Writing

On Writer’s Block, Titles, and Asemic Writing

imagesI recently joined a group on Facebook that does Asemic Exchanges. You create a piece of work and exchange it with another artist.

Asemic writing is writing without making recognizable letters. The idea is that even without inherent meaning in your writing, your brain will find a way to make its own. (If I got that wrong, please let me know in the comments!)

I created a piece by shutting my eyes and letting hand go where it wanted to. I got to the edge of the page and opened my eyes. I saw a bunch of squiggles, but I was intrigued. I made these marks all down the paper, until I’d filled up the whole page. I wanted to put a title on it, so I looked deeper into the work. Some of the squiggles looked like an EKG reading to me… so I titled it ISCHEMIC ASEMIC. The term “ischemic event” means that the blood flow to a body part (often the brain) is cut off. I grabbed up a reddish pink marker and filled in several spaces between the squiggles. It was perfect.

But then I started another asemic piece. My mind immediately went to EKGs, blood, medical ideas… and all of the squiggles looked too much like letters, like my brain wouldn’t let me be completely abstract. It was because of the title! The finality of the title forced me to manage the piece and perhaps declare it complete too soon? It certainly hampered my creative flow.

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