I know exactly how it turns out yet!

  • Stream of consciousness.

    Amelie decided she was emotionally unavailable. Not just to Oliver but to anyone. Not that there was anyone else besides Oliver, so she was emotionally unavailable to him. It may have had something to do with walking in on her last boyfriend kneeling naked behind another girl wet with sweat and with a look of sheer determination on his face as he pounded her mercilessly. Perhaps it was her parents untimely death when she was only a child. Of course it probably had more to do with the way Oliver ran hot and cold with her. The way he could slash open her feelings with one swipe of his sharp tongue without even thinking. Amelie shuddered at the effect he may have if he put some more thought into his comments. She was still confused about his Christmas Day confession about not liking people but in fact liking her as a person then the almost kiss they nearly shared on New Years Eve. Her head still spun at the way he could be so tender one minute and then a ferocious burning inferno the next. Had they not been interrupted as his soft lips brushed hers momentarily who knows what might have happened. He was indeed, devastatingly handsome and so devastatingly high maintenence but he did look so terribly delicious in jeans. The way the denim hugged his buns was mouthwatering. Surely one needed more than just a physical attraction to make a relationship work otherwise it was bound to end in tears. More than likely, Amelie’s tears.

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  • Brendan

    Ok, here is my attempt at Faulkner-style stream-of-consciousness

    I was turning it over when the door went and the sun shone in and isolated each insignificant dust mote. I felt it then felt then heard then turned to face her, changing my face and deciding not to decide.
    Where is he
    I dont know
    Did he come back
    No
    I didnt know and even if I did I couldnt say, I wouldnt. Hes my brother.
    I didnt know but I could feel him, and I knew it.
    And words cant capture feels to say, not even to your mother

    Ma Ma Mother Mother he said and I followed him
    She was there, she was dry and tired and slow and dead but alive

    • That was beautiful, Brendan. At the end it felt more Joycian than Faulknerian, but the dust mot and the sun is very Faulkner. He had a thing for dust. It might have been just a touch better if you didn’t repeat the word face in that second sentence. It’s all about sound, you know, and an echo makes it sloppy. But besides that, I really liked it. The Ma Ma Mother Mother was great.

      • Brendan

        Thanks man, I’m working on my first novel, and I’m only 16 haha. Should I post more?

        • That’s awesome, Brendan. Good luck on the novel. 🙂

          Yeah, dude. Post more. Why not? If you practice on the latest posts you’ll get more feedback. It’s harder for people to respond down here in the archives. 

          • Brendan

            Oh and p.s., Faulkner and Joyce are my biggest inspirations :p

          • Nice! I like them as well. How do you feel about Cormac McCarthy?

          • Brendan

            Yo, I put up more, check it out if you’d like

  • Brendan

    I rose to my window to the fascinating flurry outward. The sun had temporarily allowed moisture to fall in it’s presence, and the wind-kicked dust remained so, combining in a seemingly artificial amalgam of elements, at odds-but even in their part of an ignorantly  disoriented enigma dry-wet-hot-still-stirring and suffocating, each shouting loud in mindless inaudible force . I turned to see him still sleeping. I then returned, but the enemies had recognized their futile intrusion and abandoned Abaddon in exasperated tantrums as children, leaving the ultimate illuminator to rule supreme. But it would be bested yet again by man’s invention. Time– the intangible polypheme, unfluctuatingly passive but continuously static in it’s action. Soon enough it would banish and paralyze the star westward, summoning the moon with cain and his bundle of twigs.

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  • William Monette

    So, I know this is an older post but I figured I would give it a whirl. Practice makes perfect after all.

    Uncle M. was glad-handing Cousin L. they secretly hated each other much to do with sissy back when we were kids they went hiding together a lot but Cousin L never talked about that and Uncle M. just looked gravely on with his beard and his coat and his robot handshake up and down and up and down only moving from the elbows that’s how a man does it.

    Little Grover comes running through the kitchen. Touched by the angels little boisterous even for six and never stops running just run little man run and he bangs about with stamping feet and groans aloud to himself his mother hates him and says poor me like her burden is worse than his curse but that’s the world to her I’d say. She isn’t sure who the kid’s dad is and secretly thinks God is mad at her. He is.

    The clock is tolling. one, two, three, to five and then six and then they shuffle in and I sit there looking at the tv which is just buzzing. Little late for supper. Maybe not. Artichoke dip. Yummy. Always liked it better when it was whiter instead of green but avocados are better anyway. Don’t tell mom. She hates avocados but her blood type is soda and she will probably have a heart attack once Uncle G. starts attacking me with his preacher voice about my “college” ways that imbecile that fool.

