Unpacking. It’s really such a pain. I went on a trip this past weekend from Thursday to Sunday afternoon and I still haven’t taken heels out of the luggage. When you say unpacking you could mean a lot of different things, because there are a lot of things to unpack. You can unpack a luggage, a suitcase, a bag. Or you could unpack a burden, thoughts, or feelings.
In a way writing is kind of like unpacking. You have to untangle everything in your suitcase of a mind, reorganize it, and put it out. You have to clear our a mess of thoughts and put them through the washing machine, dry them and fold them. Sometimes there are things hidden in the deep, hidden corners of your suitcase but you still have to get it out or else you can’t say you’re done unpacking.
This all reminds me of George Orwell reading, in which Orwell wrote that he felt compelled to write stories because there was something he had to wrench out of his mind, something he had to lay out for the world to see.
But writing is also similar to packing in that you need to gather all these things from the distant dregs of your mind and put them together, and it also requires a level of organization. All these thoughts need to fit into an essay or a poem or a book. And you can’t bring everything, even if it’s your favorite dress or your fluffy penguin socks, if you won’t be needing it for your purpose.
I suppose stream of consciousness is more unpacking than packing, though, because we’re not supposed to be organizing things or purposefully looking for facts and details and memories; we’re just taking out some of the mess inside.
This was written for Stream of Consciousness Saturday (prompt here: https://lindaghill.com/2020/02/07/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-feb-8-2020/)
And now I really need to go write my history essay-