“Follow your inner moonlight; don’t hide the madness.” — Allen Ginsberg
Do you follow Ginsberg’s advice — in your writing and/or in your everyday life?
My ‘madness’, if that’s what we’re referring to it as, is what makes me uniquely me.
There are very few people in my life who actually get my madness and allow me to indulge in it – which I absolutely love, because I feel as though it’s the most ‘real’ me that they see. They see my randomness; they see my gibberish; they see how my brain works.
But most of all, I certainly allow myself to be as unrestricted in my creative writing as possible. I constantly find myself having to be so restrained in my everyday life whether it be through what I do or what I say, and all that excitement / creativity / randomness needs an outlet otherwise it just drives me stir-crazy – and this is why I’ve rediscovered my passion for writing.
To be able to have an entire storyline that is developed from one simple sentence or prompt, I feel, is a testament to my creative ability and thought process. By no means do I consider myself a ‘writer’ or anything like that, I’m just in a position where I get my ideas down so they’re not constantly buzzing around in my head driving me crazy. I know my skills aren’t great; I know my language / comprehension could use some improvement, but that all comes with experience and naturally, lots of reading of other books and writers’ work which I admit that I don’t necessarily have the time to indulge myself in – and I know that I need to change that.
I have always felt that in regards to creative writing, you should always be able to write from the heart; write whatever makes you happy – in a sense, an open invitation to unleash the madness.
Through high school I was always criticised for my writing. It was too aggressive or too controversial or too offensive or too descriptive or too this or too that etc and it really put a wet blanket over my creativity because everything that they expected us to write was only to have a PG rating. Whilst they would never admit to it, it was just apparent that whatever I wrote, in comparison to my classmates, was always seemed to be inappropriate. Even at a senior level, when we’re supposedly treated like adults, we were never encouraged to write like capable adults.
For example, we’d be given a creative writing task and had to write 1000 words – approx 4 pages worth. Sometimes we’d be given a theme, or sometimes it would be completely open. Other people would really struggle with what they were going to write, but before the teacher had even finished giving us instructions, I’d already come up with at least half a dozen different topics I could easily write about, and even then, 1000 words didn’t seem to be enough.
During high school I was constantly bullied, and so it was natural for me to immediately think about writing about that, as it was current and fresh in my mind. I’d even go to the point of writing, verbatim, about incidents that had happened to me – but using a character and not myself – and I’d end up with quite a good piece of text, whereas others would write about their character going to the beach, or going shopping, or winning lotto etc… And whilst they would get the better marks of my peers, because of the airy-fairy G-rated subject matter, I on the other hand, would end up getting depressingly lower marks and comments about how it’s not appropriate subject matter.
I recall one piece I wrote, which was about bullying, received a comment from my english teacher at the time along the lines of:
“An incredibly well-written and emotionally powerful piece of writing. Such a fantastic job. You clearly demonstrate a great talent for writing. However, subject matter inappropriate for the classroom. Please choose a more appropriate topic.
I couldn’t believe it. Perhaps if I’d, like, written more, like, everybody, like, in the rest of my, like, class, and like, wrote about stuff, like, going to the mall, like and ohmigod, like, seeing the hottest guy on the entire, like, planet, and he, like totally asked for my number, and I like gave it to him, and he like, flew me overseas on his, like, private jet, and like, took me shopping, and it was, like, totes ahmahzing.
…then perhaps I’d have, like, gotten an A ‘n stuff.
I appealed this after class, and pretty much called my teacher out on it. She said it was just too controversial to even be read out in a classroom environment. So I did what anybody else in my position would have done… I showed it to my Drama teacher (who was also previously my English teacher).
She cried. She said it was heart-breaking. She asked if it was based on the truth, and I just looked elsewhere. She suggested maybe I should see the school counsellor… and suggested that I re-write it into a monologue and perform that for an assessment.
Which I did.
…and I got that A I deserved. And I took that A, and shoved it in my English teachers face, telling her that if she ever tries to pull something like that again, there’s going to be a problem, and I’ll see what the head of the English department thinks about it.
I know that my madness can quite easily take over when I start writing, but I’ve realised that it’s better to just let it happen naturally, rather than trying to fight it and edit on-the-fly. It’s better to let it all out and then go back at the end to edit. As long as it’s out of my brain, I’m happy.