Wednesday, 4 May 2011
The Idea Shop
Another problem about responding is the fact that I'm not entirely sure how the question is meant. It might not be a real question at all. People may not expect a real answer. For all I know, it might just be a nicer way of saying, "Lorks-a-lordy, woman, you must be some kind of freak, because your stuff is abnormal." On the other hand, it may mean "C'mon, spit out some secret tips. I know there must be a simple trick with a phonebook and a hatpin or something, cause you're not that clever" or "You, my darling, are an enigma, an E N I G M A, and I fear I shall go stark raving bonkers if I cannot delve into your twisted brain this instant and find out how it works." So I never answer properly. I just look harried, mumble my unhelpful stock response and then emit a desperate gargling cry of "Waiter! More wine!" Today, however, I'm in a gregarious and analytical mood. So today I'm going to try and answer the question to my own satisfaction, at least.
My theory is that ideas operate just like dreams in the sense that every single one of us has them, but some of us don't register them - they just don't surface to the conscious mind. A second category of people do register them but don't remember them for long enough to do something about them. They emerge for a few moments but then tumble back into the depths of the mind where they are locked away forever. Then there is a third category of people who register and remember them, but view them with suspicion, thinking them silly or inappropriate or even a bit unnerving. Let's face it, the subconscious can be pretty flaky at times. It can be better to banish the bizarre random visions it occasionally hurls at us - particularly any that feature vampire penguins or motorcycle slutpigs - to shudder, shake one's head, focus firmly on the real world and say "More tea, auntie?" instead.
I reckon that I fit into none of the three categories above, and this is why:
From my early childhood, I have always been known as a terrible daydreamer. I could - and can - quite happily sit in a daydream for hours. I do it by accident and I also do it on purpose. I'm one of life's born mental skivers and I do it as often as I can get away with. Waiting is never boring for me. Nor is silence or solitude. (Perhaps this is a dreadful confession to make, but only other people can bore me - people who insist on discussing intricate humdrum affairs and lengthy expert views without considering that they may be disrupting the very pleasant and absorbing daydream about pirates or pixies - or indeed motorcycle slutpigs - which their unwilling listener would otherwise be enjoying.)
Another significant aspect is that I value my daydream worlds just as highly as the outer world. Daydreams are wonderful. They are free and seem so erractic yet there is also some kind of unfathomable system to them, like ocean currents or weather patterns. They merge into one another. Themes recur, stories meander, circle back to their origins, swerve off in new directions. Time passes differently in daydreams. There's a whole multiverse in there and we can access it at any time. Quite honestly, what the fuck could be more amazing and more irresistibly compelling than that? The latest stock exchange news? Oho. I humbly beg to differ.
Now, it is a confirmed fact that it is very much easier for people to remember things that they are genuinely interested in, and my daydreams interest me very much. (Some would say I was obsessed with them.) And this means that I remember them. And because it is while daydreaming that I get my ideas, I remember a reasonable proportion of my ideas, too.
I get the impression that many people are less concerned with their daydreams and other forms of inner loopiness and more interested in what is know as "life" or "the real world" or "the big picture". This sort of thing is seen - and no doubt very rightly - as the desirable and proper attitude to have. "Not having a life" or "not living in the real world" is seen as a major fault. We are continually encouraged to "keep it real", but rarely to "make it fantastical". All very sound thinking, no doubt, but I'm sure that's why some people don't remember many of their more brilliant creative brainwaves. They are too outwardly focussed and too quick to disown all the oddities that come from within. Now me, I'm not like that. If anything, I'm the other way around. I pounce on my oddities; I exalt and glorify them; it's the real world I'm guilty of pooh-poohing. I can't remember the name of the German foreign minister. The only European government I could comment on with any certainty is the Belgium one (which happens to be non-existent - making it wonderfully easy to remember, and I thoroughly approve of it for this reason). Outwardly, I seem to operate in the real world as well as the next person, but ask me a few simple questions and you'll see that it is but a flimsy facade. And underneath that facade I'm an unashamedly subjective fantasist. I have one eye looking outwards - mainly in order to avoid walking into lampposts or treading in dog poo - and the other looking in.