The Ups & Downs of Giving My Brain a Home


We each have a unique brain, but my lately my own brain has been acting particularly unique. On Tuesday, as I was heading for work, I started thinking about what I would write in the next blog. When I got to the train, I dug around in my coat for a file card and wrote 24 lines in very tiny handwriting to capture my ideas before class. I do realize that a lot of you young whippersnappers, especially those born after the bicentennial, probably would have tippy-tappy typed yourself a text or email, but you would, I argue, be losing out. The e-world does not have the serendipity of the material world (Oooh, now there is an epigraph. Everyone: go write me a poem with this as its heart’s kernel! Report back.) It is hard to accidentally come across something you have put into the ether as I did yesterday when I found the file card my cat had knocked off the dresser, a file card scribbled last year when I was at a bookstore, remembered the book and the line in it and copied it down, knowing I would eventually use it to write something (which I had done a few years earlier when I first read the book, but I lost that particular note). Serendipity on top of serendipity.

Anyway, my brain. So as I was entering the building where I teach, looking at my notes, I suddenly started singing in my head:

Chicken scratch blogpost, I don’t care!

Chicken scratch blogpost, I don’t care!

Chicken scratch blogpost, I don’t CAAAAAAAARE!

My master’s gone away!

Sigh. But there is also an upside to hosting my particular brain. On Monday afternoon, just as I was waking up from a nap, I could see, as if typed on the inside of my skull, the line, “As children we come to experiences bone to bone, with no kind skin to muffle the uproar.”

I know, right? Amazing!

I immediately knew that it was the beginning of a poem, at first I thought the poem about Troy but as I sat up and scrambled to get to the computer to write it down, I realized that instead it would enable me to write about the origin of the character I would argue is the Best Damn Villain Ever in popular culture, Xena’s nemesis Callisto, portrayed by the very talented Hudson Leick, who apparently now teaches yoga. That seems a trifle ironic, given that Callisto is a very likeable psychotic mass-murdering fiend. I even saw a short, 4 minute, YouTube video that explains with clips from the shows, just why Leick’s Callisto is the Best Villain Ever (so it is not just my opinion, huh!).

This is why, despite all my protests that There Is No Muse, GRRR!, I can absolutely understand why the ancients would make up the idea of the muse. Even I, after briefly minoring in psychology in college, have a hard time giving my own mind credit for such an unlikely phenomenon as the perfect gift of a perfect line after a damn fine nap. It is easier to give somebody else credit, whether that’s nine generous Greek chicks or God. The Greeks are the ones who handed us down the idea of hubris, the dangerous self-pride or arrogance that offends the gods. For writers, inspiration is a precarious thing, as illustrated by all the blogs on WordPress alone that focus on writers block. Even for me, the instinct is to be cautiously humble…

3 comments on “The Ups & Downs of Giving My Brain a Home

  1. PJS says:

    Well, if you didn’t give your brain a home, it would just go and torment — I mean delight — someone else.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. PJS says:

    Indeed. 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s