Monday, October 20, 2014

Staring at the Ceiling

From Kate's Writing Crate…
I take comfort in knowing I am not the only person in the world alone in a room leaning back in a desk chair looking up at a ceiling then leaning forward to hunch over a keyboard. These writers' sit ups are part of the job description. (I just wish they burned more calories.)
          Such a seemingly uninspired thing to do, stare at a ceiling, but my office chair is built to tilt making it easy to do.
I see the brush strokes in the white paint. There is a rougher texture to the ceiling as opposed to the semi-gloss white on the walls of my office barely visible above my bookcases and between the paintings hung on them. The lightning blue molding between the two white spaces breaks up the color monotony.
          I see the expansive white ceiling with my eyes, but my mind uses it as a blank canvas. Nothing to see here and yet…there is everything to see. Ideas pop into my head. Or were they there all along and I just noticed them pop against the bland, white background?
          Or is the white ceiling an opaque mirror reflecting ideas equally opaque? Like a double negative, does the double opaqueness cancel itself out so ideas can be seen clearly?
          I love this idea.
          No wonder people have their heads examined. Minds are endlessly fascinating.
Writers know this or we wouldn't spend so much time alone, staring at ceilings, examining our own thoughts and ideas.
Further thoughts on staring…
          In a required college Psych 101 course, I remember the professor told us about a study where, one at a time, kittens were put into a tiny, empty room with plain white painted walls that was attached to a tiny, empty room with white wallpaper with faint vertical lines on it. The vast majority of kittens choose to stay in the room with the lines. The professor noted minds need stimulation however faint.
          I wonder which room writers would choose? Would it make a difference?
Since both ceilings were plain white, it might not matter to me. Though I think I would choose the line-less room as each writing project begins with a blank page. I already have lines in my head waiting to be written down.
However, I also stare at the lines on my notebook pages and 'word lines' on my computer documents for a living so I might choose the other room if the lines were a more writer-friendly horizontal. I'd have to stare at them to be sure.
How much writing time do you spend staring at the ceiling or walls for that matter?

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