  • Karl Tobar

    If I ever write about a serial killer this is going in it.

    They’re looking at me againthey’re looking at me again crossing the street &they’re like, “What’s in the bag?” probably &the intersection is one of the busiest sections in the road system &yet they’re the best place to go unnoticed. See the people look &they know you’re there but they see a pedestrian—all you have to do to know what people think about pedestrians? pay attention to pedestrians when you’re in a car that way you can say, “the way I handle this situation is the way others handle this situation as well” because you see a pedestrian but if they’re acting normal and not on crutches or wearing pink—or not wearing any kind of uniform—you unnotice them almost right away &you go back to thinking about your divorce or your dog and how the neighbor doesn’t want the dog to poop in his yard all you notice after that is when the RED light turns GREEN then you GO &pedestrian GOES &I’m not wearing pink &I’m not wearing a uniform. I walk on two legs in regular clothes &they don’t look then the next corner comes, because intersections have four corners &you’re on the next one &all the thoughts are coming back because people at the RED light have more time to look at you &if they are of deep thought they may look at you and wonder that’s when your facial expressions come out and you can’t control them you’re avoiding eye contact and thinking of something to look at maybe that bus stop or that fire hydrant &they see you’re face for longer than the others sometimes these things are lined up: two, three, or as many as six cars with the driver and even people in the back seat who are of deep thought and they all look at you and study your face so that’s 16 people easy when the light turns GREEN you’re okay because the cars GO &pedestrian GOES.

  • Karl Tobar

    Was the word she was looking for “obscure?” 🙂
    Here’s mine.

    ~ ~ ~

    &they’re looking at me againthey’re looking at me again crossing the street &they’re like, “What’s in the bag?” probably &the intersection is the busiest section in the road system &yet it’s the best place to go unnoticed see the people look at you and they know you’re there but they see a pedestrian—all you have to do to know what people think about pedestrians pay attention to people on the sidewalk when you’re in a car that way you can say, “See the way I handle this situation is the way others handle this situation as well” &that’s how you know because you see a pedestrian &if they’re acting normal and not on crutches or wearing pink—or not wearing any kind of uniform—you unnotice them almost right away &you go back to thinking about your divorce or your dog and how the neighbor doesn’t want the dog to shit in his yard &that’s all you know until the RED light turns GREEN then you GO &pedestrian GOES &I’m not wearing pink &I’m not wearing a uniform I walk on two legs in regular clothes &they see my bag not what’s inside &they look but then the next corner comes because intersections have four corners &I’m on the next one now &the thoughts are coming back because people waiting at the RED light have more time to stare &if they are of deep thought they may look at me and wonder that’s when my facial expressions come out &I can’t control them I’m avoiding eye contact and thinking of something to look at maybe that bus stop or fire hydrant &they see my face for longer than the others &sometimes these things are lined up two three as many as six cars with the driver and people in the back seat of deep thought &they all look at me and study my face so that’s 15 people, easily, &when the light turns GREEN I’m okay again because the cars GO &pedestrian GOES &they aren’t looking now

    • Karl Tobar

      To be clear, this is already on here as a guest post. When I posted it initially, I decided to delete it because I wanted to hold on to it and maybe tinker with it a bit. So I deleted it, or I thought I did, but today I see that it’s still here. Shoot!

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  • Charles Ink

    Charle’s consciousness… A bit long-winded, sorry. But i didn’t look back or edited it in anyway!

    This place is so desolate. It reeks of death. And it engulfs me in
    every way. My name’s Charles—and I have stage-four cancer. Don’t ask. I’m doing
    fine… I wipe my eyes with my sleeves as I walk ever so slightly with the wind.
    Towards the “Slingshot-to-Heaven.” A ridiculous name, I know. Don’t judge me; I
    was ten when I invented that name. Back then things were simple, no tears, no
    grey, no darkness…no cancer, and certainly no death. There used to be so many kids
    here. In this playground, that was 6 years ago. Time flies so fast. I don’t
    know how but I made it to the swing. This rusted, old, dreary thing. But still…
    it waited for me, it endured—for me. Finally! My gateway to heaven. I didn’t
    bother looking around and observe. For what’s to observe when everything is
    just black and white? I held the two long chains that connected my ride to
    freedom. I held onto them with everything I’ve got. I didn’t care if I bleed or
    scab my skin or break my knuckles. Why bother, when I’ve come so far?

