On Writing And The Chaos Of Unwritten Ideas

One of the weird things writing does for me, is helps me clean things out of my brain so normal function is possible. Sometimes it’s a post on Facebook with a link to an article and small note of commentary that helps me move past a particularly stressful political situation. Sometimes it’s a blog post dedicated to cultural appropriation. Sometimes it’s sending an email to someone who I’m worried I might have upset. It’s always words to “paper” in a way that clears out my brain to release it from having to spend any more time thinking about a subject so that maybe I can function like a normal human.

I tell you this because lately I’ve felt like my brain is cluttered and I can’t quite get it all out on paper. Part of it is that – with all of the traveling back and forth between Knoxville and Huntsville – I don’t have as much time to write. Even a Facebook post takes me time if it’s purpose is to cleanse my brain of some sort of current event obsession. But blog posts really take a couple cups of coffee in the morning to sort out all of the junk for words worth sharing and it’s hard to make time for that on my first morning in Knoxville (which was yesterday) if I’ve been up late driving or if I just can’t squeeze it in before my morning run which I have to do before driving Mom to work.

But some of it is that I just can’t seem to get the thoughts out. I mean, they’re rattling around in my head, but I just don’t know how to sort them out into words and OH MY GOD it is making me crazy. I’ve got many thoughts bouncing around in there still about my new approach to food and my body and how I’ve been trying to make sure my daughter hears me OFTEN talking about things I love about my body. It is like the seeds of that blog post are constantly hitting up against the walls of my brain and I can’t quite catch them to let them grow into anything substantial so they’re just dancing around constantly tormenting me.

I really wanted to do a Facebook post about how distraught I was when I started seeing some of my favorite journalists on twitter look at data and start to pontificate on the idea that maybe these “Obama Voters Who Voted For Trump” switched long before Trump was candidate. They’re started to discuss that these voters switched political leanings around the time of the rise of Black Lives Matter. There’s not been any concrete study that can show this, but there’s a lot of smart people who spend a lot of time analyzing data who seem to be thinking this is a very possible scenario and I am just saddened by this. But – without someone smarter to sort through that idea first – I can’t quite sort it out myself. So it just continues to bounce around my head making me crazy.

I’ve got thoughts zig-zagging around my head about sexuality and how I still think – even as we all become more open-minded about embracing our children in any sexuality – we’re still teaching our kids in their pivotal puberty years ONLY about heterosexual sexual health. We talk about pregnancy and conception and we talk about heterosexual STD prevention but we need to not wait to see if our kids are gay before we discuss HIV testing and PrEP usage for preventative care. But I can’t quite figure out how to sort my brain around that other than to put it in a tweet. BUT THAT TWEET DIDN’T STOP THE RATTLING AROUND, so I think I need to write more about it. I just can’t quite seem to get it to paper.

And then, of course, there’s always the things I have trouble sorting through because they are not for public consumption and so writing about them publicly is not an option. Sometimes writing about them privately helps, but a lot of time it doesn’t so a lot of those things just bounce around in my head indefinitely and I can usually handle those few things IF THE OTHER THINGS WEREN’T BOUNCING AROUND IN THERE TOO.

So basically this post is a post to try to stop the rattling. Maybe just casually putting some of the thoughts down on this blog post will calm my brain a bit. This is one of the many times I really feel like I need to learn/focus on yoga. I think I could use some sort of meditative habit that would help me exists in peace EVEN WHEN MY BRAIN IS LIKE A POPCORN MACHINE.

5 Comments

  • Cheryl

    Yoga works for me because my brain is too busy thinking “don’t fall down. don’t fall down. don’t fall down” to harbor many other thoughts. 🙂

  • Amy J.

    This is why I got a skateboard this summer. Even though I’m the awkward 44 year old woman on a skateboard in my neighborhood, when I skate I can’t think of ANYTHING else. My only thoughts are of the physical mechanics to move and the joy that bubbles up when I do it correctly. Mix that with fresh air and sunshine and it’s been the BEST idea I’ve had in a long time.

    Obviously, I’m not saying take up skateboarding, but like the yoga comment above, a hobby that occupies the brain works for some of us who deal with monkey mind on the daily.

    • Zoot

      This is EXACTLY why I love trail running over road running! All I can think about is not falling every step! Road running is boring and so I end up spiraling into my thoughts, but trail running is about SURVIVAL 🙂

  • Laura

    Have you ever tried writing “morning pages,” the kind of brain dump writing championed in Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way? Even if I only have time for one page of long-hand in the morning (she suggests three), it really helps declutter my thoughts for the day.

  • Anne

    Super late comment – sorry – but… have you thought about doing voice memos on your phone while you’re driving? The reason I ask is that I have the same issue a lot of the time and I’ll just hit record on my phone, talk talk talk, and then transcribe it later. It really seems to help when my brain is full. 🙂