BA2a Christmas Holiday - Narrative Strategies and Story Adaptation
We were given a few optional creative writing exercises to try over the holiday, including ones we'd already tried in class. I would have tried the dream diary exercise, but I didn't have any memorable dreams. I did try the character study task, where we had to write a journal as if we were a dark, or unlikeable character. The point was not to psychoanalyse ourselves, choosing something that might relate with us, but to become the character we chose, lose our own voice, and let the character 'take over'. From the options provided, I chose to write as the leader of a cult. I started like I was writing a Journal, but I moved from talking as the character, to using them as a kind of narrator for their story, not just writing about events. I don't know if this was the intended result of the exercise, but in using the journal exercise I was able to create a story for a character, which could be expanded on later for a more detailed story. I tried to become the cult leader as much as I could, although in such an exercise there will always be an element of creative writing, otherwise you'd be writing about your own recounts of events you'd experienced/read about, (although that is the basis for all human creativity, creating from events you've experienced) and I'm not a cult leader, so although I wanted to become the cult leader, I was effectively making up what I thought a cult leader would think like. This became a key element of the story, that stemmed from trying to think this way, not just how a cult leader thinks, or any of the other character's we could have written as, but why they think that way. The reason the cult leader became one in the first place was a plot point within the writing.
Diary of a Cult leader
Those who remain are devout, I have made sure of this. Those who weren’t now know their fallacies, may the heretics rest now in the home of Mumjir- they will be forgiven for their ignorance, and they will be free of the evil the breathing must endure. Those who still walk our accursed plane, they know what struggles await, but in their revival, they have proven their strength, their strength given by Mumjir in their interminable belief. It has taken time, many a month, years considering my own trials, but now that I have created the foundations for our insurrection, I see it fit to create a journal of our efforts, a text that shall be available for everyone when the time comes, so they may read of our endeavours, our triumphs, and breath a fire into their own ambitions.
The remaining, as eternity shall now know them, the first who followed the path to true abiding presence, who have given up everything from their previous, erroneous life, warped by the “leaders” of a fanciful- controlling, FALSE doctrine, that places all the value in living with pieces of paper, and idle folly acquiring it. It is a challenge to change your principles, those that you are born and grown into, ostracised should you do anything else, like I, cast out by my own blood. I do not hold anything against them, they are frightened to leave the comfort of a false life for the freedom of real living, and the risk something so genuine might not even exist, as their nurturing has trained them. This is what makes me, and the remaining, true vectors for a brighter existence, for we have left the previous life, we have taken the risk, we have met with darkness, and we have risen to the light. We cannot achieve our goals by ourselves, for this is not what Mumjir wants, but together, we can bring others with us. I, in my darkness, heard silence, for longer than anyone deserves, it drove me to the brink of madness, and tipped me over the edge into a pit from which I alone could not escape. But in the depths of existence, I heard a call, our leader spoke to me, and showed me a future, brighter than anything this dismal planet could ever yield, and lifted me up, pushed me forward. I could have had it all for myself, but I do not wish to live eternity with guilt plaguing my conscience, a guilt telling me that others, who lived like I did, could be there with me, and deserve to be by our redeemers side just as much as I, too benighted to find the path that I have walked. I awoke from the path, in a cave, no awareness of where I was, but surrounded by the essence from where all life had come, in the midst of creation, nature. I was being reminded of what was truly important, the laws of nature do not dictate, for the only law is freedom, what is fundamentally missing from our existence. As the sun rose in the sky, I saw on the cave wall, markings, carved deep into the rock. I was soon able to read what they depicted, and I have never let leave my mind what I saw, Mumjir.
I started a search for others to help me guide. I had gathered 30, as many people as nights I had spent travelling my own elevation. I relished not in what I had to do, taking each back to the cave from which I awoke, against their hollow gospel, but I did what had to be done, to make them see as I had. 30 days each spent in the depths of the cave, with nothing to free them but their own comprehension. Some did not survive the trial, but those who did, they awoke as I did, and see as I do.
Thousands now follow, they see as I do. Most have not undertaken the trials that I and the remaining have, instead they listen and heed our teachings. In truth we have swayed more, but many choose to leave, they do not understand that everything will come to pass when the time is right, they are impatient, and therefore not worthy of what Mumjir has to offer. Some choose to undertake the trials that I and the remaining have tackled, some do not survive, and knowledge of the trials becoming ever more public with our growing deeds has created much backlash from the rest of the world. We are called names, terrorists, but we do not force anything on anyone that follows Mumjir, nor on those who don’t, it is the choice of the people. Those that choose to undergo the bleak darkness are content, they know that they either survive to spread our word, with the confidence from seeing the truth, or are welcomed into Mumjir’s eternity with open arms, for they had tried their best in the name of the great redeemer.
I am considering going back, going to the farthest depths of the cave, and beyond my own human consciousness. I need to know If I have appeased my Idol. I do not doubt what I must do, yet I long to see yet again what we all strive for, and I am willing to sacrifice my constitution yet again to witness anew. I am the face for our people, they follow me, and I lead them to where we all fight to eventually go. If I do not do this again, them I am like those that follow me, I have seen a vision, a promise, and nothing more, and I need the substance of a new revelation to help me guide. Yes, I will go. I am aware of what could happen to me, but should I pass on to the next life, perhaps it is a sign I have done my part.
I had travelled to a new place of isolation, the other had become so popular, of course. 30 days I spent in darkness, I starved, and I wept, with nothing but water to keep my flame from dwindling. I saw nothing. I saw nothing, and I do not understand, is my task not yet complete? Must I pursue the enlightenment of everyone on this planet? Other’s see as I do, they travel the path, and the trials awaken them, Mumjir speaks to them. Yet, I see nothing. I will continue, until everyone has been given the chance to see.
Writing is pointless, but I have come to learn that most things are. The government found the cave a month ago. The cave where so many had undergone the “trials” of Mumjir. A silly name for an omnipotent being, I see now. They raided the cave, prevented anyone from going any further. They found spores in the depths of that cave, from a previously unknown species of fungi. It’s in all the papers- the spores, when inhaled in a large enough quantity, produce hallucinations, and send the person into a trance. Those that leave the cave have built an immunity to the effects, discovered after about a month of testing. Mumjir on the walls of the cave? Scratchings of an intoxicated buffoon. I did not see “Mumjir” again, for I could not be inebriated as I had previously. I was put on trial, for bringing the original 30 to that cave, to starve them, for the murder of those that did not survive the trial. And now I spend the rest of my life in that bright future I saw, in my own cave of enlightenment, in a cell, where I can think about what I have done until the day I rot away.
It was kind of scary trying to get into the mindset of someone borderline insane, who had murdered. It took me a while to write the first entry written by the cult leader, but as I worked out the story, the reasoning behind what made the leader a leader in the first place, I was able to put together something that flowed. It follows a structure, the intro, rise to a struggle, a kind of final fight, and a resolution. Perhaps not a happy resolution for the main character, but perhaps for everyone affected by them. I don't necessarily like the story or journal entries I wrote, they're quite dark and underwhelming as they are, but I see the potential for other characters, trying to get into their head and becoming them, rather than just writing about them.