Thursday, August 12, 2010

The automatic shut-off is broken.

The automatic shut-off is broken.

I sit here at my desk surrounded by CD cases -- it seems all my desks are decorated thusly -- and find I am once again awake at an ungodly hour. Part of that has to do with the fact I fell asleep slightly earlier than I usually do but the primary reason would have to do with my brain. It just won't shut down lately. Now I've always been the sort who is happiest with an occupied mind but as I'm getting older I find I'm beginning to have to prioritize where I allow my thoughts to coalesce. Information keeps rushing in and I have to admit sometimes it's getting harder to know where to file it.

I no longer have the musical memory I once did, the storage lockers in my head that handle that vast library are stuffed full and exploded into such a disarray years ago that it's often difficult for me to even answer the question, "What are you listening to right now?" Things are in order enough that when I write down to write a piece of musical criticism I can sort through the stacks and all the information I need is still there, I'm just finding snap responses to be more difficult.

Sometimes it takes me forever to read a book. To someone that used to be able to blow through a 500-pager in a few days (sometimes a single day when I was younger and between jobs) this is distressing. Granted, occasionally I still do breeze through a book, but I think it takes more effort than it used to. Some of this obviously has to do with time constraints, and some has to do with the fact that through RSS feeds, daily news and other media sources biting into my book time, but I again find myself realizing it's due to my realization that as time passes prioritization becomes more necessary.

My brain is a fertile ground. Over the years my creative powers have deepened, and I've found getting older has made me both more curious and more pragmatic. I think this prioritization I keep thinking about is the result of learning that simply sucking information in at every level isn't enough. I mean, it never was, but it's easy to forget that in a time where the flow all around us has picked up into what basically amounts to a non-stop flash flood of stimulus.

I realize I'm never going to be the person who can just unplug and slow down. My brain will always hunt for something to amuse or challenge it. Even on a vacation where I had nothing to do but sit on a beach and sip fruity drinks I found my thoughts simply wouldn't slow down. But that's O.K. That's who I am. The thing that makes me work well is that I've learned how to process this stuff, analyze and understand (or giggle or hum along to or be moved by) it, and then decide what's important and what isn't. I've learned to prioritize and it has served me well.

But sometimes, every once in a while, I over think my over thinking and find myself writing a blog post about the shut-off valve in my brain being broken just before 5 a.m. on a weekday morning.

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