Naked clowns. Pogo sticks. And lightning storms. AND MY WRITING MOODS.

by Ksenia Anske

Photo by Sara Morrison

Like a proper blogger, I try to bang out at least 2 posts a week, to keep my own brain sharp (hopefully) and to keep my readers on their toes always with something new and smart and worth their reading time (hopefully), so I was supposed to blog yesterday. Life interrupted. Didn't happen. Fine. I attempted to start today, and my body said, you know what, you will make you sick if you don't sleep, girl. And I was like, oh really? Eat this! Here I am then, blogging, on schedule, and yet my sick brain won't let me come up with a good topic. It decided at least to cripple me this much, to show me who is the boss. Fine. I have an answer to that. I asked my awesome almost 25,000 Twitter followers what to blog about. And they promptly said: naked clowns, pogo sticks, and a lightning storm. And the elements. What inspires you about the elements? How do they influence your writing? Well, then, without further ado, here you go.

Naked clowns. This was a tough one, because not only do I not make friends with clowns, rarely do I see them naked. I suppose never is a more appropriate word. Now, the amazing thing about naked clowns is their ability to instill very different moods in different people, ranging from disgust to admiration to horror to ignorance. You tell me what type you are, I'll tell you mine. While most girls would turn away or scream, I would say, hey, you forgot to paint your ass green, I think it would look better that way. I suppose the clown will chase me with a broken golf club after that, better yet, with trained killer squirrels who will attempt to bite my ankles and bark at me with their shrill voices and chase me into my neighbor's yard, which is a very bad idea, by the way, because my neighbor has two alligators, Minny and Manny, and as far as I can tell, he never buys any food for them and lately all stray dogs and cats have been disappearing in the direction of his house. Besides, last summer I managed to steal his raspberries precisely at the time he returned home from work, so I suppose there is very little hope for me. I need to chase the naked clown out of my room, out of my head, out of my sight. Because I think I'm done with naked clowns, here, why don't you invite them over now? They eat only soggy socks, they told me, and I'm sure you have plenty of those.

Pogo sticks. I wish this was my idea, but it is not. To jump on pogo sticks. Because many years ago the wonderful people called Monty Python used a penguin jumping on a pogo stick in one of their sketches. Not that anything is wrong with that, on the contrary, it was a very important mission they've been describing. They were attempting to confuse a cat who suffered from world weariness and sat all day in the yard, staring at nothing, not moving, not eating anything at all and causing his owners much grief and trepidation, so much so that they resorted to calling a special vet who in turn suggested them to call a special service that specializes in confusing cats out of their weltschmerz syndrome. Miraculously, it worked. Miraculously, I can tell that at the present moment you either already left my blog or are still reading not knowing where the hell this is going, yet still continuing to read. Am I right? You're still here? After naked clowns and pogo sticks, you're still hopeful there will be a big reveal somewhere on the horizon illuminated especially for you by a lightning storm? Really? You are so wrong, so very wrong, you better stop right now and go to sleep. Go. Go away. Run, it will only get worse!

Lighting storm. It bashed, it banged, it made all the windows in my house rattle and shatter and fall out and sprinkle on the ground in a million of shards reflecting evening street lights and making fun of me. Right. At this point I'm not actually sure anymore where this is taking me but I wanted to write this to show, perhaps to myself, and perhaps to you, that a writer can write about anything, that's why a writer is a writer. Just give a writer a topic, and voila. Here is one of my favorite quotes by Chekhov: "One has to write what one sees, what one feels, truthfully, sincerely. I am often asked what it was that I was wanting to say in this or that story. To these questions I never have any answer. There is nothing I want to say. My concern is to write, not to teach! And I can write about anything you like. ... Tell me to write about this bottle, and I will give you a story entitled "The Bottle." BAM! See? Anything at all. I hope I have proven the point to you, or perhaps inspired you to start writing right now, to look at whatever is in front of you and write about that, or ask your friend to give you the most ridiculous topic and write about that, or call and ask your mom... err, wait, no, that was a bad idea, don't call your mom, who knows, what if she'll ask you to write her a whole novel?!? How will you look her in the eye at next Thanksgiving dinner if you don't? Anyway, I'm straying from the topic here. Wait, but there is no topic to stray from, is there?

Elements and how they influence me. Fantastic, you're still reading this? My hat off to you. Here, I promise you, will be perhaps a payoff for all this time spent above on reading this feverish nonsense. So, elements. Yes, they influence me a lot, the gloomier, the better. The rainier, the colder, the foggier, the darker, the more desirable. I especially like wandering off alone into places that normal people wouldn't go to, like one Tuesday evening while normal folks were watching their favorite TV shows and eating dinner, I took off and drove my boyfriend's car (cause I sold mine) to a sleepy neighborhood (and yes, he doesn't mind my escapades, he gets it), then came out and walked by sleepy houses, in a dark and foggy evening, and, guess what? I stumbled upon the most amazing sight (country girls, please, don't laugh at me, please!). I came upon a pond with sleeping ducks. Yes, it was magnificent. Amongst dim street lights shedding shafts of yellow and making round lily leaves shine with gold, there floated a moving and breathing mass of ducks, their heads tucked under their wings, all of them, every single one asleep! I was afraid to move. I whipped out my phone, crawled towards them, not breathing, and took a few snapshots. But then, because my phone's camera sucks, I couldn't capture the magic of the moments. Don't fret. It will stay in my memory forever, and one day it will either come out as a story or as a background for some scene in some book, for sure. Needless to say, on my way back to the car I stumbled along a grove that led to the lake, a long dark tunnel in the bushes with a single light at the end. I remember standing there, looking at it, frozen to the spot, for maybe about ten minutes. If you looked at me then, you'd say I was clearly a lunatic, because I was grinning from ear to ear, happy. In that very moment, I was bursting to share the beauty of the world, from that one single light at the end of a grove and from the pond full of sleeping ducks.

Whew. I managed to write something after all. Wow. You know why I did this? (You're still reading this, are you?) Well, TADA! There is a big reveal after all! And it's very simple. I'm reading The Dark Tower by Stephen King, the final book, book 7 right now, and today I got to page 117, which is preceded by 4 and followed by 2 pages of complete stream on consciousness or unconsciousness or whatever you want to call it, a type of prose that breaks all rules, has no structure, only images, and yet it kept me glued to it, reading. And I thought, what? How? How does he do it? How is this possible? I think I know. It's the feelings and the emotions I was connecting with, and I took part in the game. If you read this far, tell me in the comments, what did you think? Why did you keep reading? I can tell you though, that writing this was fun for me. I hope it was fun for you to read.

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