So, it’s the first day back to normality after a long Bank Holiday weekend, and I feel like my brain has turned to dust. I guess that’s normal. Isn’t it?
It’s a funny thing. When I’m really busy, and I have a hugely full schedule, and I have so many things to do that I’d actually need to clone myself to get to it all, I start to go into a catatonic state. I’m not sure if it happens to other people, but I know it happens to me. It’s sort of like a computer overloading when you give it too many tasks to perform all at once, I suppose.
I remember once ‘coming to’, sitting on the side of my bed, one sock on and one sock off, having frozen mid-thought for an unspecified length of time, on the morning of one of the busiest days I’ve ever had. It was in the midst of my PhD studies, and I was also helping to organise a major international conference, and teaching, and writing papers, and planning my own presentation at said conference (in front of several major big-wigs in the field), and I guess it all got too much for me. Putting on two socks in quick succession was the one tiny task that made my brain decide ‘Yep. Enough is enough. I’m going to my happy place now, for a little while.’ It was a very strange moment though, to snap back to reality with a sock in your hand, not quite sure what you were going to do with it.
I feel a little bit like that this morning – overwhelmed with deadlines, things to remember, entries to competitions that I simply cannot forget, planning for the future, and lots of other things. I feel a brain freeze may be imminent, and so I’m trying to distract myself in order to stave it off. I can’t exactly avoid putting socks on, in case that simple action tips my brain over into the abyss again, so I’ll have to be clever about it.
Something that might help me to divert my own attention is the fact that I now have a printer that works once again. Huzzah! I never realised how useful a gadget a printer is until I didn’t have one. I’ve been happily looking forward to printing my current short story project and getting at it with my editor’s pen ever since yesterday evening. Nothing can really compare with printing a piece and seeing how it fits on the page, and whether it flows properly, and how its sections look in black and white. I finished this particular story last week, and it’s definitely one of the weirder pieces I’ve ever written (and I say this in full knowledge of the fact that I’ve published a story about cannibalism – so you can perhaps gauge what I’m talking about.) I like the story, but I’m not sure about it. It’s amazing how printing something out can make or break it; I wonder sometimes if printing a piece fools you into thinking it’s a proper book, and you can slot it into a different critical space in your brain, one that you reserve for formulating thoughts about other people’s work, and not your own. Certainly, seeing something of mine on paper allows me to look at it with a completely new perspective.
I guess this is the only way to avoid the dreaded brain-freeze, then – focus on one small task at a time, break it down into do-able chunks, get it off your schedule, and move on to the next small task. If you look at everything all at once, it’s no wonder your brain decides to vamoose.
So, that’s just what I’ll do. I’ll get this story out of my head, and then move on to the next thing, and after that the next, and after that, the next, and so on for the rest of my life. I’ll never be finished, of course, but I hope I won’t be popping back to consciousness clutching a random sock in my panicky fist ever again, either.
Happy Tuesday! May your day be both panic- and sock-free, and I hope your brain is at full power.