I’ve often wondered how writing happens. I am not talking about the way we are able to produce writing in schools although that is miraculous enough. No, I’m wondering how all the many books I see on the library shelves “happened”.
Of course a brain produced the writing that eventually resulted in the book that appeared on the library shelves but how exactly did that brain produce the book?
When I sit here and direct my mind to make a poem –am I –the conscious I making the decision to direct all the vast circuitry in the brain to do this single task or is it possible that behind the face there is a small dedicated area of the brain churning out poems? It is all a mystery to me.
I have in fact, no idea how the brain works. I want to find out but the physiology and architectural design of the brain may still not tell me how the writing of a poem happens for it never seems to be done in a conscious fashion –it seems given.
If I assign a part of the brain the Muse work of making a poem—this seems more real than assuming that I produce a poem with my consciousness.
Every poem seems to happen. It seems like someone else is writing the piece. Since I know this is impossible how is it that writing feels as if I were watching myself doing something I know or feel I can’t be doing? It feels as if I am an operator of a machinery that functions assembly style to make odd pieces of writing.
Sometimes it feels as if the assembly line could do without an operator ---that indeed poems happen without a consciousness.
It feels as if poems happen from the whirring of gears and levers –inside the brain that spit out the ticket that has the most recent poem printed on it. The computer provides the work. The consciousness simply writes it out –what is printed out on the computer ticket.
It begins to feel as if you are dealing in incomplete truths all the time –parts of a sequence of DNA while the mass of the human genome is left mysterious.
Or like the hands that make the shadow shapes on the walls, the consciousness begins to feel manipulated rather than shape making—instead of being the hands—it begins to feel as the made shadows and then the question springs up –what parts of our brain form the actual hands and the light that make the shadows we write out in our fictions and poetry?
It all begins to feel eerie and otherworldly and I begin to want to go back to pretending that I am in control (the “I” of the consciousness) rather than being one individual in a society of other individuals who is predominant at any one time. While the others wait in the wings waiting to spear the current consciousness or self and reign in his place.