I start every day with 10 minutes of meditation. I used to sit up in bed, close my eyes, and just focus on my breath. For the last couple days I’ve been trying something different—I remain lying down, eyes closed, and let my mind create a story. It’s completely spontaneous and I don’t force the characters or actions. Something akin to free writing with only my mind.
When I open my eyes, I try to get it all down as accurately as I can without editing. What strikes me about this meditation method is that the little stories that float through my mind aren’t in my voice at all. It’s literally like my imagination is just telling me a story, and my conscious mind is the willing audience of one.
On Friday morning I started thinking about Levi, a character I’ve been working on for a few months. This was his stream of consciousness:
“Have you ever felt like God was listening? I mean really listening, and watching and waiting to see just how much you really need something? Best I can tell that thinking’s for church ladies and the grieving. And they say love is blind. Grief? That’s way worse. Grieving people come up with all kinds of hidden meanings when something terrible’s happened to them or someone they love.
I know all about grief. I see it every day, even on weekends. I try to steer clear of it but that’s impossible when you share a house with dead people. My mom and dad are here, too, but they’re so busy tending to dead people, and the living people who love the dead people, that they barely notice me. It’s their job. They’re morticians.
Now don’t you go feeling sorry for me just because I have busy parents who find a corpse more interesting than me. I’m fine, really fine. Shelby, my next door neighbor, says I should be grateful for the neglect because it sure beats smothering. I have to agree, mostly because I’m not in a position to disagree with Shelby. Shelby’s the producer of my soon-to-be radio show, and she’s gonna make me famous. That is if I don’t screw it all up in the process.
I’ve got a dilemma, and I’m really gonna need some help soon. That’s where you come in. Dead people are calling me, and they’re not easy customers to please. They’ve got demands and I’m not really in the position to tell them I can’t do their bidding. They’re dead so they’ve got nothing else to lose. Me? I got everything to lose. Including my dreams of having my own radio show, my producer, and my chance to meet my idol, Al Green.
I was hanging out in bed, practicing death yesterday. I’m trying to put myself in their shoes. Call it customer research. It’s not hard really. I just lay there on my back, hands on my belly, and try not to move or breathe much.You’re not gonna believe this but death feels pretty relaxing. No wonder everybody dies eventually. You should give it a try, just to see what it feels like since someday we’re all gonna die. Might as well be prepared for what’s coming. Death’s not scary at all. You really want to feel scared? Try living.”