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Trance Writing

 

Ujung Kulon - Automatic Writing

In 1980, John Edmiston led a natural history film expedition to the remote Javanese nature reserve of Ujung Kulon. Years later, the seminal creative event for writing the novel Ujung Kulon happened when he experienced a series of powerful involuntary trance states, and during these experiences, began a process of automatic writing. A trained hypnotherapist, he later reproduced these hypnotic states to tap deeper into the unconscious, and Ujung Kulon, the novel, is the product of those involuntary and induced states and the visions and writing that sprang from them. Of that time, Edmiston has said, 'I had no idea what I was writing, where it was going, or what was going to happen ... There was no plot, no characters, no sense of where it was going ... I didnít even know I was writing a novel ... It was a total immersion in the unconscious, a world where images arose like those in a dream and had their own resonance, their own strange meaning. It went on for weeks and later I began to reproduce these trance states to tap into that vast ocean of images, and the memories they seemed to invoke. It was only later that I realised I might have a book ... The whole experience shaped my writing in that I lost any interest in structuring fiction in any kind of planned or pre-meditated or organised way. The words, the rhythms, the images and thoughts had their own path that would become clearer if I just took it one sentence at a time. It means I have to trust the creative process.'

 

Ujung Kulon, John Edmiston

 


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