    Tears . . . Tears . . .
    Tears. . .

    They made me feel
    alive . . . made me feel—“cancerless.” I chortled. My throat ached. It felt
    good.

    First Swing.

    The wind burst to life, its hands forming to a cup. The ground fell, marooning
    my fears and worries. I swung faster.

    Second Swing.

    A felt the wind in my feet as it lifted me from my seat. Is it time? Can I let go now? I braced
    myself. I’m rocketing to Heaven…

    Third Swing.

    I let go of the reins, the metaphysical chains that bonded me to the
    frailty of this world. I was transitioning—oh my God, I’m feeling it! It was in
    my bones, my hair, nostrils, it was everywhere.

    I didn’t dare to open my
    eyes, but I smiled a little. I felt weightless. And in the middle of it all, I
    felt the world rise like dandelions. It lullabied me to sweet heaven, and in
    darkness altogether.

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  • Sean Craig

    Dissonance
    This is my first shot at this please i would appreciate feedback

    Together
    as we play fight in the back yard, the way I always seem to stare at you; you
    down to me as if the connection was strong, yet at a distance. Why must you disappear…
    We would always play our video games on the couch, or just have fun doing god
    knows what in the living room, only to be gawked at by mother, by father, by
    sister. The things two brothers would do, that… well that, you know, no one else
    could understand. That kind of stupid moment when life seemed limitless. Almost
    as if one could launch themselves to the moon, but of course that couldn’t happen!
    I mean c’mon mom would be too angry there would be a hole in the roof. Those moments when being a big brother
    you could help and nurture me into a civil young being only to know the
    hardships of life. OH!!! Who am I kidding we were irresponsible rapscallions,
    aside the point life was great, the two of us. Noone believed we would bond
    like this, sum 8 years apart. Lifestyle was different, ideals different, height
    different.

    That changed…

    Home from a fresh day at elementary school. I would open the
    door to my house. You know the one at the very end of the street that looked
    like a test tube. What did they call that a cola- soc, no a coulda-sac. Oh wait
    it’s a colda-sac. THAT’S IT!!! Well after the drolling walk home from the bus
    that I get off at 2:56 every afternoon with my friend Sheyla, I thought she was
    some girl from Australia because her name. Imagination, am I right? But I opened
    the door so melancholy only to see that god forsaken clown that my mom decides
    is a nice little decoration. Or a terrible way to scare the bejeebers out of
    me. As I inch my way around it. I can hear someone getting frustrated.
    Constantly trying to open the door to my, well our room. You see we lived on
    bunk beds, Me the top bunk for I was small compare to him, and him… the rest of
    the room. Well I noticed my father trying to open the door and as soon as he
    does I run into to see him, only to notice nothing. First it seemed so normal,
    as if no one had been in there. You know a moment like locking the keys in your
    car, or shutting the door only to realize you never actually walked through.
    You know what I’m talking about. Well anyway, I walked into the room and
    noticed one thing was out of place. Noone else had seen it. As the foolish kid I
    was I blurted it out. The thing you’re not supposed to do in school, or you get
    sent to the corner. Well the window had been bent. I soon noticed the drawer
    full of clothes had been emoty, and I had felt a pit, a cold dark feeling in my
    gut, that told me something had been wrong.

    What was it? Why me?
    Was it my fault? Did I do something wrong?

    Months
    passed, years even. I lost track. One year, two year? No three?

    “It hasn’t even been a year, stop over exaggerating,” mom
    had said with an overzealous voice.

    Well now in fact it had been sometime. The year of his
    running was of 2000 and ummm something… I was 9, now I am well 18. Legal age
    yet I consider it a void of an age. Old enough to vote, too young to drink. If it
    were 20 years ago I shadn’t been able to vote. Thank you the people no matter
    how ignorant life can be at points. I admit after a year or two he began to
    talk to everyone again. I speak with him over internet, whilst he had began to
    come by again. He must’ve been lost looking, for we had moved several times in
    several years. Life was different then. Now it was, yet it hadn’t changed.

    Life has changed tremendously, now that you no longer live
    with us, laugh with us, talk with us. At least we are actually able to disperse
    the milk evenly now that you aren’t here. But is that really the only benefit? Haha
    oh well.

    Life hadn’t changed now though. As of a few months I am, an
    uncle. Some think he has been named after a car part, some a musician, other well
    I don’t really care; one thing for sure is ill keep everyone guessing. Now I have
    the chance to act the older brother. Sword fights in the yard, weird enigmatic
    moments only we can share. Oh when you can talk the stories we will share. We
    may have switched roles so now I call the shots and you watch.

