by Brackets Digital

This week I played a game of literary Consequences with nine other writers for the salon:collective's Echo Experiment #1 as part of the gloriously-named CockSquat.  There are many variations of Consequences (known by the Surrealists as 'Exquisite Corpse'), including the picture version as played by my daughters in the slightly disturbing drawing below.  In the game I played this week, each writer was invited to 'beg, borrow and steal' from the monologue of the previous writer, and given 48 hours to produce their own monologue to pass on to the next person.

When the previous writer's piece reached me I was duly impressed - but stumped.  I read it through several times, enjoying the poetry and power of it ... but without any response leaping to mind.  I highlighted elements that meant the most to me ... yet they were just not helping.  The 48 hours were already ticking away and I had nothing to get me started.

So, having produced a page or two of seemingly useless brainstorming, I did all the things you're not supposed to do.  Ask me about 'writer's block', and believe me, I will scoff.  'The only way out is through,' I'll say without sympathy.  'Stay at your desk.  Just write.'

Ignoring my own advice, I surfed the net.  I ate, and ate some more.  I watched TV (a rare thing for me).  So this is how you use your 48 hours? I chided myself.  And yet something was brewing.

At the kitchen table I started scribbling some notes, provoked by what I'd highlighted combined with something I'd stumbled upon online.  After half an hour of TV, I could no longer stay away from the keyboard.  I literally raced to my office and started tapping away.  That couple of seeds had bloomed into a fully-blown character and story.

The next morning I had a look at what I'd written, tweaked it, and sent it off to someone I trust.  With her seal of approval, I sent it to the CockSquat team.  Thumbs up.  I had about 30 hours left and it was, to my astonishment, done - just like that.

Well, I guess some rules are meant to be broken.  Sometimes procrastination is just procrastination but sometimes - just sometimes - maybe it's the scenic route to inspiration.

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