I've never been great at remembering facts. Concepts, I'm great at. I can also tell you, word for word, what my husband said in a discussion that happened a few hours ago, for example. I can also tell when someone in a room is upset before there are any noticeable cues. I often know where a person will end up going as they are talking about a problem. I even use to be very good at decoding a poem or piece of literature. But, I cannot remember a statistic to save my life. Nor can I remember dates, appointments, referrals given to me by others, who I told what to and when, account numbers, deadlines... well you get the idea. These tendencies have always been true of me but I've noticed them steadily getting stronger lately. Yesterday it dawned on me why. I am a fairly permanent resident of my right brain these days. I make art everyday now. When I'm not making art, when I'm with my son, I'm thinking about art. I love this intensity because it adds a unique flavor to my work. The consequence is that I'm becoming an even more dysfunctional adult. My son is safe in my care, but if I had to pay bills or keep track of my family's insurance coverage we would all be in serious trouble. The other consequence is that I feel like an idiot a lot of the time. People who don't know me really well, and therefore know how my mind works, must genuinely wonder about my ability to find my home everyday.
I was talking to some friends about this all today and something unexpected happened. One of my friends, who is an engineer and scientist, said that she has the same sort of problem. She thinks in pictures and often can not articulate to her coworkers how she is coming to a solution to a problem. She says that the solutions are often so intuitive or conceptual that she only knows that they will work. She also said that she is only now coming to accept this as an okay way to think but is still challenged with the task of putting her colleagues, most of whom are very linear thinkers, at ease while asking them to trust what is foreign to them. It's a formidable task. At least for me, there is some expectation of being chaotic and a touch insane.. arent all artists?
I think there are a lot of interesting themes in all of this to explore. For example, I'm struck by how much pressure there still is, in very subtle ways, to conform to a greater societal conception of what are valuable and functional ways to think and live. What I find particularly interesting at this moment is the realization that this thing I know as intuition can just as easily guide an engineer as it does an artist or therapist or writer. Yesterday I would have said that was a contradiction. Today, I know better.
I really love having my assumptions disproved. And oh do I love contradiction.