Fantasy Friday: mind vacation

We sit on a concrete bench and wait for the MARTA train that will take us to the Atlanta airport. David pulls out his iPad and begins reading a math paper. I keep my eyes focused on the tracks, trying to suppress the onslaught of questions that arises every time I travel. Did we lock the door? Is the oven off? Was the fridge closed? What about the dryer? Were all the lights off? Was the toilet running? Maybe I left the sink on. What if I left the sink on? What if we miss our flight? Where’s the train?

I worry. David reads. And is often the case when my mind becomes mired in anxious thoughts, I turn to him and say, “Why can’t I be you?”

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I wouldn’t want to be David forever. I like being me for the most part. But I do believe that spending a little bit of time in David’s brain could provide me with some much needed respite. My brain could take a break from churning cognitive distortions, and I could search out the secret to David’s equanimity so I could reproduce it in my own mind when I returned to my body.

Beyond the potential for a mental health break, I’d like to vacation inside David’s mind so I could figure out what it’s like to be a man. Think of how that could improve my writing! And, for a short period of time, I would know a ton of stuff about math and be able to appreciate it in the same way that he does. That would be cool.

I realize a vacation in David’s mind isn’t without risks. I tend to idolize him and being exposed to his baser thoughts might temper my admiration in a way that could harm our marriage. I’d like to think I’d be cool with his fantasies about other women, but I probably wouldn’t be. Most importantly, though, I probably don’t want to know what he really thinks when I ask him to unlock the front door just one more time so I can check to make sure I haven’t left the sink on.

I probably don’t want to know that, but I might take my chances if mind vacations were an option. It’d be so nice to have a break.

Whose mind would you vacation in?

I’m afraid to just do it

I attended some really great writing workshops at the Tucson Festival of Books this past weekend.  One of the main themes to come out across panels was how fear holds us back.  

I’m often afraid.  

I haven’t posted on this blog for two weeks not for lack of content or lack of time but because I worry about making things just right before I post them.  I worry about saying something that will come across as unintelligent or controversial.  I worry about saying something that will come back to haunt me years later.  I worry that something I post will go viral.  I worry that no one cares at all about what I’m writing.  

I worry.  But I’ve found that the best way of addressing my fears is often to just do the thing I’m afraid of.  

So I’m just going to do it.  That is, I’m going to reflect on the importance of just doing it improv and writing.  The principle isn’t complicated although it can be difficult to implement.

In improv, if you find yourself talking about doing something in a scene, just do it.  For example, if you start planning a party, fast forward to the party.  The audience would rather see someone jump out of a cake than hear you talk about someone jumping out of a cake.  Action! 

In writing, I’ve come across this when authors are plotting something their characters will do.  For example, in a lead up to a bank robbery, the characters might discuss how they are going to carry out the robbery.  My inclination is that it is better to move most of this detail to section where you show the actual bank robbery unless the conversation highlights some important character traits.  Again, action!  

In both of these cases, the hesitation to take action is rooted in fear.  Can I really jump into this pretend shark tank on stage?  Can I really write this scene where the bank robbers’ plans get foiled?  Fear holds us back from committing to our choices.  

So I’ve just done it, but I’m still a little afraid.  What’s fear holding you back from?