Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tools of the Trade: Facilitating Daydreams

Today I thought I'd highlight some important tools of the trade that are crucial to my creative consciousness, but which do their work quietly and without heralding their importance to the world. Without these things, I could not do the one thing that fuels my every creative and not-so-creative endeavor: daydream.

I could write an entire post about the necessity of daydreaming (and I probably will), but there are a couple of things that help me be able to daydream, and therefore, to write:

My feet.
My iPod. (Actually, it's my husband's. Shh. Don't tell him.)
A solitary place to walk.
That's it. Without those things, my creative engine short-circuits and my energy is off kilter. Sometimes I have to go and "walk it out" to give my brain time to fire off all the sequences it's processing and pair them to the mood of the music I'm pumping into my ears. From there, I can begin to make sense of the little ideas and snippets that I can't figure out how to put together. While I'm walking, my mind gets a chance to wander in cadence, and it helps get things in line. Not to mention that having an opportunity to open up my senses to new stimuli that I can't directly control can send my mind off in unexpected directions, unlike my desk where nothing changes except the smell when it's time to bathe the dog.

The Feet

Mine are the big ones on the right, pictured with fellow Converse Comrades.
My feet kind of suck. They are flat and they hurt. A lot. They were actually the reason that I stopped working as a bookseller. I put a big ol' stress fracture in my navicular bone and very intelligently worked for six months with a limp before I went to the doc.

Do not do this.

I was in a boot with crutches for the better part of a year, and this turned me into a soggy ball of anxious laborador who waited by the door for Husband to come home every day so that he could drive me in the car while I stuck my head out the window and wagged my tail. I wrote a lot during that period of time since I couldn't go for my walks, but none of it was good...because I couldn't go for my walks.

My feet still hurt, and I still abuse them, but I love them so. They are more than transportation. When it comes to my creativity, they are basically an extension of my brain.

The Music

iPod 5th generation, 2005-2013 RIP (Died of battery cancer. Very sad.)
I am a musician and I married a musician and most of my friends are musicians and I imagine that most of my characters are musicians even if they don't say so. Music is not just an important part of my life, it is part of my DNA, like blue eyes and sarcasm. I devour songs, stringing them in one ear and out the other, sucking all the inspiration off of them and leaving nothing but bones behind. I am always trolling for a new song or band or melody or lyric. I slurp them all up. Without music to keep up my energy and set the mood, my walks become painful and exhausting and my writing empty and without ambiance. I can say unconditionally that I am addicted to music. I hope I never recover.

The Path

I am a solitary creature. I crave aloneness like oxygen. If I do not feel alone, I cannot think. At all. Ever. I do my best writing in the middle of the night when my brain finally feels comfortable that every other sentient being in perceivable range is locked firmly in the "off" position. 

That goes for my walks too. If you're sitting on your porch and see me coming, I will pretend to tie my shoe and walk the other way. I will go back into my house and come back an hour later praying with all my might that you have tired of porch-sitting. Don't take it personally. It's not you, it's me. I go it alone, or I cannot go it. Period.

My neighborhood is great for walking. It's quiet, it's safe, and there are multiple paths I can slink and slide around if I see any other person stick their head out of their home. (Obviously not having gotten the memo that when I am outside NO ONE ELSE is allowed outside. Anywhere, for any reason.)

Achieving Success

If a walk is successful, it means that I have managed for some short period of time forget who and where I am and absorb myself in the more fertile patches of my mind where story ideas and characters are spawned. The music keeps the pain from my feet at bay, keeps my breathing steady, and helps me forget. My feet keep moving, one step and then the next, keeping my energy pumping a cadence. The road sits a silent servant beneath me, rolling on and on until my idea crests its apex and sends me running back in the house for a pen.

Of everything I love about my walks, my favorite part is, was, and always will be running back in the house for a pen.

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