The View from Middle Spunk Creek

The View from Middle Spunk Creek

Who’s in Control of this Keyboard?

It’s only happened a few times: when my fingers have flown over a keyboard, seemingly unattached to my own motor skills, writing a story that veritably flows out of my fingertips as though I have no control over my hands, the keyboard, or the story.

The first time was, 30+ years ago, I was writing a paper for a Bible study class on the Books of Colossians and Thessalonians.  My premise was that Jesus was being interviewed for a position as CEO of a Fortune 500 company, and I was going to use quotes from the Books as the company’s board of directors discussed the pros and cons of his hiring.  I wrote the paper as if in a dream. The writing was, literally, effortless. When complete, I read it and was amazed. So was the Bible study instructor. He arranged to have it published

It was unlike anything I had ever written before, and to this day I can’t take credit for writing that paper.

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It happened again when I wrote Cloud Warriors. When I first contemplated the story there was no thought of seances, astral travel or the intervention of ancient spirits. It was a straight-up story of anthropology professor Terry Castro’s discovery of a lost Incan tribe in the Amazon rain forest of Peru.

But when I introduced, curare, an ancient arrowhead poison and modern-day pharmaceutical, into the story, something changed.

When writing a scene in which Amaru, shaman of the lost Incan tribe, conjures the spirits of past shaman, I again lost control of the keyboard.  It happened a handful of other times during the writing of Cloud Warriors, almost always when I was writing about the lost tribe.

The one exception: a scene where Professor Castro finds himself in a state of astral suspension, looking down upon his body on an operating table. After this scene was written, I found it bizarre. It didn’t sound or feel like my writing. I rewrote it. A couple of times. Each time I thought the rewrite was awful. I went back to the original.

This “phenomenon” that occurs while I’m writing doesn’t only happen when I’m writing about spirits or spirituality. It also happened the first time I wrote The Reaper [more about publication of  The Reaper in future blogs]. About midway through the book, the story line took off in its own direction. I just followed it, feeling like a conduit through which this unplanned story was told.

Unfortunately, the spirit who took over my keyboard and redirected the story in this case wasn’t in tune with readers. Everyone who read the manuscript said it was a really good read until it got to the point where the story turned.  When I rewrote The Reaper last year, the astrally directed second half of the books was eliminated. There was no spiritual intervention during the rewrite.

Only I was in charge of the keyboard.

 

 

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