The following is an example of an assignment from the current Releasing The Writer Within class, THE MASTER CLASS. The task was to journal and then go back into the entry and pull out a line that, by itself, inspires the writer to go deeper. Then pull that out and rewrite it into a new entry. This technique is called using a “jump off line”, something we practice in class to really stretch our minds in new directions to cultivate new ideas for writing.
Chris was inspired by another journal entry from class for the first two entries below. Then he took a quote from class for the third, but in the fourth, he takes on from the previous entry, which is really the way to “deep journal”, another technique we practice in class. Allow previous entries to inspire new entries to create a kind of cohesiveness within your journal.
Notice where this type of journaling takes Chris. He goes in a direction that is unplanned and uncharted.
1st Entry: (This was off of my warm-up in class) People don't get me, and it's not my problem. I say things that are perfectly clear to me, and people look at me with a wide range of facial expressions; from a glazed-over, blank retarded look, like Homer Simpson thinking about donuts, to looks of complete disdain, as if I had just flatulated ferociously in the elevator. It used to bother me tremendously. I spent years wasting energy, worried what people thought of me. I still have moments of weakness when a brief sense of self insecurity steals my confidence. At times like this, I simply remind myself that sometimes some people don't get me, but its not my problem.
2nd Entry: (This was also off the same warm up) It feels normal to be misunderstood. I've been called weird since I was a kid. I guess I have a unique way of expressing myself.
3rd Entry: (The Shakespeare quote from class) There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so. Imagine eating your favorite food, without thought of it, as if the brain has shut down. You wouldn't be able to discern the taste and therefore wouldn't be able to determine an opinion on it. Without individual thought, individual opinion doesn't exist. And if there is no individual thought, there is no societal thought. Without societal thought there are no social ethics. Without social ethics, we'd all be fornicating and killing in a primitive sense. Like great white sharks; never stopping, never knowing good or bad, pleasure or pain. Simply eating and procreating. So without thought, we are nothing but primitive animals, knowing nothing. I guess that's obvious.
4th Entry: Without thought, we are nothing but primitive animals. When did the crossover take place? When did we jump the boundary between thoughtless primitive animal to thinking being? Not only when, but why? Did a sudden phase transition occur? A single moment of pain or pleasure that eventually evolved into the society we have today. Perhaps it was a seed of spirit that was momentarily given to our species by some higher being. A being that wanted to learn from our experiences and senses, not to get involved but solely watch. My guess is it's the former. But, then again, all mammals think, feel pain, probably feel pleasure. But do they know good and bad? My dog seems to when he hangs his head and looks up at me after I admonish him for one infraction or another. So what separates us from animals? Altruism? Nope, even ants exhibit altruistic behaviors. At some point we split from the animals. Our opposable thumbs? I doubt it, most other primates have four. We really should, by that theory, be a planet of apes.
5th Entry: A single moment of pain or pleasure that eventually evolved into the society we have today. And once you feel pain or pleasure, you are able to feel the other. Because they are hand in hand. Like smell and taste, so intimate in their relationship that one cannot be without the other. A moment of pain for the ability to feel pleasure or a moment of pleasure to feel pain. It's cliché, I know. You can't have the highs without the lows because you need the high to know the low. Back to that single moment. Could it just happen, or did there need to be some higher influence? Can a ball start rolling on it's own, on a flat surface, no wind, no push, just resting in one place? Can it just start moving on it's own? Quantum physics say the possibility exists for this to happen, however probability is so small that it would take longer than the life of our universe for this improbability to happen. So what does that leave us with? An outside influence, outside the scope of the universe? I hope so!