There’s a constant battle between the hemispheres of my brain, as if psychologist Julian Jaynes’ bicameralism has re-evolved. The hyper-logical left brain that craves order runs roughshod over the creative, emotional, more sensitive right brain, demanding explanations, searching for answers, discarding whimsy. It creates an often unbearable havoc, like Springsteen’s “freight train running through the middle of my head,” day and night.
A constant, conscious awareness of everything permeates even my dreams. I doubt I often reach the scientifically-designated restorative stage of delta sleep since I wake up regularly, in right about the ninety-minute cycle described as needed to reach REM. I remain too aware of my sleep, vigilantly observing my dreams. I know I’m asleep. My brain doesn’t disengage long enough to relax. I’ve read about lucid dreaming and while it’s an interesting concept, it doesn’t describe my mental turmoil. I’m exhausted.
I yearn for quiet, for internal peace, yet even concerted attempts at meditation aren’t able to break through the miasma that clouds my brain. Any snippet of a song, nothing more than a title or the fragment I quoted from Springsteen, lodges in my mind and runs in an endless loop for days on end, usually until it’s supplanted by the next earworm. I mentally rewrite scripts for the TV sit-com or movie we watched. The phrases coil themselves around news headlines, Facebook and Google+ posts, Tweets, and the latest ambiguous conversation with a friend or family member, twisting all the conflicting thoughts, words, and emotions into a tangled mass of confusion.
My only sure avenue for escape, fleeting as it may be, is my writing. When I manage to become engrossed in creating a new story, my tension eases. The rigid left brain seems content to impose its order on the words flowing to the page from the creativity of the right brain and for those few brief moments, the fractious hemispheres work in tandem. Time slips by unnoticed. I skip the hourly time checks which pepper my night and lose myself in a world where I have a semblance of control.
A semblance of peace.
Why do you write?