    Does this mean I’ll run away too?

  • Sean Craig

    its really my first time trying this so feedback would be nice

    Dissonance

    Together
    as we play fight in the back yard, the way I always seem to stare at you; you
    down to me as if the connection was strong, yet at a distance. Why must you disappear…
    We would always play our video games on the couch, or just have fun doing god
    knows what in the living room, only to be gawked at by mother, by father, by
    sister. The things two brothers would do, that… well that, you know, no one else
    could understand. That kind of stupid moment when life seemed limitless. Almost
    as if one could launch themselves to the moon, but of course that couldn’t happen!
    I mean c’mon mom would be too angry there would be a hole in the roof. Those moments when being a big brother
    you could help and nurture me into a civil young being only to know the
    hardships of life. OH!!! Who am I kidding we were irresponsible rapscallions,
    aside the point life was great, the two of us. Noone believed we would bond
    like this, sum 8 years apart. Lifestyle was different, ideals different, height
    different.

    That changed…

    Home from a fresh day at elementary school. I would open the
    door to my house. You know the one at the very end of the street that looked
    like a test tube. What did they call that a cola- soc, no a coulda-sac. Oh wait
    it’s a colda-sac. THAT’S IT!!! Well after the drolling walk home from the bus
    that I get off at 2:56 every afternoon with my friend Sheyla, I thought she was
    some girl from Australia because her name. Imagination, am I right? But I opened
    the door so melancholy only to see that god forsaken clown that my mom decides
    is a nice little decoration. Or a terrible way to scare the bejeebers out of
    me. As I inch my way around it. I can hear someone getting frustrated.
    Constantly trying to open the door to my, well our room. You see we lived on
    bunk beds, Me the top bunk for I was small compare to him, and him… the rest of
    the room. Well I noticed my father trying to open the door and as soon as he
    does I run into to see him, only to notice nothing. First it seemed so normal,
    as if no one had been in there. You know a moment like locking the keys in your
    car, or shutting the door only to realize you never actually walked through.
    You know what I’m talking about. Well anyway, I walked into the room and
    noticed one thing was out of place. Noone else had seen it. As the foolish kid I
    was I blurted it out. The thing you’re not supposed to do in school, or you get
    sent to the corner. Well the window had been bent. I soon noticed the drawer
    full of clothes had been emoty, and I had felt a pit, a cold dark feeling in my
    gut, that told me something had been wrong.

    What was it? Why me?
    Was it my fault? Did I do something wrong?

    Months
    passed, years even. I lost track. One year, two year? No three?

    “It hasn’t even been a year, stop over exaggerating,” mom
    had said with an overzealous voice.

    Well now in fact it had been sometime. The year of his
    running was of 2000 and ummm something… I was 9, now I am well 18. Legal age
    yet I consider it a void of an age. Old enough to vote, too young to drink. If it
    were 20 years ago I shadn’t been able to vote. Thank you the people no matter
    how ignorant life can be at points. I admit after a year or two he began to
    talk to everyone again. I speak with him over internet, whilst he had began to
    come by again. He must’ve been lost looking, for we had moved several times in
    several years. Life was different then. Now it was, yet it hadn’t changed.

    Life has changed tremendously, now that you no longer live
    with us, laugh with us, talk with us. At least we are actually able to disperse
    the milk evenly now that you aren’t here. But is that really the only benefit? Haha
    oh well.

    Life hadn’t changed now though. As of a few months I am, an
    uncle. Some think he has been named after a car part, some a musician, other well
    I don’t really care; one thing for sure is ill keep everyone guessing. Now I have
    the chance to act the older brother. Sword fights in the yard, weird enigmatic
    moments only we can share. Oh when you can talk the stories we will share. We
    may have switched roles so now I call the shots and you watch.

    Does this mean I’ll run away too?

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  • compass96

    Sebastian’s stream of consciousness.

    I gasp waking up. There is a buzzing in my head. Ugh, didn’t I fall down the stairs. Ah guess it must have been a dream just like earlier in class. Earlier in class. Oh God, the smell of burning meat. Okay Seb calm down,K. You got through it in class, what’s wrong with you now? Just breath in and out. In and out. See. You are calming down now. Hey, I’m still alive. It must have been a dream. But I don’t remember walking home. If it was a dream, how was my date with Rosaline. I can’t remember that. My God do I have amnesia. I’m Sebastian Shepard. 16 years with a 21 year old sister. Dad is 45, Mum is 39. Almost 10 years age difference. I can remember things. I don’t have amnesia then. So I must have fallen down the stairs. Hey, am I dreaming. Am I dreaming right now?…..Ah well no one’s dying so it’s alri-hey who’s that person in my window?

