Friday, May 9, 2014

Not So Mad Science Experiments

Mad science isn't always as mad as first it seems.

Case in point: I write this blog post while tucked up in a huge bed in a hotel room that's far too big for one person. Why? It's an experiment. We all recall how experiments are supposed to be designed, yes?

Hypothesis, experimental set resulting in data that either prove or disprove the hypothesis. (Okay, it's way more complicated than that in the real world, but I'm not attempting to get my experiment into a peer reviewed journal, I swear.)

The original problem to be solved: Adult life is noisy. The brain is filled with GOTTA DO, GOTTA BE. OMG, DON'T FORGET THE THING! Normal stuff. It's just that over time, responsibilities can gain so much volume that they drown out the quieter voices of story.

Thus, hypothesis: Casting off responsibility to everyone and everything but oneself for a brief period of time (minimum of 3 days) will drain the noise from the brain so story voices become more prominent.

Given the tolerance of family and modern life (and possibly the bank account), the experimental set is poorly designed because it encompasses only one sample set: A hotel far enough away from daily life so that daily life cannot easily intrude, yet close enough to not destroy a budget. My experiment set is structured like this: Get on the first ferry of the day (5:30AM) and put Puget Sound between me and the rest of my life. Bus to Port Townsend - a Victorian seaport that was supposed to have been what Seattle became - a huge, bustling port. It didn't. Now, it's a lovely little town of galleries, shops and Victorian era buildings which includes the Palace Hotel. Yes. It was, at one time, a brothel. I stay in Miss Kitty's room. It's on the corner of the building with views of the ocean and of the main street in town. Every evening at dusk, the local starling flock plays tag up and down Water Street. This room is the best front row seat for that acrobat show. Port Townsend is where aging hippies come to retire and to farm. And start up restaurants featuring all local, organic produce, herbs, and other yummy stuff. The town is big enough that there's always something to see if you don't mind walking. It's small enough that you'll see pretty much everything in a day unless you have a way to get up to Fort Warden to wander the old gun emplacements on the bluffs overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Point being that there are cool things in town to see, but not so many that a writer looking to drain the brain noise will be distracted and lulled by all the shiny. Did I mention writing? Required as part of this experiment. Pen and paper. Laptop. Don't care how it happens, but it must. No rules. No constraints. Doesn't have to be the WIP. It can all be journaling - anything to get what's clogging up the synapses OUT. Last time I conducted this same experiment, NIGHTMARE INK was the result. Total surprise because I was writing something else at the time. I thought. Which brings up a point. Not conducting this experiment while on deadline for a contract. Freedom to let rise whatever wants to rise within the mad scientist/writer is required.

Results? Oh, I know what I hope those will be. I know what they've been in the past - returning to everyday life with the voices of my characters strong and loud and taking up too much space inside of me. It sounds bad. It's not. When character voices are taking up too much space, they spill over onto virtual paper so easily. It's not all clarity and smooth writing, but it's a lot less like scraping my claws on a chalkboard trying to dig up a plot point or scene.

And that, all by itself is reason enough for an experiment like this. (Also? Tax deductible as a writing retreat.)

1 comment:

  1. Wow, Blogger. Formatting much? Go home. You're drunk.