The Hazards of Thinking Too Much

 

red leaf

My mother-in-law famously said that the brain is a marvelous thing. It is also a pain in the ass. In fact, I often yearn for the days comma good old when I was a kid and didn’t think too much. Thinking too much, like the Internet, is both a wonderful and horrible thing.

The fancy word for this is “metacognition” or “thinking about your thinking.” My metacognition is a moody son of a gun. It hyperventilates when I’m feeling blue especially, and the last week of summer freedom before a new school year is a famously blue stretch of days. Indigo becomes “indigone” in a hurry.

My brain says stuff like this: “What of your great plans for summer, huh? What of THAT? Have you SEEN what’s left to this forever thing called July and August?” Hoo, boy. The brain is a task master. A drill sergeant. A guilt driver for the slave conscious.

And true enough, all my summer writing goals have not been met. But hey, as the song goes, I’m only human, and humans are famously designed to let themselves down.

So once more to the lake, this time to hear the dirge of summer. I know better than to read the E.B. White essay, “Once More to the Lake” in the coming week because the ending is a killer and it resonates wider and louder with each added year.

No, instead I will try to finish the 500-page book I’m meandering through. And I will earbud in the sad but hypnotic strains of Arvo Pärt’s “Fratres” as I look out at the water, but it’s only a beautiful sort of misery I’ll be indulging in, part of an ancient and known ritual by now, a benedictions to something sweet but fleeting.

What remains to be seen is how the last-week blues affects my writing. Sometimes all of the introspection and moodiness produces words. And other times it gets selfish, blocking the muse, getting hungry for words (which it will not share) itself.

There’s no denying the inevitable. Or stopping the tides. Or quelling the wind that blows calendar pages from the poorly-glued seam.

Or the thinking that all of this inspires. Meta-melancholic thinking.

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