Wow. The 31st Annual Three Day Novel Contest is now over. I'd been thinking towards it for weeks previous: I had plans, plot ideas and a strong grasp on a promising character. Then I decided the day before the contest began to throw it all away and do this thang blind.
I'm so glad.
The contest officially opened at 12:01 am Saturday morning; my plan was to crash at 6-ish friday night, wake up for 11: 30, shower then start writing. I definitely slept 'til 4:30 am. Crap. Oh well. I started writing, based off an image in my head and the words kept flowing. The next three days were one of the most ethereal experiences I've ever had. I wrote and wrote and wrote; by Monday at 4:30 pm I had 90 pages, 19000 words, and one of the most unexpected stories I've every written.
Unbelievable. And the craziest thing about it all is that I feel like I didn't write a word of it. I put my pen to the paper and followed the pictures in my mind. During the whole time, there was a part of my brain that just sat back and watched the words and phrases scrawl across the pages.
When it was all over, I was shocked/amazed/stunned. As I re-read the last bits of the story aloud to my wife, an upswell of emotion rocked me and I started to weep. Embedded in this story that I 'wrote' were themes and concepts and currents of meaning that I could not have produced on my own.
Let me recount another very odd experience that I believe is related to all of this. In my most recent semester at Bible College, a prof led the class through a spiritual practice that she called 'imaginite reading'. I was pretty skeptical and thought, 'ah, what the hell... I'll humour her." She began to read the story of Jesus and Peter on the beach, after Jesus has resurrected (John 21).
Over a back drop of ambient seaside noise, she instructed us to listen to her reading and imagine ourselves on the beach.
I kid you not - I'm a skeptical of this stuff as they come - I closed my eyes and I was there. Jesus was standing in front of me, asking "Josh, do you love me." I desperately wanted to say yes, but all of the things I'd ever done wrong rushed to my mind. I had to respond that I didn't deserve to answer yes. Without missing a beat, jesus answered, "Tell my story." I knew immediately what he meant.
Jesus wasn't telling me to go through the world telling people about him (that is a noble calling, but it's not mine), he was telling me that he would put stories in my head, and I was to write them down.
Sort of puts a new spin on my whole 3 Day Novel experience eh?