Writing serves a very similar purpose to dreaming: it is a way of defragmenting our many contrasting, scattered thoughts and meshing them together into a whole that can sometimes be desperately unsettling, or desperately magical and uplifting. Writers often write to place their thoughts onto paper as a way of being able to more easily deal with a troubled past or to form a fantastic present or future that inspires them and others alike.
For me, writing is like an old friend that I adored dearly as a child but the colour of its memory had been washed away by the turbulent waves of life. Writing wasn’t a goal that had to be ticked off in a busy life as it is now: it was a way for me to create magic in an otherwise bleak time in my life, as childhood often can be.
I found a writing group called Story Slam held at the Southbank Centre, where writers write a five minute short story and compete to win the title of that evening’s literary champ. I booked my ticket and, forever the procrastinator, decided that the story could be written the following morning. With the theme as ‘Shining’, I mulled it over during my eight hour repose and on the Tube, just like now, I hammered out a surreal little tale inspired by, parodying and contrasting with the 1980 film ‘The Shining’.
My main character, Johnny, dull and not nearly as exciting as his film counterpart (borne from the well known tagline ‘Here’s Johnny!’) served as a representation of a life spent in melancholia, wasted on menial details, details that ended the story in a gruesome and bleak way for our anti-protagonist. Those ‘there once was a man’ tales a la Brothers Grimm and Russian short fiction gave me the direction I went in, and the rocking of the train gave it its edge.
Just in case you were wondering: no, I didn’t win the competition. But the evening did ignite a drive to continue writing and performing my material which you will hopefully all stick around to read and enjoy!