Thursday, September 10, 2015

Slowing Down for the Creative Brain

Writers need time to think. To ponder. To wander and saunter under the trees and through the grass. Maybe painters too. Hell maybe everybody. I know for me and my writing, if I don't have time to get to that dreamy space where you can retreat into the deep recesses of your dark and poetic mind, the writing isn't going to happen. Sure sometimes I can force it. I mean, heck, if I just force myself to start writing a blog usually something will happen. I'm not saying it will be any good, but there will be words on a page by the time I'm done.

But when I have time to walk under a cope of leaves, when I notice a squirrel skittering across a sidewalk, or I cruise on my bicycle down the street and see the same old man jogging in the same tracksuit he wore yesterday, my mind starts to loosen up a bit. I get in the space where ideas bloom. I remember I do have something to say.

It's hard to get there when you're always in a big damn hurry. I'm not saying it's impossible. Just harder. Working full time at an office, commuting back and forth, white knuckling it through traffic to pick up my kids on time from aftercare, feeding them, helping them with homework, bathing them, doing the laundry, Windexing the counters, running the errands, doing all the things all the time. So many things. So much of the time. It's just not conducive to this. 

This is sitting at a table on the sidewalk downtown. This is me leaving my house because the contractors next door were making a racket. This is me people watching. This is me noticing the breeze in that Honey Locust tree over there. And catching a snippet of conversation as two ladies walk by. This is me thinking that the sound of buses and trucks in downtown Birmingham, Michigan always reminds me of the sound of buses in downtown Gap, France. Maybe it's the idle of the diesel engine? I know it seems like a stretch but that's the way my synapses fire.

And that's the point of all of this. I needed time to allow for this electrical dance inside my brain. That's where the good stuff happens. Funny how keeping us all cooped up inside buildings all day is supposed to keep us productive, yet it prevents our brains from producing anything magical.

And isn't that what creativity is? Magic? The dark hat of my brain. The wizard's wand. Incantations. Sudden flashes of light. I think I'm gonna finish this book after all. I'd like to thank my husband for making this happen. For giving me the space and the freedom to do this thing that required time to get done.

I'm listening to the sound of coins slipping in a parking meter slot and it reminds me of the sound of pay phones. That's a connection that won't even exist any more in Millennial brains. Like the sound of horseshoes clip clopping down the street. The click of the tongue to hurry them on. The smell of leather and dung. The feel of dust from the street in your nose. I could live a thousand lifetimes just sitting here, underneath the trees. Or perhaps write those lifetimes in a book. Or two.


  1. I'm so happy you're on this new adventure.

  2. Truth. It's almost impossible to follow your bliss and serve time in a clock.

  3. A very famous writer once said writing is like taking a, ugh, well never mind that part.

    Sometimes you strain until your veins are about to pop, and other times you barely get to your pen and paper in time.

    So, so true.

    Best of luck with your project. (Not that I feel you need it.)

  4. Yes! It's hard to remember sometimes, but so valuable and necessary! Now that I'm retired, and my desk is at a double window overlooking my bird-friendly garden, nature comes to me once in a while. Just now a flock of goldfinches is tweeting up a storm as they enjoy the seeds of the purple coneflowers. As I wrote this they flew away, and suddenly they're back. I feel blessed and honored. Just what I needed to keep me going today!

  5. I'm so excited for you. Cannot wait for the book. It's so funny how infrequently I let myself go outside even though I'm not tied to an office. But man, when I do. Many, many blog posts have been mentally written while I'm pulling weeds in the garden.