The dream-drift: Stray images and unkempt thoughts slipstream in

Patrick just posted this, and I must re-post. I exist in this state quite often (sometimes, depending on who you ask, too often), and it’s nice to see the terrain mapped.

But I find there’s another, less volitional mental activity that occurs while cutting grass, one that seemingly lowers a hook to snag things lurking beneath the surface of consciousness. Experts would call it “the incubation effect.” Most would call it “zoning out.” I call it “the dream-drift.” The mind wanders. Stray images and unkempt thoughts slipstream in from some far away cognitive Pacific.  It’s strange, uncanny, pleasant, and just a bit unnerving, a kind of letting go which, for me, takes the form of a surrender to a mental whateverism, a kind of watching, one step removed, the products of unwilled mental activity, products broken free of any establishing context. It’s a being willing, not a willing — a willingness to be open, not a willed effort to establish a goal against which to measure myself.

— — Jerry DeNuccio, The Metaphysics of Cutting Grass


For me, this state always descends in the shower. Like: I’ve been working on an assignment for Write Club. Last night I busted out of the shower and dashed straight for my computer before all the ideas scattered themselves again. Lisa came home right as I was leaving the bathroom, and I found myself naked, wet, on the floor of my bedroom with my laptop, yelling through the door, “I can’t talk right now! I have to write this down!”

2 thoughts on “The dream-drift: Stray images and unkempt thoughts slipstream in

  1. Thanks for the link, glad you enjoyed. I keep a notepad on my kitchen counter these days because it’s equidistant from every place in my apartment where I might drift off.

  2. It hits me in three places: shower, driving, or playing any of those video games where you strum a fake plastic guitar. It’s like a cue for my math-brain to focus on something else, and my creative side leaks through. Like CRAZY.

    And I need a voice recorder for those moments, because getting it on pen and paper at those moments is tricky and/or involves public nudity.

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