Oftentimes it feels as if that space between one’s ears, that space that isn’t very large and shouldn’t be able to hold so much information – that space sometimes feels overfull. Thoughts crowd it, vying for position as the foremost amongst them. Feelings, which ultimately are all just caused by strange surges of electricity or chemicals, feelings also seem to crowd their own chambers; they don’t often make sense, and they tend to mix with the thoughts more often than not, causing a terrible tangle.
If only one could card out one’s thoughts and emotions like so much dirt out of wool. If only there were a way to silence the hundreds of half-formed ideas and concepts that jump around, just for a moment, just for a temporary relief. The silence and the privacy of that place in the mind seems somehow to be overwhelming and crowded, and one can’t help but wonder how, and if, anyone else deals with this.
Who knows? Perhaps you’re the only one with a crowded, tangled, snarled and unorganized mind. Perhaps everyone else’s minds work differently, perhaps they’re organized in tidy drawers and the thoughts can be pulled out neatly, one by one, and examined at the thinker’s leisure. Then again, maybe not. Maybe humanity, that sole race that seems to have such an extent of consciousness, is made up of billions of confused and messy-minded individuals, and each wonders if their mind is unique or if it is like this for everyone.
There is a problem I seem to have – while I often know exactly what I want to write about, there are also times when I sit and stare at my computer screen for full minutes at a time, and I ponder. The thoughts run through my head, half finished sentences chasing each other around and around. I abandon one idea and move onto the next, I ditch that one and jump to yet another one. It can be a wonderful feeling, and can sometimes lead to something that I catch hold of and mull over, and that something can eventually blossom into a whole piece.
Then again, there are those evenings where the thoughts never cease to chase each other around, like wild children in a game – each is intent upon making itself heard. But then, as children will do, the ideas abandon their convincing and pleading because something more interesting is going on, or because they’re bored, or perhaps even curious of what the next idea is going to be.
How do writers, real writers that is, deal with this? Once you have a beginning of a story, how do you decide what to do with it? How can a writer, even one with a clear picture of how everything will play out, not be tempted by the dozen odd ideas that can pop into their heads at any moment? I suppose there is some way to focus yourself, but then, perhaps writing at one o’clock in the morning isn’t the time to discover it.
There are those odd times where your gaze gets fixed on something for no reason at all, and you can stare and stare and stare some more and you won’t find any reason to move your eyes away from that object. The object isn’t interesting or special – indeed, it may be just some bump of paint on the wall or a corner of the table or a patch of fur on the floor. There’s really no reason for your eyes to become fixed and obsessed with that certain spot. And yet, you stare at it and feel as if you could keep staring at it for an hour.
This usually seems to happen when you’re tired, or worried, or perhaps just distracted. The thoughts that go through your mind at times like this often don’t make sense – you might be humming a tune in your mind, or maybe you’re mulling over an issue in a circular manner, repeating your thoughts over and over again. Maybe you’re almost not thinking anything at all beyond “Why am I staring at this?” and your mind is oddly blank other than that.
Whatever the reason, this is something that most people get at some point or another. I wonder if our brains sometimes just need a moment to rest, to detach from conciousness, to wander.