As I get older, I find myself increasingly surrounded by people my own age. They tend to go on and on about which bits of them are failing, often trying to deal with this by sharing jokes about failing sex drive, deafness, forgetfulness, even dementia, and a host of other subjects that are about as funny as their jokes.
However, I have discovered one benefit to male writers that comes with age. It has less to do with experience and practice of the craft than it does with bladder control. Four or five times I night I get up to pee (aren’t you glad I shared that!) Now, a lot of my best ideas surface when my brain is half asleep (you should see the rubbish I come up with when I’m fully awake and really trying). I’m told I’m only using 10% of my brain when I’m fully awake. In the middle of the night, I’m only using enough of that 10% to make sure I don’t fall over or pee on my foot. And my prostate, bless it, slows the whole process down. It's the idea-generating equivalent of Jordan’s hang-time. Strange little mushroom of often startling color bloom in that semi-conscious basement. It’s as if my waking mind has its eye pressed to a tiny hole in the basement wall, a hole that allows it to glimpse the staggering array of nonsense the other 90% of my brain comes up with when I’m asleep. Of course, the first thing it does is try to make sense of what it’s seeing, and I stumble back to bed and jot down my brilliant ideas. Like this one.
(Coming soon The Luke James Bog Jotter®)
And here’s another positive effect of aging on the creative process. When we were young we may have flirted with yoga because we thought it was cool, or simply because we thought it was a good way to be in a room with women who were sweating and breathing heavily. But when we’re older we tend to jump on yoga like it’s a life raft. Thirty-seven-year-old Manchester United soccer star Ryan Giggs recently attributed yoga to his continued ability to play at the very highest level of the game.
Yoga involves lots of breathing and a degree of meditation. Breathing is a good idea, and we should all do more of it, at least more deep breathing. Get those cells oxygenated, they’ll thank you for it. But how are deep breathing and meditation linked to the creative process?
As any Zen For Dummies manual will tell you, the object of meditation is to still the inner voice, become one with the moment and your experience of being in it. That sort of thing, and why not. But for the moment (sic) let’s leave that to the hardcore Buddhists and the blokes living up mountains in caves. What we want to do here is not to shut down that annoying, mundane, often negative and paranoid, babbling inner idiot. We just want to threaten it. Menace it with meditation. Threaten to shut it up and see it panic. Shit, he’s doing that breathing stuff again, he’s trying to shut us off, quick, think of something brilliant.
In desperate survival mode, your inner monolog will suddenly start coming up with significant, positive reasons you should keep it around. Your creative process, your whole life will become a more productive, inspired, connected and amazing experience. Prepare to blow the minds of those around you. Get used to the word WTF are you on?
Now if you will excuse me, the boss wants me and the boys to go lean on our inner monolog.
Causes Luke James Supports
Doctors Without Borders