Streaming Like The Woolf

Prompt Day # 102: Begin a story with the line “It was when I died that…”

Have you ever started thinking strange thoughts about who you are really? Like is everyone around just strangers in the background of a photograph? Have you ever thought about how life just goes on and on, people living lives you know nothing about, but they are out there doing it at the same time you are reading this. Or are they? Are they just backdrop and the only one that actually exists is you? Sometimes, I start thinking really deeply about life and death and me. Who am I? What am I? How does my mind work when it turns around and examines itself? This is the only time I have ever come close to an out of body experience. Do you know what I am saying? Those deeply strange and sometimes scary ideas you have when you start thinking to yourself. I can’t explain it if you have never done this, if you have, I don’t need to explain it at all cause you are already nodding along with me. Today, at the end of my work day (what I thought was the end) I had an add on patient who in the course of the afternoon had to stop ignoring and start acknowledging her own existence and the finite nature of that existence. We get so comfortable with our life that when times up, it comes as such a shock and yet at the same time it is almost a relief. I saw fear in her eyes, but also the relief of knowing how her book will likely end. I’m rambling/stream of consciousness…because I am letting my mind think about itself and its egocentricity. If you get me, read on, precious one. If you are furrowing your brow and scratching your head, you won’t like the actual writing tonight. Sorry. But sometimes you’re Hemingway and sometimes you’re Virginia Woolf. Tonight, I’m a Woolf.

 Streaming Like The Woolf

                It was when I died that the world and all things in it ceased to exist. Turns out, no one was real but me. They were all just players in my book of life; their existence as my supporting cast drifted into oblivion as my final chapter came to a close.

My life was a dream that I had created. Changing, evolving characters walked in and out to suit the scene. I wrote a story over a lifetime. When I needed drama, there were bad boys and break ups and family feuds that lasted years. When I needed quiet, there was a season in which death becomes a palate of reds and yellows and purples against a grey atmosphere, silent, sleeping.

Vast seas and endless skies existed as tangible symbols of my mind, only the smallest percentage of their contents known, the rest a mystery of possibilities. In the end, I walked the tunnel, the one that only I knew and I walked alone. Framed stills of the tale that was me decorated the walls of the dark passage, spotlights creating a pattern of sight then blindness and sight again. I watched as the photos became paintings, no longer proof of reality but a world imagined by an artist, a creation imagined and then lived in. And this passageway was my gallery showing, my coup de gras, my swan song.

I marveled how in the end, there was no one to share it with and wondered if there was anyone else out there at all. Someone walking their own path, with their own stories, someone I knew nothing of and they me. Or was I alone, a single entity who had fashioned a kingdom where I could not only exist, but thrive. Where I could feel, hurt, laugh, cry, love, hate, and be entertained while my existence drained away. Would my cast of characters be waiting for me beyond the tunnel, back for an encore in an afterlife which also wasn’t real? If so, what would be the difference between “life” and “death” or had I made that up too. I turned and looked behind me. The tunnel was gone, each step I took left more nothingness in my wake.

Am I a god? Are we all gods of our own virtual reality? Are there other gods or have I created them too? Where do I end and others begin? I see the light at the end of the tunnel beckoning me forward. Am I running towards it or pulling it to me? Either way, I have reached it and full of faith I step forward and fall into the abyss of my own mind. Caught in a whirlpool of thoughts of the infinite. Here I will spend eternity.

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2 thoughts on “Streaming Like The Woolf

  1. Very interesting concept. I am still struggling with prompts. When I was younger, I could write for days with just one line. Now, it’s like a giant road block.

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    • The Petulant Muse says:

      I never liked prompts either because I thought they acted like road blocks for me. I needed to come up with my own idea, otherwise they felt like a homework assignment. But when I started this challenge, I knew I was going to need some help to write something everyday. I looked at a lot of different books/pinterest posts/websites for ideas and found Instigation which is my preferred genre. I peeked at a few of the prompts and thought “I can do this”. This is what I’ve learned so far: The more you write, the easier it is to come up with an idea. Even the prompts that acted like a giant road block (and I would have passed on if I hadn’t made a resolution to do it) eventually gave way to something once I sat down and just started typing. I don’t know what if anything will come of this challenge in particular (I am researching a novel I want to start as soon as the challenge ends) but I do know that I am becoming a better and more creative writer because of it.

      Just keep writing, that’s my only advice as a non-professional writer. So far, of everything I have done/read/studied, it is the only thing that has 100% improved my writing.

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