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Getting On That Train (Living With a Non-linear Mind, Prologue)

Sometimes my mind just runs along all on its own, and I couldn’t tell you what I’m thinking about if you asked me.

And there are moments when that rambling mind grabs up many of its assorted ideas and weaves them together into a new whole, something special, that was not there before.

The ideas conglomerate and shift until they make a new picture, or a new set of pictures, like a kaleidoscope. And when that happens, I often feel like I have to go with it. I have to get on that train, and take those ideas where they are going to go. For a couple of reasons.

First off, if I do let go of that new set of ideas, I’m taking a risk. Something might happen to scramble them all – I might get distracted and forgetful, and just drop them all and they’ll lie shattered in a confused pile for a long time before I can take them up again.

More likely, though, I just won’t be able to concentrate on anything else. My mind will have grabbed that set of ideas, and if I don’t go with it I will find it difficult to concentrate. My dreams will be full of confusion and shifting scenes that I can’t keep track of. My conversations will tail off and people will wonder if I’m having a stroke.

So I have to, if you will forgive the cliche’, seize the moment. If everything has come together into a complete picture, I have to somehow record that assemblage of thought. It’s a kind of drive, which is equal parts unpredictable and infrequent.

So what counts as a goal for me, is to in some way make progress toward my larger goals – even small progress – on a daily basis. Blog. Practice guitar. Do things around the house so that I can be more efficient or have free time later. Listen to music I haven’t heard before, to stimulate my mind. Anything.

Because I can’t count on inspiration, but I can do my part to be ready for it if and when it comes. If I’m gonna get on a train, I better make it to the station on time – so attending to the daily tasks are what gets me there.

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