I’m all excited by This Idea I have. See, I know I’m not the only one who is completely, utterly, not-to-say-“obsessively” fascinated by the creative processes of other people. As in, how ideas come to them. What it feels like. What they do, physically, when they’re in the middle of discovering a brand-new idea. Am I the only one who begins humming “The Wabash Cannonball”? And, by the way, how do I even *know* that song in the first place? Where did THAT come from? (Just a note: sitting here right now, I have no idea what that tune is. I couldn’t hum it for you. It’s not a tune that’s familiar to me EXCEPT when my brain goes into that certain mode. Then the tune starts up, and I somehow recognize it. Very odd. Maybe I only *think* it’s “The Wabash Cannonball.” Maybe I should worry.)
In fact, I can often tell what’s going on in the creative part of my brain by the soundtrack that’s playing there. I work in silence, if you don’t count the fans and the glass windchimes. No tv, no videos, no music. So when I begin to hear the theme song to “The Flintstones” or “I Dream of Jeanie” or “My Three Sons”–or that cannonball song–I know something’s perking. Because these are songs from my childhood, it could be that my brain is accessing the part from childhood. I can see a whole line of research there, but I don’t really think that’s it. Because sometimes, if I’m around other people when I get an idea, I hum out loud, tunelessly, and have realized the whole music-in-my-head-thing is just a way to set up a resonance in there to help block out distractions. I meditate best, in fact, while wearing ear plugs and listening to the sound of my own breath.
Since my husband has retired and sometimes sits out here and reads the newspaper while I’m working, I’m become aware of other things I do, things that I wouldn’t have paid attention to without someone pointing them out to me. When I’m writing, I periodically stare out the window and freeze, my fingers poised over the keyboard, my lips moving as I continue writing in my head. I know this must look odd because, at first, my husband would look at me and ask, with some alarm, “What’s wrong?” Now he doesn’t; he just keeps on reading. I like to believe it’s *not* because I kept yelling, “NOTHING! I’M WORKING HERE!”
So we’re going to explore this, what happens when ideas come. I’ve invited some fabulous artists to tell about their own experiences, and I can’t wait to share those. But waiting is required, since these are busy people who are going to need some time to answer my rather-exhaustive questions. I’d thought to start now and post three a week for a couple of weeks, but that’s unrealistic, given people’s summer schedules. So I’ll tell some of my own experiences and then, as others start to come in, I’ll post those.
Post comments and share your own experiences, please. Especially if the inside of your head is periodically filled with the sounds of “The Wabash Cannonball.” It would be good to know I’m not alone there. . . .