The Daily Prompt for today inspired me to break my bad case of writer’s block and get to work commenting on the question: what would I do if I could unlock the 90% of my brain that is closed, according to experts in the field that claim we humans only use about 10% of our brain capacity.
This is a thought that I have actually spent a lot of time thinking about. Half-joking, I maintain that my forgetfulness and absent-mindedness in recent months or years has been due to my brain becoming “full,” and making room by ejecting extraneous information out of my 80-year-old brain. My doctor assures me that my brain is fine, and in no danger of serious brain malfunctions any time soon. But truth be known, certain occurrences worry my writer’s brain.
The thing that bothers me the most is when I cannot think of a word, or a precise word, in the middle of a sentence. I am a fast typist, and have always been a writer, and often the words that I needed just seemed to flow from my fingers through my keyboard. Often I have found that in reading or proof-reading my own words, at times the product has seemed foreign to me–as if written by someone else.
This feeling of detachment from my work, a news article or university student paper, has flowed from somewhere in the brain reservoir. A couple of years I tackled the NaNoWriMo project November Novel Writing Month, in which participants spend the month of November writing a 60,000 word novel. The rules are fairly flexible, except that it is supposed to be an original piece of work that is not a work in progress.
I did not complete the novel that I was working on. However, I did follow the rules of sitting down at my keyboard and writing…no plot, no characters, not even an outline. Although those were not specifically forbidden. My goal was to see if I could do it. In a long stream of consciousness, in which there was no stopping for correcting typos or looking up information or spelling…or even reading it over for cohesive continuity and fact-checking. The thing is to just try to allow the novel to unfold–completely without a plan.
The amazing thing is that the free-form writing system actually saw characters walking onto the copy paper canvas, with story lines developing along the way. As the work proceeded the idea came to me that my novel could be based on my unfinished doctoral dissertation, which did in fact provide a framework of a plot.
The point of all this is that my half-finished novel grew out of information that had been stored in my brain. When it came to a blank-out when it was needed to name a new character, or a town, I used a series of place-holding dots or dashes, parentheses and little notes to self: “…is this location desert or island?” filled gaps both in the story that was unfolding and the breaks of continuity. The point of the “notes” is to provide clues for rewriting the piece later–such as remembering a character’s name.
In the event that suddenly a flash of insight or mechanical breakthrough opened the doors to the vast empty space of unused brain matter, what would I do with it?
Assuming that material such as that which surfaced during the free-writing exercise was stored in the active ten percent of brain capacity–and the consideration of the other 90% which presumeably was blocked off to my consciousness, I would move chunks of information out of the Active storage and into shiny new areas with plenty of room. This theoretical new space in my mind’s eye appears like a well-lit library of rows and rows of filing cabinets-crammed with folders of information.
Wow! Such a scenario would certainly require one heck of a comprehensive zip file!