Friday, March 04, 2005


The weird thing about writing is that it forces you to constantly monitor your thoughts, translate them into words, and then figure out what they mean. (To you, and to others.)

Going through our daily lives, our thoughts come and go, drifting through our minds with a random, relentless rapidness (alliteration alert!) that would be almost comic if so many of them weren't so strange and unclassifiable; we usually don't stop and take stock of them. (Unless you're seriously into Buddhism, of course, where you can sit and chill in the lotus position, keeping mental score of what you think about all day long. Could be scary.)

We think something, then something else, then something else. That's what life is -- a succession of thoughts we try to grasp hold of, then clarify. I can be sitting here typing a post about writing, and suddenly I'm thinking about one of the teachers at my elementary school, Miss Watson, large and kind, calmly sitting in the centre of a circle while a group of kids shrieked their way through 'Kumbaya'. I wasn't planning on writing about her; wasn't thinking about her at all. But there it was, that blast from the past, and what does that mean? What neurons or photons or protons or whatever-they're-called are firing their synapses off in my brain? And what compels us to put them down in concrete form?

I think writing is like speech, which means it's freakin' bizarre, is what I'm saying. What goes on in her heads is somehow transferred to our fingers (tapping keys) and our lips (forming shapes). Out comes something approaching, hopefully, wisdom or insight or, most of the time, if we're lucky, comprehension.

And how much of these thoughts bopping around in our heads do we control? It's interesting, because I think, to a certain degree, we can control our emotions. (I just remembered that Jenn at had a similar post about controlling your emotions awhile back, I think, so maybe I'm unconsciously-and-now-consciously stealing her idea. Not a good thing to do from a future lawyer, I know, but...) If we are sad, we can pop a Jim Carrey movie into the DVD player. (If you think he's funny, of course.) If you're angry, you can try and think warm, soothing thoughts. If you're happy, you can think of even happier thoughts and continue in your state of bliss.

In other words, you can will your emotions; I do believe that. You can choose which emotions to have, at which time. (By no means is this easy, or always possible, but I think when we feel ourselves in a funk, we tend to dwell in that funk, make it our home, hang a mental sign on the door that says 'do not disturb'; when we are happy, we do what we can to stay happy.)

But thoughts?

Thoughts are formed by the colour of the sky and the song on the radio and the latch on the door that won't stay latched and the slow and steady trickle of snot that is sneaking its way down your nephew's face against his will and the sound of popcorn popping and the fact that your foot on the brake thankfully, one could say miraculously, pushed down just in time, right on time, avoiding the slightly annoying autistic kid crossing the road who would, otherwise, have been toast, buttered and jammed, and the myriad and multiple other things that control and contain and liberate us on a yearly, monthly, weekly, hourly, second-by second basis. (Not that that autistic kid was annoying because he was autistic, of course, but because of the fact that his mother always dresses him in a bright green coat that makes him look not like Green Lantern, which would be cool, but Kermit the Frog, which is decidedly uncool. And did you know that Sylvester Stallone has an autistic son? Close to my age, actually. And do you see how stupid and cracked my thoughts can get?!? Somebody stop me...)

All we can do is see what comes up and out of our heads, try to figure out what to do with them, and then see how they affect the (so-called) real world around us.

And hope they don't do any damage.

1 comment:

Craig said...

"Attention springs, and comprehensiveness and memory flow, from early converse with the works of God among all regions; chiefly where appear most obviously simplicity and power."

William Wordsworth
The Prelude: Residence in London
line 740