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A Creative Writing Exercise Gone Awry!

The following story appeared on my MIP in 2000.
Yes, I'm rehashing old stuff...but maybe I like it!

I ran across a stack of my college-age writings while cleaning
out my closet recently, and they gave me quite a belly-laugh!
This first tidbit is an assignment from a creative writing class
I took several years ago. The assignment was in two stages.
First, in class, we were asked to write a short paragraph that
would begin a short story. When we had finished, the paragraphs
were taken up and redistributed randomly. As homework, we were
asked to finish the stories our classmates had started....

The paragraph I received was written by a female student who had
revealed herself to be one of those people who has to talk all
the time without ever having anything to say. Her questions and
comments in class had not only annoyed the rest of the class, but
they had also visibly annoyed the instructor! She never seemed to
sense the emotion behind our instructor's hesitant responses to
her pointless remarks.

When I read her paragraph, I was stumped.... I had a difficult
time figuring out how I could take her idea and turn it into
anything that could resemble a story that might interest anyone
unless I went completely for low-ball humor. Pressed for time,
this was the exact approach I took....

On the next class meeting, I was horrified to learn that we would
be reading our one-page stories to the class! My story contained
some R-rated language, not to mention sex and drug use....
We rearranged our desks into a big circle and began to read our
stories aloud, one by one. Before each story was read, the person
reading the story was to identify the person in the class who had
written the initial paragraph.

Story after story contained nothing like the content in mine....
I was really getting nervous! The several students who read before
me had written nice little stories that did little to offend.
I found myself envious of the initial paragraphs most of these
students were given! My turn came up, so I identified the
blabbermouth girl as the source of the initial paragraph, took
a deep breath, and began.... By the time I finished, everyone
in the class was laughing--everyone, that is, except for the
blabbermouth! It didn't help matters that the name I chose for
my fictitious girlfriend in the story happened to match the
blabbermouth's name! Undaunted, I went with it.... My grade: A.
Here it goes!


Why Can't I Stop Thinking?

I am convinced I think too much. I keep trying not to think,
but I can't. Even when I let my mind go blank, I think.
I think of what I did that day, or of things that are
bothering me. Is it possible not to think, even for a moment?
Is thinking a part of consciousness? If I am conscious,
do I have to think? I don't think so, but there I go
thinking again. It's an endless cycle.

I could do the Kurt Cobain thing I guess, but I think that
type of solution begs too many questions. It wouldn't really
solve the problem. I only want to see if I can *stop* thinking,
not stop thinking permanently. It would be nice to be able to
stop thinking sometimes if I wanted to. You don't have to
take a shotgun to a ceiling fan to turn the f@#&*$ off.

I have been trying for weeks to find a way to stop thinking.
I have come up with some ideas that I think have brought me close.
I'm convinced I'm on the verge of a breakthrough experience.

My first shot was with my girlfriend, Sherry. It occurred to me
one night while I was having sex with her in a closet at Tony's
house that the moment of orgasm is one of those times that
approaches thoughtlessness. So I tried to force myself to think
of nothing but achieving orgasm, believing that once I was
successful, the thoughts of trying to achieve orgasm would slip
out of my mind like so much unneeded trash.

Unfortunately, she couldn't appreciate my efforts. She was too
busy complaining about a box on a shelf that was stabbing her
in the back. If only she could concentrate as hard as I can on
my efforts not to think! I gave up on this route, seeking another
method of attaining my lofty goal.

A few days later, some of my friends were hanging out in Billy's
back yard when Ed showed up. We hadn't seen Ed in years, not
since we graduated from high school. After we got through
catching up with Ed and talking about the old days some,
Ed pulled out his pack of cigarettes, but they weren't
cigarettes! The pack was full of pinky-thick joints!

I set my mind to smoking as much pot as I possibly could,
determined to stop thinking. Ed just kept pulling an endless
supply of perfectly-rolled joints out of his pack.
The conversation became choppy; we began laughing hysterically;
then, after awhile, we all became dormant Sleestack.

For what seemed like an endless moment I just stared at the
grass, convinced that I had ended my quest. Sure enough, though,
the entire time I had been sitting in that lawn chair, I had been
slowly bobbing my head up and down, subconsciously playing with
the tension in the string of saliva between my lower lip
and my shirt. D%&#, that p@#$%& me off!

I was reading in the library the other day about inmates in
solitary confinement, and also about isolation chambers where
you can float on water in the dark. While these intrigued me
greatly, it would take too much effort to put myself in those
situations. Still, it did remind me of my experience in the
closet with Sherry....

I thought--if only I could remove the distractions that kept me
from my goal on that occasion, perhaps I can stop thinking for
awhile. So, in the privacy of my own home, I started out on my
quest again. I got a towel, went into my most comfortable closet,
stuffed the towel under the door to block out the light, and
started j&%$*#@ off.

The only problem was that I had to fantasize in order to become
aroused. Unwanted pictures of Sherry, with her long straight dark
brown hair draping over her full breasts, her shapely hips, her
tan line, and her pubic hair all crashed through my head....

I'm going to dump that b@#$%.


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