Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Pacing The Cage

Spent the day slowly-but-surely gearing up some initial inertia for some by-Friday curriculum-writing, which mostly meant a few hours in the faculty computer resource room on the LAN printing anything I thought might come in handy over the next few intensive days, a bit of email catch-up, and a spot of message board reconstruction.

Perusing and evaluating such materials tends to refocus the mind on the task at hand; by the time I arrived home with a thick handfull of papers and powerpoint printouts to find Darcie and Willow gone off to Brattleboro for a dip in South Pond the mind was brimming with ideas and outlines, each of which begged for paper and pen. The way my mind works -- and I have trained it well to do so exquisitely -- the brain will continue to simmer all night; by morning turning notes into narrative will be as natural as that first cup of coffee, and equally necessary to my mental health.

It's a (subjectively) highly successful formula, one which minimizes waste and maximizes quality in the production of any sort of paper, presentation, or indeed any extended linear communication. Given a month for an assignment, I have learned that my best can be found in toying with ideas for the first three weeks until the thesis, the goal, and the needed steps to get there become clear; from there, merely steeping myself in materials and keeping the ideas fluid until they naturally drop into their proper place like that last from-mess-to-finished rubik's cube twist, is the easy part. It's natural. It's fun. It looks like procrastination, but it isn't -- starting earlier results in a loss of focus over time, and produces only fragments for me. It does not break but merely internalizes the traditionally taught process of brainstorm and draft, and it works only if one can visualize, instantly, both forest and trees in an extended argument or process.

I like to think of this as the lighter, brighter side of ADHD. If one learns to watch one's own mind, the eight-track-simultaneous "curse" of the ADHD brain -- most often seen as problematic in that few ever learn how to manage so much information flow and environmental junk at once -- can be harnessed as what to others looks like "intuition" but is in actuality the ability to carefully fill each track with complimentary sub-ideas of the same process or piece-at-hand. The well-practiced mind, furthermore, can then "see" the relationships between each thread, and use it deliberately.

Or at least that's what it feels like. Hey, ask Shaw -- for a short while, I held the record at Marlboro College for netting the highest score ever on my writing pre-exam at orientation. I'm not bragging -- I have no sense that I'm a superhero -- it's just what I can do, and I'm proud because, for a long time, my brain was incomprehensible to me, my behavior erratic and inexplicable. It wasn't until I had a whole and holistic metaphor for the mind making the metaphor -- a meta concept if ever there was one -- that I managed to make sense to anyone, or to myself. And I didn't get that without much support (thanks, Darcie), and a very, very prolonged period of what can only be called adolescence into my mid twenties.

Okay, now that I've psyched myself up...I'm off to work. Is this how others think, I wonder?

posted by boyhowdy | 9:39 PM |

Post a Comment
coming soon
now listening