Thursday, 24 July 2008

Mental weather

I write. I cant help it. It clears the decks and makes space to get on with things.
When thought overwhelms me, I write it down. A tangle of confusion becomes a coherent (to me anyway) thread. I am not good at thinking. I never learned formally. But at least I learned informally. To arrive at a conclusion from information, albeit necessarily provisional, is a process I have at least a dim understanding of and in a rudimentary way, can put into practise.

What I find harder to put into words is the confusion that fills my head. To liken it to a cloud of static is the best I can manage.
When a situation has multiple aspects which interact, my grip on one is shaken loose immediately by all the others and my mental fingers seem coated with some slick, slippery substance that allows the grasp of any of it impossble. The thoughts and pieces of relevent information swirl around me and I cnnot grab hold of any of them long enough to slot them into somewhere where they will fit with all the other pieces.

And so it is that I remain bewildered and frustrated by complex issues. Planning becomes impossible as each thing I try to list wriggles away from my pen before I can get it down to the business end and onto paper.

Well meaning friends and colleagues suggest mindmaps, thinking that the "creative" nature of the process may somehow help. It doesn't. I just stall on pictures not words, wondering where to put things that belong to several branches or if I have put items in the right places.

And yet, writing is soothing. The funnel that takes some of the components, allows a single thread to be followed, ok, ignoring all the others and leaving them still floating, but quieter. But coherence is approximated.

And phases happen, like weather; there are storms that arrive, filling my head with lightning and howling gales, blowing everything around and causing the mental landscape to be as thay refer to in the forecast as "unsettled". This is not unpleasant. In fact it is very fertile and I enjoy it.

Then there are the warm, sunny periods where indolence is induced and the only thoughts are idle and whimsical. Thoughts may hint at themselves, as distant sounds from faraway activity does in the garden ona hot summer’s day (remember those? Although its shaping up nice today)

Other days are like thick fog on an oily sea where nothing moves. Thoughts lie there just below the surface, but to lift them above the surface would be like hoisting a submerged suitcase, still filled with its load of water, heavy, unwieldy and all just too much trouble really. On such days, there is no echo inside as the sounds of thoughts is absorbed by the deadening aspect of the vapour that fills the spaces.

Lately, it is pleasantly warm but overcast with barely a breeze to rustle the foliage. Vague feelings float about like cabbage whites in the allotment. They make themselves mildly troublesome but overall do not really impinge on consciousness. Occasionally, a red admiral of a thought or a painted lady whim might flutter past, but, somehow I am not inclined to chase them to see where they go. The faint buzzing of flies on the compost heap of daily banality are all I can hear and it does not produce anything much of value. Except a sort of psychic compost in which, at least maintenance of foliage is possible, if not small growth.
Of all of these, I think I enjoy the storms best. I dislike stability and order and find chaos exciting and fertile. I know others find it unsettling and sometimes regard it as a nuisance or problem, but chaos has so much more going for it.

But words seem to flow given any chance. Writing about nothing calls forth an internal dialogue on the nature or experience of nothing. There are always words, even on rainy days.

People whip up the breeze. Not all people, but some. A static and dull mental vista can be set into exhilarating motion by a stimulating coversation, or even a passing comment. It is this that keeps me ever hopeful that dullness will never become the status quo.

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