I once listened to a short speech regarding the human brain/thought process. It was referred to as being similar to an open internet stream on a computer. Every person browses differently, such as brain activity is unique and individualized. As one person may open one tab at a time, explore it and then close out before opening another — Someone else may open far to many tabs at a time and put themselves in a confused state of overloaded information and tasks, making it nearly impossible to keep their thoughts straight. On that same note, but with a little different context; Some people find subjects that they love and never open more tabs or explore other sites. All-the-while other people cannot get enough information, and they have to explore everything available!
I’m sure you can imagine several more analogies that may or may not have been mentioned in the speech, because the punch line is clear and imaginable… It makes sense. I’m not sure why, as it’s completely random, but I have been thinking a lot about that speech lately. I’ve actually came to the conclusion that although this may be an accurate comparison for most people – For fictional writers it is 100% INACCURATE! We don’t merely access and navigate information already provided by others. We create… Also, it’s not as easy to access the depths of each thought process as a click of a new tab.
I’ve decided that a writer’s brain works more like a maze in the form of a hallway, and it’s incomprehensibly full of doors. Some of those doors lead to rooms, and some to closets. The most important of those rooms are easy to find because they are just barely inside the entryway of the maze – accessed upon every single entry. Yet, the rarest, and most unique thoughts are buried treasures, and they are hidden in darkest depths of the maze. Often times there are portions that are under construction, and some that have a disappearing floors that cause forgetfulness and memory lapses. Let me walk you through a typical 24 hours inside the maze of a fictional writer such as myself.
Laying awake in bed at night I run through the maze. Top to bottom, left to right, right to left, and bottom to top… Twice. It’s exhausting and irritating, but necessary. In order for my mind to relax and allow my body to rest, I have to make sure everything/thought is gathered up out of the hallway and shoved back into its proper door. Then each and every door needs to be shut tight and secured with a very dependable lock. There can’t be anything left to run loose or roam the maze, or else all hell WILL break loose. Dreams are weird, and sleep is restless. That’s not to mention the tedious task of cleaning up the next morning. Chaos is a B**ch, and that will never do. Once the running, cleaning, closing and locking is completed then sleep can commence.
Next thing you know A.M. rolls around. My little maze runner is rested, refreshed, and her tiny running shoes are laced securely to her feet. She is ripped roaring and ready to go! Just as she finishes up the last stretch of her legs, an overbearing cry sounds from the first door inside the maze. It’s time to hustle. A red light is flashing over head, and a label above the handle reads ‘children’. I brace myself, because the opening of this door is overwhelming every time. As soon as the handle is twisted, the door flings open, knocking me to the floor. I’m completely buried in snot, tears, leaky diapers, Sippy cups, toys, and books, along with coloring and number songs.
As I pull myself to my feet, I look to my left and see a Mickey Mouse running down the hall, ready to sneak the hotdog song into a random door jam no doubt. I chase down the little bastard, and scoop him up along with anything else trying to make a run for it. I shove it all back into the room and slam the door shut behind me. I spend the next few hours bouncing back and forth between this door and four others located at the start of the maze. They’re labeled housework, food, family pet, and personal hygiene. A soon as I have each room in order, and the ‘children’ room occupied with the best of the best cartoons and toys, I’m ready to make a run. I know I’ll have an hour tops before I have to return so it’s got to be a good one.
I make a dash through the maze. Left, right, right, right… Crap, dead end – try again. Right, left, left, There it is!! An entire hallway nestled inside the right ventricle is now exposed. The hall is titled ‘writing tools, and imagination.’ I made it, and with time to spare because the ‘children’ room hasn’t made a peep! So I begin my journey into this hall. My steps are taken cautiously as I watch the lights and labels like a hawk. I’m just hoping there’ll be some kind of movement or flash of inspiration drawing me to one of the doors.
Suddenly a flicker of light shines above a door to my right, followed by a Bang Bang Bang!! The noise startles me and steals my footing, I’m left on the floor panting for breath. Of course, it had to be the ‘horror’ door. I look up and let myself get lost in the black and gray swirls of the door’s grain. It calls to me and draws me into the locks through auto-pilot. I hate it when this happens. I have zero control, every motor skill has suddenly been taken over by subconscious, like a black consumptive hole. As a third lock is twisted, five long white boney fingers force themselves through the opening crack. Their escape is delayed, but only by the thick chain of a fourth lock. Rotten and cracked fingernails scratch at the chain. Just in time, I gasp, and snap out of it! Wheu, that was close! I slam the door against those nasty fingers causing the demon behind them to squeal. Locks are secured and I breath a sigh of relief. That was a close one!
Before a new door in this wondrous hallway can be opened a demanding alarm sounds from the complete opposite side of the maze. I run toward the noise, determined to get to the bottom of it at a reasonably quick fashion. Gosh damn it, its the ‘errand’ door, and its screaming at me, echoing through out the entire maze. I halt, stopping dead in my tracks. It’s pointless to open the door without first going back to rearrange and pack up the ‘children’ room, as well as rummage through the ‘lost items’ closet to find car keys and a purse.
The next few hours are a demanding jumbled up mess of wrong turns, construction filled hallways delaying progress, and accidental visits inside doors that are labeled things like ‘clumsily tripping’ ‘road rage’ ‘sleepy spells’ ‘car troubles’ and of course one embarrassing revisit to the ‘lost items’ closet where I seemed to misplace my debit card while at the grocery store.
Finally, the day is creeping to a close, and it’s a good thing too because my little maze runner has nearly run out of steam. Just in time the husband door flings open. The contents of this room relieves me of the keys to my most demanding doors. I step out of his room to find the halls of my maze quieted at last. Inevitably, and after weeding through a couple of wrong turns again, I make my way back to the ‘writing tools & imagination’ hall.
Now, this time is different. Much different! There is no forced lights, or subconscious pulls into unwanted doors. This time offers a whole new chaos. At some point in my absence, there was a sneaky little character from the mystery room that had figured out how to pick his lock. He got out you see, and wreaked havoc in all the surrounding rooms. Ultimately it was a good thing, and I thanked him for it later. Amidst his random wandering he stole a wand in the ‘fantasy’ room and used it to awaken some magic that had long been sleeping. He stirred up heated emotions just at the tip of the romance door. My gosh, he even shook the hand of a war vet in the history closet. This dubious mystery man forced me inside each and every door. I sorted and used the stirred up contents productively… Then I exited that wondrous hall with pride in my step and an ever widening grin on my face.