The Thought Experiments

The Thought Experiments are a recent writing exercise I created for myself. It is a practice in introspective writing, using the senses as a guide. I completely recommend using the following experiments as prompts for your writing – enjoy!

Experiment #1

Typing what comes to me when I close my eyes. 

First I close my eyes, and blackness. The outside is still in. But slowly, what I’ve been seeing is erased. It falls away, even the imprint of it on the back of my eyelids. The shadows take over. They become what’s real, and then, in the middle of all that, a fire encircled by greying stones covered in ash stains. It crackles loudly as I walk through the blackness of the place, looking from side to side into the endlessness of the moving words and motion pictures all fading away, until there is only fire. I am not alone here either, not anymore at least. I sit and make myself comfortable. When I look up the two women are beside me, my triangle of three, the circle of fire at our center. 

I stare into the fire and it soothes me, brings me deeper into the place: grounds me. Its flame keeps the dark shapes at bay, makes them faint by comparison. I look to my right, and there is my guardian, Merri. To my left, my dreamer, who has not told me her name. Merri’s armour reflects the flames, helmet on the ground beside her, sword sheathed, shield at her back. Her very presence keeps the darker things at bay. My Dreamer is much older though, her long grey hair braided and touching the ground. She wears a simple blue robe. Her face and nose are long, her skin wrinkled, a knowing expression on her face. I remember she has only just come back after a long journey. I’m glad she’s home again. 

When I come here to sit with them, I am protected. I have come to them for guidance again and again, to sit with them and warm myself by our fire. We do not speak; there is no need to speak here. It is a resting place, I realize. Where I recoup the energy I need to go out again. Even when Merri looks at the air behind me and, ready to show her weapons, threatens what’s there, I feel safe. I can breathe. The thought-thing is gone as quickly as it came. Merri smiles at me and quietly sits back down, her armor a wind chime of clinks as she settles. I sense the dreamer looking at me. She moves her mouth but there is no voice. One day she will be able to speak to me again, nonetheless, I feel her magic like a gift. 

We watch each other through the fire until I am restored. Only then does she use her walking stick to stoke the flames, turning her eyes away. The fire grows higher. I can feel its heat now. Flames paints pictures in the air, and I can no longer hear the shadowy thought-voices, nor see the shaded thought-pictures around us. I stay as long as I can. 

When I open my eyes I am still with them. I let the world back in, and thought comes with it. To do, what has, what might, how to, I should, what if, why not. I breathe in deeply. I look out the window. I remember I am with them and stretch out my legs to stand. 

Experiment #2 

Picturing what my thoughts look like.

I corral them like children, each vying for my individual attention. Their faces differ in moods as numerous as they are. The young ones are eager, the old ones know their turn will come. I ask them – gently – to settle down, though I am not always gentle. I wonder as they do which story I will tell today. 

Experiment #3

Imagining what my thoughts sound like. 

Together they are a choir: there go the bass notes filled with foreboding, the percussions for anxiety, a lonesome guitar chord for peace. Yet even when the music seems like madness I enjoy the melody. 

Experiment #4

Describing my relationship with my thoughts.  

I am no master of thought: I am only a container through which thoughts flow. Then, when their barbs get stuck, their ideas cartwheeling against the steady flow, I set sail on a flimsy raft to dislodge them; to unstick them so they don’t poison the water. I soothe the walls where they’ve been pierced. I do my best to patch the leaks against the flow lest the garden beneath become overwatered; flooded. I have no want for another bad harvest year. 

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