Facebook, W. B. Yates and Automatic Writing

It has been a mystery why I am so drawn to Facebook, a medium that I dislike and which I have called for a the complete reform of. I want to abolish Facebook, and yet I keep coming back for more.

The truth is that although Facebook may not be good for my concentration, it is quite helpful for my writing and I think it may be making me into a more creative and effective author. How could this be possible?

I think there is an affinity between the tradition of automatic writing and Facebook postings. Remember that  after Fernando Pessoa promoted automatic writing as a means of allowing spirits to enter the body and communicate with the other world, that this psychic technique was practiced by William Butler Yeats with Georgie Hyde-Lees. Yeats produced thousands of pages of automatic writing and in the process created an enormous number of unique, striking phrases.

Automatic writing did much for Yeats as a poet in that it inspired him to reach deep in his soul and put out odd, sublime and grotesque phrases that would otherwise never have seen the light of day. After many, many seances and sessions of automatic writing, Yeats built up a remarkable bank of haunting turns of phrase which he was then able to draw on when writing poetry.

In fact, one has to wonder whether many of his remarkable turns of phrase find their origins in an odd automatic writing session. The work from those sessions may have been less remarkable, but it gave Yeats invaluable material. I feel today that many passages I use in articles also have their origins in these late night on-line Facebook chatting sessions. I come up with concepts, and phrases I can then use in my writings.








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