In order to write or create anything, you have to use your brain. There have been people who have tried to create without using their brains, but it never works out well. That is how we ended up with Fifty Shades of Grey, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and Anthony Weiner. (Side note: I know a woman who said she read the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy not for the sex scenes, but because she liked the story. Isn’t that like the guys who say they read Playboy for the articles?) (Side note to the side note: I have a friend who subscribed to Playboy for ten years and didn’t know there were articles in it. He just thought there were a bunch of wasted pages between the pictures.) When I write I have to use my brain. I know a lot of writers say the story just writes itself. It doesn’t work that way for me. I have sat in front of the keyboard with my brain turned off waiting for my fingers to do something. Nothing. Occasionally they’ll probe my ears for wax or my nose for boogers, but usually they just lie there. They don’t want to go anywhere near the keyboard, and quite frankly until I’ve given them a good washing, I don’t want them anywhere near it either.
I still have the same brain I had when I was born; it is original equipment, one owner–my wife would say low mileage, seldom used. As brains go I guess it is okay, but it seems to need rebooting. For instance, my brain knows that Ferdinand Magellan was the first person to sail around the world. Only he didn’t make it all the way around the world. He was killed in Africa and his crew finished the trip without him, but he’s still given credit for it. Unless I get on Jeopardy and there is a category of WORLD CIRCUMNAVIGATORS, I can’t think of anywhere this will ever be useful. But my brain heard about Magellan in a history class in high school or maybe even junior high, and it decided it was a very important piece of information. So important my brain tattooed it on its chest so it would never forget it. My brain knows everything there is to know about Magellan, but it doesn’t have a clue where my car keys are right now. If I live to be over a hundred, I know my brain and Ferdinand will still be buddies, but it won’t have any idea what I had for breakfast, even if the dirty dishes are still on the table in front of me.
I lived in a very small town in South Dakota until I was ten. Our telephone didn’t have buttons or even a dial. To call someone you picked up the handset and the operator said, “Number please,” and you gave her the number of the person you wanted to call. My mother even taught me how to reverse-the-charges on the telephone–that’s when the person you’re calling has to pay for the call. (Up until then I didn’t even know phone calls cost money. I thought they were free like air and electricity.) That was fifty years ago and my brain still knows that our telephone number was 115, but it doesn’t know what I went into the kitchen to get this morning and ended up standing around looking like an idiot for five minutes. Maybe our number in South Dakota will save my life someday. Maybe aliens will overtake the Earth, and they’ll only release the ones who knew their telephone numbers when they were ten? You won’t be laughing then.
My wife has started to use creamery butter for cooking. She read somewhere it was supposed to help improve your brain function. I don’t know about that, but I can guarantee it doesn’t help my button-the-pants function. There are a bunch of foods that are supposed to help your brain: ginseng, coconut oil, berries, fish and coffee just to name a few. Also vitamins B1, B12 and E are supposed to help. I’d run out and buy them all right now, if I could just find my car keys.