Not Idle At All

All these years I thought my mind wandered a lot, idle thoughts knocking around in my noggin like careening, caroming pinballs.  I had always thought it was a negative thing, as if I had some problem focusing on thoughts that really mattered or things at hand.  Imagine my delight and amazement to realize, recently, that these words were not idle or empty, but were my own ongoing reactions to the world around me.  In the privacy of my own mind, I interpreted and reflected on things I saw and heard and did.  All these years, probably from the time I learned words, I’ve been collecting sights and sounds, words and events, like so many ingredients for a stir-fry.  Trouble was, I let them sit on the chopping board, unccoked, unseasoned, unstirred and unserved.  I wasn’t even aware of them, sometimes, or at least not aware of their significance.  Now, finally, I have learned and am still learning to listen and pay attention to what’s going on up there, and to write my thoughts down.  Maybe I’m late to the kitchen, all those years of words ignored, but at least I’m here now, apron and hat on, frying, baking, broiling and serving up sentences, paragraphs, poems, essays, and soon, stories.

I also think of this flow of ideas, my interpretation of what’s going on, as the idea river.  Since it’s something I’ve hardly paid attention to all these years but now am keenly aware of, the experience feels like a river at times, torrents of expression and impression I sometimes scramble to write.

I chatted with a friend on the walk to work today.  He told me he will be leading a group discussion this evening about living in the moment.  He asked for my thoughts.  I mentioned listening to the words in one’s mind as a way to live in the moment.  My reflections on the world around me are happening in me right now.  I’m not regretting the past or being anxious about the future; just listening now.  He pointed out that a lot of the words people speak to themselves are negative ones, self-critical and destructive.  I wondered if those negative thoughts could be seen positively, as statements of emptiness or lack that, once spoken and acknowledged are available to be filled.  Or at least, listened to and written, maybe the first step to dealing with them.

I don’t know if everybody has words, perceptions, interpretations of life running through their brains, but I am sure many do.  Whether you’re 21 or 51, or 81, start writing them down now.  The next time you are aware of a thought or a reaction, positive or negative, write it.  Be aware of how you experience something like a sunset, a park, a meal, a building, or an interaction between you and another person.  Write a word, a sentence, or a paragraph.  Or more.  Whip up a literary omelet or frittata of your own from the ingredients you already have in your head.

About literarylee

I sling words for a living. Always have, always will. Some have been interesting and fun; most not. These days, I write the fun words early in the morning before the adults are up and make me eat my Cream of Wheat.
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