Thursday, September 24, 2009

My Year of Hopefulness - Programming and the Mind

I seem to be receiving a “critical update” from Apple everyday on software that’s installed on my computer. I’m not really sure what any of the fixes are or why I need them, but I trust Apple. If they say I need them, then I assume that I do. So I click the little button that says “install now” or something to that effect. I go about my business while Apple magically repairs all of my software problems in the background. I’m an efficiency junkie so I’m a big fan of parallel-pathing.

Writing works a lot like those critical updates from Apple. Friends, family, and co-workers always ask me, “when do you find the time to do all of this writing?” Truthfully, I’m always writing. Sorry – this is my confession. My writing mind is always working in the background while I go about the rest of my life. When I’m having dinner with friends, at movies, at CVS buying shampoo, at work, I'm writing, tucking away little bits and pieces to use later. I’m one of those hopelessly nerdy people who always has a pen and piece of paper in my bag. Even when I’m heading to a big night out. You just never know when something interesting will happen. And I can’t be held responsible for keeping it all stuffed in my brain. I need that pen and paper.

I also purposely try to put myself in interesting situations. I seek out new people, go to lectures, book readings, and art exhibitions all the time. It’s one reason I am so in love with New York, and fall more in love with it everyday – there’s always something new to see, do, and try. New York and I have had a long and sordid history together. 11 years running. At times, we’ve been blissfully happy to be with one another and at other times, we’ve each gone running for the hills. But we always somehow end up back together, New York and I. This is my third time moving here, and I imagine you’ll find me here for a very long time to come. There’s just too much going on here for me to be away for that long. My writing lives and breathes here.

I’ve been wondering how Apple knows what to fix and how to fix it in these updates. My only idea is that it goes out into the world and takes stock of the latest software landscape to make needed improvements. I do the same thing in my writing. In the past year, I’ve been sending myself out on little writing adventures in New York. Odd-ball museums, sitting in a crowded area and eaves-dropping, going to parts of town I never frequent without a map and getting as lost as possible. On Saturday, I’ll be heading to the Demolition Depot on 125th Street. It contains 4 floors and a garden full of architecture pieces from every conceivable period. When buildings are dismantled all over New York City, most of the pieces end up at the Demolition Depot.

Can you imagine what crazy things that place stores? While I’m sure there’s a fair amount of mundane items like antique faucets, I’m equally sure that there are valuable items that will inspire my writing. A fireplace that I’ll imagine someone sitting before, a gargoyle who faithfully watched over a busy street for many years, a mirror where a young girl watched herself become a woman. You see – inspiration is everywhere; you just need to keep looking, especially in unlikely places.

My fingers are getting itchy. Just writing about writing is giving me some ideas. This writing mind of mine is working in the background and it’s almost time for me to reboot to see all of the changes that have occurred in the past few minutes. In the time it’s taken me to write this post, some more dots have connected, and I have to make sure to get this all down before it’s hopelessly lost in the abyss. I’d like to think I’m a recovering multi-tasker, though as with most addictions, I guess I’ll always be in a constant state of recovery, never quite cured of my desire to do multiple things at once. Thank goodness for background processing!


Alex said...

I'm so excited to hear about the Demolition Depot - I hope you score something awesome there!

Christa said...

Me, too, Alex! I'll be sure to let you know :)