Welcome to our Pride and Joy Queer-ative Writing Series where we provide a space to post our OUTWrite Authors and Keynote Queers grads creative writing. This aligns with our theme of YOUR Voice, YOUR Power and we are excited to share creative writing with the community. All writing submitted is original work by the author and belongs to the author. The Pride and Joy Foundation does not own any publishing rights to creative work submitted. All work posted is edited for grammar and spelling only. The views and opinions contained within our guest blog belong solely to the contributing writer.
This week's post is by one of our OUTWrite Author 2022 grads, Lauren McMullan, who wrote a series in 4 parts. Here is their prologue in a series of her four fragments.
In my mindsky, I write. In these headclouds, I float. Watch storms come in that once rolled me in fear, and now watch lightning flashes and make them mine.
Hold those brief shadows, illuminated memories I learned to forget. Smile as they are rewritten, shadow puppets of my past, memory refractions making rainbows into what comes next.
This series is about a mind reclaiming itself through metaphor. The taking of what is intangible and stuffing it into something tangible. If you have ever read Hannibal Lecter (if you will excuse me taking a fictional psychopath as an inspiration for mental growth - AI tells me a few less alarming others who have viewed their mind this way are Ursula K. LeGuin, JRR Tolkien, and Haruki Murakami, if that helps) you may remember him talking at the end of the book about building a head house. How he built his internal world as a grand mansion. It is my estimation that the psychopath dreamed too small.
The internal space where we think and dream and build does not need to be limited to a mansion, but instead can be an entire world. With the experiences and memories and journeys through life taking place both in physical ways and mental landscapes. My journey has taken me from a life compressed into building mental mind caves and tunnels in which I could protect myself from a mind I was taught by the religion that raised me to view as threatening - an untamed place rife with sinful propensity. To a liberation process of being self ejected from that way of life into the vastness of a mind that was not actually sinful, but that had been overrun by the stomping presumption of Gods, Devils, Men, and Ghosts of the most tedious, saccharine, and boring flavors possible. Beings allegedly banished, but in absentia left me a foreign being in my own landmind.
Metaphors, parables, double-speak, and coded language were used prodigiously by the religion that raised me. Using what is relatable to jam a lesson down someone’s throat, or claiming words of care or affection to manipulate response are, in my landmind’s rules of conduct, hateful acts. I will avoid those kinds of metaphors as strenuously as I can in this series.
For clarity as we move forward: The space I built and dwelled in before leaving the religion that raised me I will refer to as the undermind. It consists of caverns, tunnels, caves, and tombs. The above ground, where experience is met in real time, and could be what others experience as ‘living in the present’ or ‘being in one’s own right mind’ I refer to as the landmind. The mindsky is the space I was thrown into in the jettison of myself from the undermind. A task that required a force of mental mother nature I still am not quite sure I could ever replicate at will.
I have tried to take care in these coming pieces to make this journey one that is stubbornly my own, though there are times when the grab bag of knowledge of life I have picked up are so deeply important to the lived experience of the whole of us, that I may veer into encouragements faced outward. Otherwise, read these (if you have mind to) as a practice in taking what sticks and leaving what does not. Self-retrieval and artistry in my own landmind is no longer undermined by the fear of my own terms leading me to living hell. I am in action claiming my power, as I know anyone here in this space is too, let’s revel together.
Stay tuned for part 2 of Lauren's series next week! If you are a Pride and Joy OUTWrite Author and/or Keynote Queer grad and would like to submit your creative writing send us an email!
About the Author:
Lauren (she/they) is a late in life fence jumper and an early in career writer. When she's not processing her world through words she makes her living helping instructors manage their online classes and has the heart and degree of a librarian.