Random Thoughts of a Bored Old Goat
By Ed Crane
I’ve been thinking about the stream of consciousness style of writing which, I suppose, that’s what it’s about – thinking stuff and writing it down. They go on about Virginia Woolf and James Joyce and also about Kerouac’s, On the Road. Never read any books by neurotic suicidal women, but I did get Ulysses out the library once. I read Kerouac, of course, before I even heard about stream of consciousness. Ulysses was a bit of a disappointment, most of it seemed to be written in 19th century classical style and I skipped through it until I found Molly’s monologue . . . which was an effing good piece of writing. On the Road fascinated me with all its descriptions, like the Jazz clubs and crazy the dash in a stolen Hudson, which make you eat up the beat atmosphere of the early 50’s. But here’s the point; some “experts” say SOC doesn’t have descriptions or even proper punctuation. Most of Joyce’s voluminous volume is perfectly punctuated and, despite not having any paragraphs to speak of, Kerouac punctuated his work and describes scenes, some of which are pretty emotional, like when he left the Mexican girl for example. So, what gives? Then there’s the story about old Jack getting a fucking great roll of paper and typing the whole thing out in one non-stop session. I dunno about anybody else, but I find that hard to believe. OK, since he claimed to be off his face on Benzedrine and booze in most of the story I suppose it is feasible, but my sceptical side (make that skeptical) reads publisher’s promotional bullshit. I get the impression there’s a lot of crap written about SOC by up-themselves writing “experts” and critics, often with one eye on the sales of their own books and articles. When I think about it, pure SOC is pretty much like the shit people write in their personal diary . . . shit they write to remind themselves about their lives as time goes by. Shit nobody else is meant to read - private thoughts and opinions – things that can’t be discussed with people they know, but has to be written down in an effort to keep their heads straight. For (a not very good) example, I might write something like this in my diary. . . .
Wednesday January 23rd : Picked up Tacha in the morning after “they” asked me to look after her for a couple of days. It snowed like shit the day before and I think it’s the first time she’s seen any real depth of snow. She got really excited coursing left and right; nose glued to the surface of the snow in typical Beagle style. When we went up the path that runs by the back gardens of the houses in the street, she investigated every single little makeshift bridge that owners place over the drainage ditch so they can access the path from their back gates. Most were covered in virgin snow, but a couple were pocked with the paw prints of cats. These got Tacha really intense and she stuck her nose in every single divot in sequence as she followed the routes the animals had taken. This meant the walk that normally takes about twenty minutes took twice as long as she investigated dozens of foot prints left by various animals and birds. She was so focussed on new smells and experiences she forgot to take her morning dump. She ran along with the front end of a turd peeping out from under her raised tail for ages until she could delay its passing no longer. When we got home she scoffed a whole Dentistix in about ten seconds and crashed out on her designated section of the sofa for about three hours.
Now, this might not be of interest to anybody except me, but I thought it was amusing so I might have decided to get it written down. They were my thoughts, but they included a description of events, so . . . does this mean this is, or is not SOC? Maybe stream of consciousness is just about trying to create those feelings or thoughts in relation to a story the writer is trying to create? One thing is for sure: I don’t bloody know.