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January 3, 2013

Free Association Thursday - A Pleasantly Disturbed Diversion

Isn't free association a wonderful thing? Digging down deep into your self-conscious mind, that sometimes barren and sometimes fruitful area of your mind that provides so many great stories. Along with many bad ones.

That animal part of the mind (is it called “animal?” I don’t know) where we don’t always like to delve, but sometimes can’t help it. Are there stories just waiting down there to be revealed by the feel of your mental shovel clanking against it? Hidden gems that just need a brush to wipe all the grit and grime away? And is this what they mean by a “gritty” story?

I keep hoping that there are some gems down there for me to discover. Ones that don’t require a lot of work to shape. Of course, if that were the case, publishing them would probably be considered something else: plagiarism.

Because really, if they’re already that fully-formed, most likely they’re from somewhere else. The subconscious is a place for nuggets and gemstones, but they’re not just sitting out there on a pillow. They have to be mined, dug out with the sweat of the brow (maybe best left figuratively, unless it’s 100 degrees outside) and then shaped into something good.

It’s almost like those Pleasantly Disturbed posts I did a year or two ago. Just letting the mind wander, not restricting it at all. Letting it off the leash and hoping that it’s trained well enough that it won’t go jumping off after some stray pun or something and never come back. It can point to a great pun and lead you to it, but it shouldn’t go off on it’s own.

You don’t want it to be brought back to you by Animal Control, do you?

The other thing to be concerned about with regards to minds wandering is whether or not they get lost in the metaphorical forest and can never make their way back to you. It’s a tragic thing when the mind is so far gone because it made the left turn at the massive oak tree instead of the right turn. In that case, you can only hope that it will eventually find its way either back home or to a kindly farmer who will see the tag around its neck and bring it back to you.

Really, a mind is a terrible thing to lose.

All that being said, a wandering mind can definitely be a good thing. Remember that old adage “if you love something, set it free. If it loves you, it will return to you?” Ok, maybe not a good analogy for a mind, because how can your mind not love you?

I know what you’re thinking. What about those who have image issues with themselves, or don’t think they are worth anything? The emotional areas of your brain are telling you that, but can you really say it’s your mind? The part of you that thinks?

Then again, maybe this is all coming about because I let my mind wander and it’s already wandered off, sniffing in the bushes and not coming when I call it?

A successfully wandering mind will often come full circle, reaching the beginning point, as if you were able to attach the leash back to it and lead it back home. At least it will if you’re going to use it for anything (like a blog post!). If it doesn’t lead you back to the beginning, then you may want to actually go find it.

Because it’s lost.

And you don’t want a mind that’s lost. You just want one that comes when you call it, but otherwise leaves you alone.

Alone to free associate as much as you want.

(This is almost completely unedited, just taken as it flowed. Which can be dangerous to post, but I think free association exercises like this are great ways to spark the writing process. It's something I want to keep doing to maybe get myself writing again, though I won't necessarily publish them)


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