I often feel disconnected. Spending your days hunched over a computer or a notebook will do that to you. Long walks with no one for company but my pre-verbal daughter will do that too. She is quite good about not interrupting when I voice my thoughts out loud but that will soon change. Her new words are elephant’, ‘apple’ and ‘monkey’ and soon hearing herself talk will be of ultimate importance.
I don’t mind the social disconnection so much. I have very good friends and many of them are writers too. They understand.
I can’t help but notice that people as a whole have become more isolated. No man is an island? This seems to have changed with the advent of big screen TVs, home entertainment systems, home computers, cellular phones, internet shopping. You can lead your whole life not interacting with anyone except your immediate family. I imagine us like small cells surrounded by a sort of no man’s land, occasionally bumping up against one another. This fuels distrust, suspicion. It’s very sad.
There’s another sort of disconnect that happens quite often. I get migraines. Not as many since I left the florescent-lit offices of the music industry with its pumped-up thermostats and glaring computer screens and frenetic pace but still two or three a year. They’re awful things triggered by the long hours hunched over the computer, and sometimes by sudden changes in the outside temperature. They raise questions in my mind about my brain function. When I am nursing a splitting head in the dark, I sometimes feel as if I am floating away. So much of my life is spent trying to pin down the exact word, express the emotion, describe an action, that it is natural for me to try to moor myself with language. But during a migraine, my brain cannot fix on a word. I float, I feel myself become undone. Thankfully it doesn’t last for long these days, and the hammer through the skull falls softer.
When I walk my hills I repeat my mantras. Short phrases of positive reinforcement when I basically tell myself what I am trying to achieve, what my long-term goals are. Might be wacky, but I’ve always done it. I like to visualize, plan ahead, that’s just me, otherwise I might be overwhelmed and never move forward at all. I do this every day, two sentences repeated over and over, the words so familiar that I don’t need to think about them, and I suppose in much the same way meditating on a candle flame works (incidentally I am very bad at meditating), my brain is free to roam, to bounce from thought to thought. Here touching on my children, school, what’s for dinner, unpleasant duties, bills to pay, annoyances, and of course works in progress, works completed, works that are but a gleam in my eye. If something good occurs to me I stop and jot down a note, otherwise I just let my brain fly free. I have found that often the solution to a blockage (we’re talking about writing here) often just pops up, organically one might say, and it is always easier than whatever forced solution I may have been sweating over for days.