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Non compos mentis

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” ~ Ernest Hemingway

large vintage letters

We aren’t the typical family. We don’t share familial blood reaching back generations, but we do suffer from a shared madness. Our family curse, non compos mentis, brings us together to chew over our afflictions, to swap outlines and plots.

We hear voices. Voices telling us tales that we are compelled to recount. We see faces. Imaginary people who live, and die according to our pen, according to our words.

A collective mania settles in the fringes of our awareness, leading us into darkness, carrying us along in a torrent of emotions, sometimes tragic, often joyful. Swirling around in our consciousness, struggling to break free, once unfettered, these characters, these entities, are as real, as mortal as we are.

No 12-step support group, instead a conspiracy. What is the best way to poison an unfaithful lover? Should our youthful heroine marry her elitist paramour, or runaway with her working class soul mate?

We won’t know until we finally sit down, open a vein, and bleed out our stories.

The Trifecta challenge this week is: Blood [noun \ˈbləd\] 3d : persons related through common descent : kindred

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17 replies »

  1. No 12 step group huh? I’m glad, I don’t really want to recover from the addiction to telling our stories, hearing those voices or sharing our souls.

    This should be on a bumper sticker for “people like us”

    so happy to be able to read your words.


  2. This is great. I love the whole conspiracy bit, and it also has that feeling of friends getting together to swap recipes or knit quilts, except instead it’s swapping turns of phrases and murdering characters.

    Thanks for linking up!


  3. I love this, Tara (and the pic)! It’s true, eh? What we’re writing can make us a little crazy in the imagining, follow us into our dreams, and hang on until the blood-letting occurs.

    Thanks so much for sharing this piece!


  4. Bit of a deja-vu thing comes from being a writer reading this story and the images it brings to mind imagining a family of them… nicely done is all I can say.
    Cheers! :)



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