East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Shaken, not stirred

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A big drawback of writing lots of different stuff on a very tight schedule is, sometimes your subconscious (or whatever it is) gives you a field day.
Or night.
This is the reason why, last night, I spent a few hours tossing and turning in my bed, my mind overloaded with scenes from two stories I am writing (story n°1) and revising (story n° 2).


My imagination gave me a roller coaster ride between a small town in the Bible Belt and a South-American plateau infested with dinosaurs.
You can imagine the effects.

I emerged bleary-eyed and impossibly grumpy at 7 a.m., to the sound of someone shooting a shotgun – has the hunting season began already, or is just someone warming up? I don’t know.

Now this bombardment of images, scenes, pieces of dialogue and assorted details, mixed in a crazy mess, is the storytelling equivalent of an ear-worm, one of those songs you can’t get out of your head.
It’s what zen practitioners call the Monkey Mind, on steroids and with the amp turned up to eleven.
Is there a way to make it stop?

I don’t know.
Maybe it’s the reason why so many professional writers, from Hemingway to King, had a drinking problem.
But as a teetotaler I can’t hit the bottle to stop the Monkey.
And meditation is quite effective in normal circumstances…


… but as I have learned last night, sitting tight and counting your breaths, letting go of thoughts as they come by, is hard as hell when you have Arkansas strippers and Amazonian pterodactyls running amok in your head.

The only way to keep the thing at bay is to get to the keyboard and start typing.
As soon as you sit down and fire up the word processor, those ideas melt away, leaving behind a roaring silence and an absolute void.

Isn’t the writing life fantastic?

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

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