Stream of Conscious

Have you ever ensconced yourself in a comfortable chair at the computer, checked your Facebook or other social devices for a few minutes, taken a sip of your hot chocolate, and then opened up your blog, planning to write a new post, when it seems that nothing at all wants to come to your mind for you to jot down onto the page?

I certainly have. Not necessarily in the exactness of the paragraph above, but I often have trouble coming up with a topic to write about, as I’m sure everyone has from time to time. But what do we do when nothing comes to mind? Do we give up, thinking the situation hopeless, or do we endear through it, believing beyond the shadow of a doubt that something will present itself as a worthy topic to write about?

Often, unfortunately, I see myself as the former choice. Sometimes I think it utterly hopeless to press forward, deeming my mental blockage as something that is merely temporary and will go away soon. Sometimes I’m right and the hindrance is short lived. Other times I’m not.

So what point am I really trying to make? To be honest, even I can’t say, because I never had any point I intended to make when I began this post. Why? Because I was searching for a topic to write about and I couldn’t find one, so I just wrote what was off  of the top of my head.

Ding! I think we have our solution.

When we sit around, sifting through our thoughts, our memories, our experiences, trying to discover something meaningful to write about, sometimes we get stumped when we realize that nothing of great consequence has happened to us recently. So, the solution to our problem, then, would be not to search for a topic to write about. Instead, write what comes immediately to mind, never thinking twice about the words you’re putting down, and when you’re finished, you may either call it a day or be given an idea from your newly written work.

As I have been told, this is called “stream of conscious”. Basically you think nothing about what you write (or very little, anyway) and let everything in your mind, whether it has any meaning or not, flow out onto the page. This is an excellent way to clear your mind and may even remove enough blockage for you to find the idea you have been looking for.

In conclusion, let me say this. Before I wrote this post, I was thinking to myself “I’m going to write something about this and this alone”, and that topic was what I focused thoroughly upon, never riveting my thoughts from it, but that was the problem. It wasn’t the thought that was providing the hindrance, but rather the fact that I was not letting my mind go where it wanted to go to discover new things for me to write about. In focusing upon solely one thing, I was giving my thoughts no elbow room and thus was unable to come up with anything to write about. But when I decided to write about not being able to think of anything to write, my area of thinking expanded and I was able to more easily get down what I was thinking.

To be concise in everything I just said, be flexible. The stiffer and more stubborn you are, the less likely writing will flow easily and efficiently out of you. Of course, being stubborn has its advantages is some cases, but that is a discussion for a later time.

Merry Christmas and God bless you all! Happy birthday to Jesus, our Lord and Savior!


The Wizard of Oz, Why it was a Memorable Experience, And the Many Things I Learned from it

I was recently given the extraordinary privilege to be in our school’s annual Jr. High/High School play. This year we were given the significant task of creating a production of the Wizard of Oz, and let me tell you, the two months that we worked on this musical were some of the most enlightening and rewarding months I think I’ve ever experienced in my life.

I’m not sure I can even remotely guess where to start… This experience was so huge and the topic so broad that I most likely could not tell you everything in my thoughts without exceeding one thousand words or more, but I’ll try to summarize as best I can.

The first practice was held in early September in one of the main rooms of our assistance program. Everyone was energized and excited for the next high school play and was ready to have some real fun with their friends while putting on a great show… But our director had different plans. Rather than letting everyone sit next to their friends, she gave us all seating arrangements right off the bat, to the dismay of many there who wanted to sit next to their buddies and chat all night. But, as the play process went on, it became more apparent that our director was right in doing what she did… And it turned out that her decision may have saved the play entirely.

After a month of practices went by I started to get worried… What if our director is getting too ambitious? What if she is biting off more than she can chew? What if we don’t get the production finished in time? And above all that, how in the world are we going to have fun when the director is making us sit next to people we don’t know?

But as the practices grew fewer and the first performance grew nearer, I finally got a new perspective on things… This play wasn’t all about having fun and goofing off with your friends; it was about working together for a common goal: creating a production that would bring people joy and laughter while teaching them the valuable lesson that the play had to offer. Unfortunately I think a lot of people missed that. In my opinion the true joy of this production was working with people and seeing the fruit of your labor appear abundantly everywhere you looked, not being crazy with your friends.  And, in the end, we were all better for it… We had become a family because we worked together. And it was heart rending when we had to split apart.

By the time the dress rehearsals had come around people were more excited than ever because everyone knew that they could sit out in the auditorium and in the hall with their friends and chat. But our director had other plans. Instead of letting us it next to whomever we pleased, she gave us, yet again, seating arrangements, this time in the auditorium and in the hall, something that had never, as far as I have heard, happened in the history of our program’s productions.

Seating arrangements? In the hall and the auditorium? Are you serious? But what about having fun?

One of my friends was awfully mad at this when he heard it because he believed that the plays were about hanging out with friends and having fun. I disagreed with him entirely. Yes, it was completely fine to hang out with your friends and talk, but this certainly wasn’t the time. It was distracting to our director and veered us off course from our goal. So was that why our director put us into seating arrangements? Just to tone down the annoyance of our constant chatter?

The answer is not necessarily that it is annoying, but rather that it is time consuming. We were dealing with a full fledged production and all people wanted to do was have fun. But what several people, or at least one, to my understanding, missed was the true fun of the production, which was working with each other like a family and helping each other out. Instead they looked forward to the times when they could goof off and go a little crazy. That in itself is fine, but when that becomes the main focus, things start to fall apart. That’s why our director gave us seating arrangements… And if she hadn’t, the play may have not gotten done in time.

Or am I just rambling? Maybe she wasn’t justified in giving us seating arrangements. Maybe she wasn’t fair in telling us to be quiet. Maybe the play would have been even better if she hadn’t have given us seating arrangements. But whether or not any of these statements are true or false, I stand by my belief that true joy comes from working with others and that our director knew that giving seating arrangements was what was best for us and the play. She loved us and we loved her… She wasn’t being spiteful or malevolent, she was only working in the best interest of the play and us, and because of her hard work and dedication it turned out to be a marvelous experience, one that I will never forget.

Looking back now I wondered why I ever doubted our director and worried that the play wouldn’t get done in time when there were so many good hearted and hard working people who worked on this production. I commend them all for their hard work and dedication. Without them, this play would never have succeeded the way it did. And I’d like to especially recognize our director, who’s dilligence and grace in all that she does is outstanding to behold. Thank you so much.