…and when the hemisphere in question is the left, the right takes charge and invents a clever metaphor for total lack of common sense—like, say, half of a brain on vacation. So, my right brain has been a live wire of firing synapses while my left has a solo cricket serenade on a loop. As it turns out, brains function better when left intact.
For the past couple of weeks, my creativity has been overwhelming, to the extent that I am actually irritated. Losing sleep because I still haven’t come to terms with living in the Caribbean is one thing, but to lose sleep because I want to paint an image that features an origami crane is senseless. In the last fifteen days, I have painted six original watercolors. My attempts to wring out the creative spasms by flying through canvases have been entirely ineffective. Even now I consider the brilliant new wash of colors I’ll use on my next piece.
Most of my friends and family know that I paint; but surely they know I don’t paint this much. The urge to break out the brushes happens about twice a year. I paint a picture; usually I give it away; then I’m creatively exhausted for a span of four to six months. But now I’m being rocked by this insatiable need to create. The need is not driving me to my usual photo recreation specialty, either; instead, I am caught up in a surrealistic and abstract chaos.
In between mental designs of my next hallucinogenic creation, my left brain stirs long enough to correct my increasing lapses in common sense. Rather than cracking an egg over a mixing bowl, I recently found myself emptying its contents into the trash, then standing dumbfounded with the shell halves still in my hands. What had happened was reckless overcompensation. Being too busy musing over potential painting subjects to pay adequate attention to the task at hand, I overcompensated by keeping a step ahead of myself. So when I should have been emptying an egg into the batter, I was thinking about throwing out the shells. Hence the egg in the garbage. Left Brain was also kind enough to correct me when I momentarily considered dumping a silica pack in our salt shaker because Right Brain thought it would prove more effective than rice.
Before I go any further, I want to clarify that I do not begrudge my flamboyant mind. Never have I taken for granted this talent which leaves a trail of my very own artwork. And certainly I won’t begrudge that trail a little detour if it’s for a good cause. While I am not yet sure of the cause, I do know that some of my paintings (and hopefully some of my photos as well) will be part of a silent auction for a fundraiser next month. Perhaps my creative craze will do some good for a deserving organization.
If logic and analysis are left brain attributes and imagination and rhythm are right brain attributes, then Ivan and I are two halves of the same brain. Thanks to his aptitude for technical analysis and political logic, he can correct me when I question the role of my Medusa Oblongaza strip. Meanwhile, I am his saving grace when his personal statement sounds like it was composed by a passionless robot.
Speaking of logic and brains, Ivan completed his first final on Monday. Bioethics is a half-term course, so it finished two weeks before his other courses’ midterms are scheduled to occur. The day before his final, Ivan studied for hours before finally announcing, “This is crap. Everything in this class is subjective. There’s no way I’m going to do well.”
Turns out he didn’t do well, he did exceptional. Now he can turn his focus to his remaining courses, which will be holding midterms in one week. I know this is a stressful time for first term students, so I’m trying to be supportive. I tiptoe around Ivan when he’s hunched over his notecards with his head clutched forlornly in his hands. I don’t complain that we can’t afford the time or the money to go out. And when Ivan comes home from school complaining that he “smells like formaldehyde,” I don’t add, “because you’ve been wallowing in pickled corpses.” Really, I am doing my best.
The weather is beautiful, as usual. The past couple of days have been cooler, with fleeting showers that leave the air wet and fresh. I’ve realized that rain is falling somewhere on the island always. Typically storm clouds visibly ring the mountain peaks and with the rains come rainbows. Apparently, being in the dry season, this amount of rain is unusual. Perhaps as the dry season continues, the rain will fall less frequently.
|Rain clouds over the mountain made pink by the setting sun.|
|The sunset as seen from campus|
|This island must be dotted with little pots of gold|