I’ve always considered myself a lazy person, prone to daydream. If I’m pushed to do too many things I’m likely to do nothing, but if I’m given a little space to breath I go at my pace. One of my greatest worries is that whatever talent I have will wither and fall to ashes. But, after I read a recent study in the Journal of Cognitive Studies that actually purported the critical need for insight to have its breathing space— this excited me. It explains a lot. It gave me an aha moment.
I’m not a musician, but I love music. One of my teachers once said that I am more of a jazz improviser than a play by the sheet kind of cat. I have a natural disdain for linearity. I’ve always colored out of the lines. Partly out of sloppiness, but also because I have an alternate view of the universe cached in my brain.
I’m making a roundabout point, but that’s consistent with my improv kind of mind. You see, I sometimes need to let my head roam about aimlessly. My neurons seem to fire better when I’m playing a sport or doing something mechanical. I’ve always found great fun wiping down windows, rubbing Brasso into buttons, polishing silverware. Yes, I have my mom to thank for the polishing. As a kid, I saw her wiping down knives and forks. She didn’t freak out, thinking I’d spork out my eye, when I sidled over to join. No. She let me help her. Smart cookie my mom, using reverse psychology delegation. Okay, maybe that’s a stretch. She did see the benefit though because I built coordination and critical sensory motor skills.
More than that, I fostered a penchant for beauty. I wanted to make things shine. Joyce Carol Oates says there's nothing better, nothing more therapeutic than cleaning the apartment, a dazzling revelation from one of the most prolific writers of our time. I couldn't agree more. Believe it or not I've found an epiphany or two sniffing the lemony zest of dish soap when washing the pots and pans. I'm also drawn to writers and their characters that relish these seemingly mundane chores. Murakami's protagonist in "A Wild Sheep Chase" derives great pleasure from ironing shirts. This kind of plebeian delight rings true for me.
Ode to the beautiful, wandering mind.