Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Information Underload

It's 6:15 am. None of my children are awake. I should be sleeping, but I'm writing. There's this palpitation in me when I need to write. It goes in cycles. Massive amounts some days, nothing on others. In the book about James Cameron, it talks about how he copes with all life stressors by drawing. Some people drink. Others smoke. He draws. I write. Sometimes I write because I'm stressed. Other times I do it to stave off stresses. I tend to write more in my busy teaching times, which doesn't make sense logistically (no time!), but emotionally it does.

When I think about what would happen if I couldn't write, I immediately feel claustrophobic and frantic. I can almost envision the words backlogging in my brain until something explodes. I don't care if the words are read, if they're relevant or important, they just need to get out of my brain.

I used to think this meant writing was who I was. But I'm not a writer. I love to write, but I could live a completely ecstatic, soul-nourishing life if I never wrote a thing that was published. So I must not be a writer. Instead, I'm an information-gatherer. And writing is how I sort it.

I have this frantic intake of information. And then I pull off the chaff and spread around what I learned. Teaching how to write, economics, how to balance gut flora...I love it all equally. If a friend has a question, I can pore through the school's journal database like a child in a candy store. I just want to roll around in the research...all that data...it's intoxicating to me.

And then I write it down. Create connections between what I've learned, draw conclusions, teach others, ask more questions.

The process keeps cycling. There's never a point when my mind just rests, stops needing more information. It's like this starved monster rummaging through the fridge. Thank God for scholar.google.com.

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