Ideas swirl around, running laps through the gray matter, one outburst igniting another, then slowly ebbing away, in its wake a set of concepts minimally connected to their parent, now rippling through the brain on their own, spawning and dying and spawning and dying.
A tsunami wave encircling a globe covered entirely in water. The surface is mobile, rearranging itself by the microsecond into strange and unique patterns. Unique in their arrangement, though the shapes of the waves are of course familiar. The subsurface of the world is what defines the patterns. Entire continents etched in the tectonic plates of the planet, covered in water, a hundred meters or a dozen kilometers in depth, the pressure oscillating with the tides and remnants of the splash of energy that the meteorite of inspiration dropped onto the blue globe.
Waves, be they waves in water or the compression and expansion of mattress springs or an idea lighting up the neurons of the brain in infinitely complex but familiar patterns, they carry energy and information with them.
Stand on a beach and observe the tides for a few hours, drive on a floating bridge and try to look away from the road, toward the too-close horizon and consider the frothing lake just a dozen feet away.
There is something about allowing the brain to run wild, unbounded, that counterintuitively is very dangerous to forward progress. The ideas that start in my head as small ripples, the ripples that are left behind by a piece of sensorium, by the sight of snow and hail on a Sunday afternoon, gain pace as they swirl through the brain. They run amok, catch on the subsurface patterns of knowledge, and produce new ripples. The brain leaps from hail and snow to asteroids succumbing to the gravitational pull of Luna and slamming into her South Pole, forming craters whose deepest points never see the light of the sun, and whose tallest rim sees so little shade that we have called it an eternal peak.
The waves propagate, slam into each other, fight for control of the nervous system and force the fingers to type in commands, which alter the waves of photons and allow waves of information about the craters to enter the pupils. The brain picks up these new waves and the process begins anew. More waves arise, now concerning topics of atlases and space colonies. The tab with the blog on it hasn’t been touched in an hour or so. The pupils dart around, the hands dance.
A member speaks up, silent for a while but now awakened, and suddenly photons with energy states corresponding to flesh tones appear with more frequency. The blog tab is forgotten about, of course. So is the moon. So are sure tight costumes, the waves spell out, possibly, though there is no one in the world who could read that.
I try and scrounge up some thought or topic, something to wax poetically about for a bit, an amount of typing and thought that could lead to a “Post” button being pressed.
The tabs are minimized. The urge to look up the deepest possible crevice in the submerged face of the world is there, and I begin to type “xkcd depths”, but another wave crashes in the depths of the brain and I finally recognize the pattern, realize that this constant search for accuracy, this attempt to reference and learn and better understand the world, it is a hinderance to what I set out to do.
Of course, many will say that creativity cannot be forced. I’ve thought as much myself.
But is that true?
The free mind, one that is allowed unfettered access to the web, given full permission to go back and re-read the higher symbols on the screen, what does it do? It shaves a yak or paints a bike shed. It find anything and everything else to lock on to, except for what I think I want.
Give it a set of rules, turn off the second screen, forbid any lookups or retrograde maneuvers, force it to leave a written sentence stay as is, and suddenly it is able to put down thoughts.
Oh, what a wonderful thing this is, this globe of gray matter, waves of thought slamming down on it.