08 April 2013

Lost Ideas

Jan Grapeby Jan Grape

I'm thrilled the President is backing research on mapping the brain. Mainly, because I'd like to know where my brilliant ideas go inside my brain when I lose them. Does this ever happen to you? I can't understand it and it's wonderful that scientist are going to map out the brain. I wonder if it will be like a file cabinet and things will be labeled alphabetically? Or will they just handle things regionally? Texas things here. NY things here. California things over here. Music, art, literature, science, mathematics, food, wine, sex, uh oh. I really don't care I just want to access those awesome ideas when I have them.

The aggravation is, I know I had a wonderful idea for this post last week. It was on writing and the lessons were perfect for the beginning writer, for the advance writer and for the astute reader. I had examples I planned to use and even thought of book covers I could incorporate. But silly me, I didn't write any of this down. You see, I was laying (lying?) in bed trying to go to sleep and my brain was running about 120 miles per hour. It happens to me at least twice a week. I just can't turn off my brain and go to sleep.

So I'm lying (laying)? there and suddenly I began having a brainstorm. I'll bet at least half of those 86 billion neutrons were popping at the speed of light and the thoughts kept blinking off and on. Off and on. I'd have a good thought and that in turn would melt into another related good thought. The next idea flowed into another and it all made wonderful sense.

I know, I know, I probably should have gotten up, picked up my pad and pen from my night stand and made notes. Problem is, I was so comfortable. I had my body in exactly the right position so that nothing hurt and it was so nice that I just didn't want to move. When you get to be my age, good sleeping positions are to be cherished and the worst thing you can do is move a muscle. Because once you move, that warm comfy position somehow slips away. No matter how much you try, after you get up, to get back into that comfort zone you just can't find it. It's gone. Where I don't know, but perhaps with the brain mapping there will be a cabinet drawer that's labeled "Comfort Zone For Sleeping." Lord, I hope so.

So I'm totally comfortable and I'm not about to move. The next best thing is to sternly tell myself, "Self, this is important. This will make a super article for my SleuthSayers blogspot." Okay, so I repeat several times what I believe is the main theme of my article. I mentally write on my forehead, as if it were a note pad. Number 1: The fantastic way to do this is by writing...this. Number 2: It's very easy to do, all you have to do is...this. Number 3: Show examples of this. Number 4: Get someone to show you how to pull book covers off web sites and put into your article. Finally, Number 5: bring it all together in a meaningful way and wow...you got this.

That's when the danged alarm went off and it was time to get up and get ready for my bowling league. I was exhausted because I had not slept a wink all night because I had this extraordinary idea to write for my blog. However, I couldn't remember any of it except all the meaningless things.. Like being too comfortable to get up and make notes. Like talking sternly to myself and saying "You will remember, you will remember, your will remember." Like mentally writing bullet number points on my forehead as it it was a lined sheet of paper.

BUT I had absolutely no idea what my article idea was about. Nothing. Nada. No way. I've tried every day for nine days to remember. Used every trick I could think of to bring it all back to mind and nothing works. Which means that y'all now have this silly little article about my forgetfulness and my frustration. As my Mama used to say, "It's aggra-fretting."

Please Doctor Scientist, hurry up and get our brains mapped so I can know exactly where to go in my mind to find those super ideas that I manage to come up with. And maybe, just maybe that awesome idea is there, filed away somewhere in my mental file cabinet and I'll be able to resurrect it and write it up for all of you to read.

8 comments:

Toe Hallock said...

Ms. Grape: You bring up an interesting premise. We all need to be careful when it comes to technology and the human brain or psyche. "Minority Report," a movie based on Phillip K. Dick's story is a warning of what could happen if our memories or subconscious thoughts are commandeered by what are most certainly well-meaning authorities. Not sure I want to go there. Yours truly, Toe.

Robert Lopresti said...

That was the best opening fir a blog piece I have read in many months. Great piece all the way.

Scientist Buckminster Fuller supposedly said that after you have an idea you have seventeen minutes to do something with it. Write it down, draw a picture, tell it to somebody, turn it into a song... Anything to make it last. Seventeen minutes or it is gone. Did you know that if you write something down and throw the paper away your odds of remembering it are still better than if you didnt write it doen?

My father, when he wanted to reember something would tear off a slip of paper and tuck it in his pocket. When he emptied his pockets latervhecalways remembered wat the torn piece of paper meant. Me, ha.

One night i had a brilliant idea in the middle of the night. I grabbed a notebook and pen and wrote it down. The next morning I picked it up and resd: A Warehouse.

Maybe you are better off not knowing?

Fran Rizer said...

Jan, this is a great read, and I think most of us can relate to losing a wonderful idea.

A suggestion--unless the perfect idea for a blog was to write about forgetting a fantastic idea--is one I used for song-writing.

Purchase a small recorder. Then, since you and I seem to be a lot alike, get someone to show you how to work it. (My grandson teaches me to operate anything new, but I know your Alien is back in Tennessee.) The recorder goes by the bed and enables you to reach one arm from the covers and record your idea without actually changing position. If there's no background noise in your bedroom, a sound-activated recorder is even better. You can lie in bed all comfortable and snuggled and just speak loudly.

Of course, if you talk in your sleep, you may be in for a surprise in the morning.

David Edgerley Gates said...

Jan,
This is all too true, but I think Rob is right. If you don't write it down, you lose it. If you do write it down, your mind retains it, whether you can find the piece of paper later on, or not. Then again, there are always those scribbles of insight that are either illegible or mean nothing to you when you get up and read them in the morning. Ha. Very often, things come to me in that middle space, first thing in the morning, between drowsing and waking. I've learned the smart move is to sit up and make a note, and not go back to sleep.

Eve Fisher said...

Been there. Done that. I've lost so many ideas, thinking that mulling them over is enough. It isn't.

Herschel Cozine said...

Jan,

I can certainly identify with that. I don't even have to be in bed to lose an idea. I may be watching a TV program, get a great idea but make the mistake of waiting for a commercial to write it down. Big mistake.

Of course, at my age the brain cell count is no longer in the billions. I'm not sure they ever were. Good article.

Louis A. Willis said...

A very interesting post. I keep pats, pens, and pencils all over my house, living room, kitchen, bedroom, and yes the bathroom and still lose ideas before I can get to a pad to write them down.

I read an article recently about how scientist have successfully decoded dreams using brain scans. Though this decoding dream stuff is in the primitive stage, I see some developer creating or developing an app that will sync with my brain waves while I’m sleeping, and all I have to do when I wake up is push the home button on my iPad and then the open button on the dream app and see the article I was writing in my dream ready for me to correct. It may even work when I just sitting and thinking.



Louis A. Willis said...

A very interesting post. I keep pats, pens, and pencils all over my house, living room, kitchen, bedroom, and yes the bathroom and still lose ideas before I can get to a pad to write them down.

I read an article recently about how scientist have successfully decoded dreams using brain scans. Though this decoding dream stuff is in the primitive stage, I see some developer creating or developing an app that will sync with my brain waves while I’m sleeping, and all I have to do when I wake up is push the home button on my iPad and then the open button on the dream app and see the article I was writing in my dream ready for me to correct. It may even work when I just sitting and thinking.