Stream of Consciousness

Stream of consciousness is a representation of the internal monologue of a fictional character or other kinds of writing which attempt to reproduce the thought process of the mind. Often in this form, syntax, punctuation, and other conventions are not strictly observed, and stream of consciousness writing can seem disconnected or fragmented, leaving the reader to make imaginative leaps of interpretation to make sense of the work. Some writers I like who have employed this technique especially well are James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, and Samuel Beckett.

For an example of this, hit this link to check out a post by a blogger friend of mine, human being, who uses a punctuation device (the ellipse ... ) to give the effect of one thought streaming into the next. And if you'd like to see another example, have a look at a post I did a while back, Toy Trains. Finally, you'll see below a short example of stream of consciousness poetry I've attempted. If you would like to give this kind of writing a try, leave me a comment so I can see what you come up with. I bet that you'll even surprise yourself with what creeps from the depths of the mind.

Fish have five second memories

I'm a fish
that's a castle
eat the algae
eat the floating crud
parade of faces
magnified eyes
it's a castle
creepy skull
plastic plants
what's that net
where am I going
out of the water
into a tea cup
nothing but circles
hint of coffee
wanna go home
where is home
is that a bubble
feels like flying
where am I now
are those fish flakes
eat them anyways
they taste like sawdust
it's still some good
what's that castle
I'm a fish
I'm a fish


human being said...


feels like flying
eels like flying


plastic plants
plastic pants


it's still some good
it's still some god


where is home
here is home

f+l+o+w= flow


really really loved your stream of consciouness leading me from an aquarium to this whirlpool of consciousness....

December 29, 2009 at 3:06 AM
Mariana Soffer said...

Human being is the best! you are right my blogging friend. And it ssems that we keep having interests in common, that is great.

Here is a post related to what you wrote here:
Inner speech facilitates self-awarnes because it creates a psychological distance between the self and the mental events it experiences—which facilitates self-observation— it can act as a problem-solving devise where the self represents the problem and self-information the solution, and can label aspects of one’s inner life that would otherwise be difficult to objectively perceive.

Not exactly where you are going to but you can check it, along with readers wonderful comments at:

December 31, 2009 at 12:31 AM
Jon said...

Sorry to leave your comments waiting here. I've been running around with holiday and getting back to school stuff... phew!

Thanks human being for your flying/swimming/flowing fish! It seems like it's happy in the bowl of the comment window here! And thanks as always for playing along on this blog.

I remember his post of yours from before. I liked where you were going with it related to Vygotsky (as I think we chatted about there). It's one thing to discuss the pattern of thought and of mind... but to me, it's quite another thing to write it down on the page. And from having read a number of authors who are writing stream of consciousness, and mostly in different ways, it seems to tell me that either everyone's mind works differently, or each of these authors interprets and writes consciousness differently.
Thanks for your comment Mariana.

January 6, 2010 at 4:22 PM
Anonymous said...

OK, so I may have left more than one comment because, I'm just getting the hang of this, sorry if I did, I just wanted to say:

alrightly then, I gave it a go . . .

January 7, 2010 at 12:15 PM
Jon said...

Excellent... I'll go over to your site and check it out.

January 9, 2010 at 3:45 PM
Lee said...

I took a crack at this one as well, and discovered that when I tried to proof-read it, I was trying to read it as fast as it might be said. Very quickly afterwords I discovered that it was a very bad idea!

February 5, 2010 at 8:55 PM
Jon Parsons said...


As, sure it couldn't be a bad idea! Remember, it's only in your head... especially if it's stream of consciousness...


February 7, 2010 at 1:49 AM