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  • Megha B

    From a distance it all looks ridiculous. All of it. Our loves. Our deaths. The
    farcical intensified due to the tragic. It would be in a sense funny, he
    thought. If right now, his car hits a camel on the road. And they die. Sia and
    Aryan. He would look around dazed, unable to believe, or pretend so. Covered in
    blood. Camel? Or their? Does it matter? He would feel sadder if they hit a goat
    and it died than he would feel at the death of his wife and child. And now am I
    supposed to mentally berate myself for being callous? Should I tell myself that
    I love them? That’s not it. Its not that I want them to die. I just wouldn’t
    mind it. Or the me floating above my car wouldn’t. I, of course would. Perhaps I’ll
    tell myself, it’s because I want to be free like before. I’m not a monster,
    just a wee bit selfish. But that’s not true. I simply don’t care, he thought.
    How can I not? I don’t know. I don’t want to. I want to simply close my eyes.
    Feel a thud and wake up with it all being over. All of my life. The goat might
    want to live. Might not even understand why it must die. That doesn’t matter.
    What matters is my wife and son go away. For ever. But I’m not a monster. I won’t
    kill them. I would just not care. And pretend to be horrified at myself. What
    has she done to me? He thought.

    Here they are, on the road to Jaisalmer. A goat crossing the path every fucking
    minute. It’s a wonder the road isn’t littered with their corpses. What might a
    few more mean? And she just can’t stop poking in her phone. Put my phone on the
    charge. If she doesn’t care why should I? I have most wonderful son in the
    world. Just a week ago when he came to me all so innocent and asked why….why
    what? I can hardly remember. Something useless then. What parental crap, he
    thought. My son is just ordinary. Every stupid parent wants their child to be
    special, unique, whatever. Did you hear me? I said put my phone in the charger.
    Is she tapping me on the shoulder? Oh the phone. Yes, he said and took it. If only
    the plug would break. If I could only pluck her up from her world and put her
    in the middle of the sand in the deep of the night. Alone. With the wolves. I don’t
    want to harm her. I am supposed to say that to myself. She is my wife I love
    her very much. I will always take care of her. And Aryan, him too. The sweet
    innocent child. But just another child. The world has too many, too many. Even me,
    superfluous.

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  • Kaitlin Werts

    (Written on 12/16/15)

    STREAM OF RYU’S CONCIOUSNESS

    The room is stifling. I’m tired, I’m tired of my shoulders always sitting high above my ears, I’m tired of the way people cowar as I walk by, I’m tired of their whispers, I’m tired of the whispers.

    I’m tired of the pain. I’m tired of the heat.
    No, I used to be tired of the heat. The heat of our dual stars seemed to pound upon my head during my father’s training. My body’s water would drip down my back as I was forced to stay rigid, stay still.

    The heat keeps me awake now. It is the only constant I can rely upon, the only truth in the world of fear. It never lies. It is what it is and nothing else.

  • John Smith

    I’m not sure how this is, but this is from a man named Gregory, who tried to kill himself and failed.

    What is my name? I can hardly remember anything. It might start with an “B”, that sounds right, I think. I wonder what today is. What’s that light? It’s so goddamned bright, I want to shut it off. Wait. My name, I think it’s…Gregory. Wow, it really didn’t start with an “B” but hey, it’s close to it on the alphabet, kinda. But where am I? What happened? The last thing I remember is darkness.

    Oh, okay, I remember now. I failed. Again. I’m not supposed to be awake. Who even called the ambulance? It couldn’t have been Benny, I made sure he wouldn’t come home until it’s too late. There’s something warm on my hand. It feels nice. Okay, come on, try to focus your eyes, me. Okay yeah, you’re in a hospital. You really did fail again, huh. I hope the warmth on my hand isn’t him. Alright, turn your head and…dammit. I made him cry. I’m sorry, Benny. I didn’t mean for you to see me. I didn’t want for you to be sad. Please don’t be sad.

    “Why would you do this, I thought you were getting better”

    Oh god, his voice. It’s breaking all over the place. Damn, I’m crying too. I’m so, so sorry you found me, Benny. I didn’t want for this to happen. How do I even begin to help him?

    “Don’t…don’t worry about me, Greg.”

    “I can’t care about anything else, though.”

    “Care about yourself for me, then.”