Tuesday, January 15, 2013

non-linear linear thought

Logic is never linear.  It dashes to and fro and bounces off walls and makes hairpin turns and gets lost during detours.  Anything can be a catalyst, usually something unrelated to the task at hand, ricocheting your thoughts into an unexpected direction - a direction that inevitably leads to a solution linear thinking could never have approached.

That paragraph is from a Myron Bolitar book by Harlan Coben, and describes with great accuracy the process my thinking goes through as the stories of our youth pop into my head, with beautiful, symbolic phrases occurring to me in the middle of the night, often forgotten by morning when I may want to sit down and write out the story.  Or a song is played that reminds me of a moment or a time slot that has stuck with me, faithfully with time.  And sometimes one of you will write something to me that bounces and flies simultaneously, and I may forget it, pounce on it, or fail to tuck it back into the linear sequence that allows the reader to understand it as well.  Or it may become a centerpiece of a post.

A song like Blues for the Night Owl by Ramsey Lewis will make me stop what I'm doing, look at nothing, and recall the late-night KGLO radio program, Jazz Late Night, or some such title.  I'll hear the music in my head while visualizing a light snow, driving a '57 Pontiac down Highway 65, returning from an evening in Mason City, and the hairpin logic takes over so I may segue to thoughts of the other people who were in the car, a snowfall during which we may have been turning donuts, or how that relationship of that night may have ended - or took hold.

I may not have mentioned your name in any post, but I have been talking about you - did you notice?  The story is always about you - and you and you and you and you.  And there are many of you, some more cited than others, and all of you from the era we lived together.  If you don't understand any of this, that's OK, you don't have to, because this is just me, in the present, telling the process of that short time slot in my life that doesn't exist anymore except in my head.  And you have your own track that may or may not carry your own detail and may or may not have significance in your life anymore.

It's the human condition - the memory may escape, perhaps on purpose, or you may have it buried deep, in need of a prompt to pull it out of the deep blue as I often do. Hopefully one prompt will lead me to another - and another - to flesh out a story and share the memory.

How?  Perhaps your picture jumps out of the yearbook at me, an unknown youngster runs past my house, or an email arrives that triggers a memory.  As Myron says, anything can be a catalyst, usually something unrelated to the task at hand.

And so it is that I leapt from my chair to examine the concept I had just read, and to tell you I am eager to hear more from you so I can sort out more pieces.  And if you're not sure that I am talking about you, rest assured that I am.  I have no idea how much I don't know, about you or those times.  Share if you would.


If you're wondering where the heck all that came from, just know that I was totally struck by the Bolitar description of linear thinking, thoughts bouncing off walls, ricocheting, and sometimes getting lost.  The Oscar Mikkelson post is an example.  I had long thought of several stories about him, and they pretty much all came out when Jerry Pixley's Confirmation Bulletin arrived.  Then the process was one of establishing a linear connection so my jumbled thoughts would become understandable to others.

And sometimes you just have to unload, get things off your chest, as I just did.  The thoughts caused by Bolitar were bouncing and ricocheting, and writing them out was my only mental relief.  This time I chose to share it with you, for whatever reason, and maybe you learned something about me.  Or you.

It's just amazing how and when things come together.  My family knows I have unusual dreams.  OK, they would call them weird, but I prefer unusual.  For example, about a month ago I had a dream about a woman named Connie, who was the mother of students of mine in a prior life.  She was a good woman, and well known because she was an active parent and I saw her often at school.  After the dream about her, I realized I couldn't recall a single incident about her in our very separated social lives, and I honestly hadn't thought about her in more than 30 years!  So why in the world she was the subject of a dream in December of 2012 I will never know.

Such is the non-linear part of my thinking.

So why the Ramsey Lewis song?  It popped on my Google Play just after I read that Bolitar paragraph, and it came at a perfect time.  The song, by the way, had much of the syncopation and style of the typical jazz trio on that late night program, but if you listen to it you might also think of it as music used in a slinky strip club. If that offends you, sorry.  Or too bad.  If you care to hear it, click this link, which will take you to my Dropbox.

Send me something decent to write about, willya?

(I know, Wilma wouldn't accept willya . . .)

1 comment:

  1. Have you ever considered writing a book, Lee. You are sooo good at expressing yourself and telling stories!


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