Friday, April 11, 2008

Don't you hate epiphanies?

Sometimes, as my sister says, "the coin falls down." You know the feeling, it's when you get the joke and you see how something works. But that's where the image ends, because you can't really talk about coins falling slowly or coins falling quickly - gravity is gravity and me being slow to realise something does not keep a coin suspended in free fall for ever.

Sometimes though, the image of coins falling is spot on, and today the coins were falling too many at the time. It was like I pulled a handle and they all came rushing - sadly not to stream into my hands and leave me rich and happy, but to cram themselves into the same little slot before I had a chance to appreciate any of them.

I had an epiphany. I have started to hate those, but it's how my research brain works. I sit around, looking at a stack of books, then I read them, randomly, looking for - something - then I write a little something totally unrelated, and I play a game and I surf online and I get involved with finding a pair of purple pants for my rogue (she really needs a pair of pretty epics, you know), and then I go listen to some lectures and before I know it time is running out. Do you think that's the stressfull part? Nooo, the stressfull part is what comes next. Because I start doing all kinds of stuff so I won't feel I have wasted my time, taking on work and booking trips and such, and THAT is when all the coins drop at the same time. Suddenly I see what I am looking for, and it's right in front of my eyes and I have to write it down NOW, but I have said yes to so many other things and I can't...

I hate it. But I live for it. Ambivalence and contradition. They feed me.


grump said...

My epiphanies tend to come either when I am walking the dog (which is good incentive to keep walking him daily!), or when I am traveling. Maybe it's being thrown out of my usual element- not sure. But yes, when the coins fall, watch out! :)

Torill said...

Actually, there is a reason for the dog-walking epiphanies. To be physically active is to stimulate fairly large parts of the brain - there are other ways, like stimulating parts of the body where you have a lot of nerve endings, mouth or fingers - and once your brain has started working, it kind of pulls the rest along. Of course, the activity has to be so simple that you have spare capacity to use for the questions you have been mulling over, walking your dog is perfect, getting involved in complicated game is not.

Or you can eat, smoke, knit, fold origami, bake, or do what I do when it gets really tough: clean. Sadly, my place in Umeå is a little too small, don't get much thinking done before it's spotless.