Movies In My Head

It’s a cloudy morning in Eugene and relatively quiet. Let’s grab a cup of something hot to drink and talk about something interesting and writer-related. Today, I’m going to talk about the movies in my head.

Actual movies? No. But they might as well be. Authors are a class of creature unto themselves. One common trait I’ve noted after some basic research (Talking to other authors, when I feel up to it) is this: our imagination is not only over-active, it’s a beast we need to learn to live with in order to maintain our own personal stability.

Creators have messy minds. Our imaginations need a place to live and breathe, and regular exercise. Left alone, our imaginations become unwieldy and chaotic. At first, it’s like having dirty gym clothes in a locker. Inconvenient, but something you can ignore. But then your imagination gets frustrated. Like a lonely dog chained up in a yard, it grows bored, lonely, and depressed.

My head, and perhaps yours as well, is an ocean of wishes, hopes, dreams, ideas, fears, and regrets. You can’t control an ocean, but you can sail upon it. Ask any sailor: navigating the sea requires careful, constant attention. My imagination is a healthy coping mechanism for my stress, and it gives me dreams that I call ‘movies in my head.’ I’ll tell you a little about the ones I had last night, as an example:

Movie 1 – Zombie-like aliens invaded my neighborhood, forcing me to hole up in the bedroom of someone else’s house for safety. As they loot or scavenge, I play a silent cat-and-mouse game, staying out of sight, keeping doors locked. All I can do is hide, because if they come for me, I am lost.

Movie 2Two football firms converge in a polluted, waist-deep canal for a hand-to-hand battle.  Ferry boats filled with other game day fans cheer them on but for me, I’m fascinated, yet horrified. This isn’t just a fist-fight, some bring broken pieces of wood with nails or staples visible. Another brings a shotgun, but is quickly disarmed. Why would grown men brawl in a sewer, wounding and smashing each other over a football game? The dream ends before anyone answers my question.

So yeah, two dreams. I try to make sense of them but other times I just sit back and watch the show. I’m sure they mean something to my subconscious, but I’m not up for self-psychotherapy today. My point in telling you all of this is to say, it’s okay to have movies in your head. It’s not okay for people to tell you to keep it chained up in a yard. Frustration becomes self-destructive. On a long-enough timeline, your imagination will grow aggressive and if allowed to escape, it may not come back.

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