So there’s this thing in my head, and I want to write it down…
That’s not actually how most of my notes get started. Usually it’s, “I have to write something, what should it be about?” But before that, when I wasn’t doing this weekly, there would come times where I’d get this thing in my head, and I’d have to write it down. And I have come to wonder if this is a rare trait, or if many people have things in their heads, and just don’t write them down.
One might say that the Internet and blogging would reveal whether we have things in our heads that must be written. I’ve been on the Internet long enough (blogging privately since 2003, regularly online since about 1998 or so) to know what kinds of things most people put in a blog. Daily stuff, usually. Or the thing that is interesting us most at the moment. Frustrations, joys, trials, triumphs – blogging is pretty much just writing a letter and posting it where lots of people can see. And most of it is just day-to-day things, because that’s what’s on our minds, that’s what we’re thinking about, that’s where we’re spending our energy and time and effort. If we blog, we fill it up with the things that fill us up.
And I do plenty of that. My LiveJournal has plenty of geek squee in it, or things about my family or friends or work or hobbies or some combination of the above. There’s nothing wrong with that. We like to gossip about ourselves, keep up with the news. Even if these things don’t last, they have bearing on who we are and where we’re going. My state of mind right here, right now, concerns these little things.
But I am a person who gets things in my head. And I have to write them down.
It was hard when I first started doing it. Well, it’s still hard, but in a different way. I can tell by the stiff, stilted language that would creep in that I was afraid of what people would think. I was afraid of what happened when I put these things in my head for other people to see. When I have a thing in my head, it’s because I believe something to be right, but I’ve been proven wrong (or at least, not completely right) enough to doubt myself. But if some part of me fancied myself a philosopher, another part – a growing part – just wants to see what happens when I throw out my thoughts in coherent form.
And now I wonder. Is having thoughts like this rare? Does everyone get them, and just never say them? Or are they just unaware of them, lurking in the basement? I think the latter is true of plenty of people, especially if they’re not naturally introspective. If you don’t think your lurking thoughts are important, you’re not going to pay attention to them, or put them out where other people can read them.
But what of the questions? What of the ruminations and the theories? I’m the type for which tangents come naturally. I read a book or hear a sermon or watch a movie and my mind starts going, “Hey, what if…?” Maybe there are people who just don’t think that way, but how common is that? I wish I was better at getting people to talk, at digging around in their thoughts, because I really wonder what other people think, of what ideas they have.
I’m working on getting people to talk about their ideas. Which is doubly hard, ’cause I’m way less eloquent in real life – that and people don’t like to talk about what’s in their heads. They’ll give opinions, but not how they got there. And that’s the part that’s fascinating, that is something anybody can learn from.
‘Cause these things in our heads: if we have them, we shouldn’t keep them shut up. If we must be careful not to force them on people, or be belligerent about them, we shouldn’t be shutting them down, either. There’s things in my head, and I have really loved it when people who read them write back and comment – not always in agreement – because then I can see the things in their heads, and a whole new perspective that my brain could never find. And these things in our heads, they’re important. They make us what we are. They are the foundation of our actions, of our principles, of our lives. They flower out in amazing ways. They are windows to other universes.
I get things in my head, so I write them down. Not everybody can write. But some people can talk. Some people can make music. Some people can draw. Some people can design stuff, or build stuff. And some can write; not essays, but fiction or poetry. And thus those things get out for other people to see, and to learn from, and enjoy.