Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Rhythm and Muse

Drumming on a Bubble

I just discovered the power of rhythm as a problem solving muse.  Pardon the lengthy preamble but the context is important to this story.

Monday I had to hastily move stuff around on the desks to make room for something unexpected and I've been working around the mess I made ever since because I was behind on so many tasks including posts, email, and sleep.

All that is still true but I couldn't stand it one moment longer. So when I was having trouble staying awake when sitting still, I decided to get active and get that mess cleaned up.  Besides there were a few tweaks I had been planning to do on my workstation for several weeks and now would be a good time to do them too.

Nothing major.  No furniture or big box shifting. Items ranged in size from nail clippers and crochet hooks to inboxes and all sizes of books and notebooks. The biggest was the printer.  The idea is to get more of the items I use regularly (or should) within arms reach while sitting in the chair which includes the maybe 3x4 foot floor space I can roll around in.

Soon after beginning I uncovered my drumsticks which are one of my favorite desk toys.  They had been outta sight outta mind for at least a couple weeks after rolling under the edge of a book crate on my desk.

When I hit a conundrum in a complex series of moves--moving A out of its space to make room for B and C into B's vacated space to get them out from behind blocking P and switch around F, G and H which were accessible to the wrong hand where they were but that move made the intended spot for A too small...conundrum.

My usual thing when this happens is to sit down and scan the area playing a 3D game of Sokaban in my head.  But I didn't dare sit for fear I'd doze off and be late getting Mom's lunch.

I spotted my drumsticks and picked them up and started tapping them on every surface that looked to make an interesting sound.  I favor the baritone and bass sounds and was having little luck in finding any until I started tapping on the exercise ball and the mini-tramp surface under it.

And then I was lost in Rhythm World for over fifteen minutes.  Seriously lost.  Zoned.  Merlin snapped me out of it by pricking my calf with a single claw.  Reminding me it was past time for lunch.

I was about to lecture myself for getting off track when my eyes lit on the A object and I immediately saw it would fit in the crate holding D which could be moved 'upstairs' to the crate recently vacated by the returned library books.

I don't think it was simple coincidence that I'd found the solution while lost in Rhythm World.  Reinforcing that belief is the fact that while I was drumming on the bubble my inner vision was producing image after image--still and moving--suffused with emotion.  Some were attached to childhood memories and others to the three decades of adult memories but mixed in with them were images and scenes from my various storyworlds.

All of these images were carried on the surface of bubbles and they all started playing their own riff on Sokuban tho much less rigid.  Imagine Sokuban played with bubbles by the bubbles in a volume of mutable space where they bounce off all surfaces including each other and merge and break apart and cluster...

Yeah.  My favorite screen saver is Bubbles and I spend a lot of time each day watching it so that metaphor was easy tho no less true.

The conundrum solving did not stop with the desktop Sokuban game.  Several of my story world conundrums were also finding solutions or hints at solutions. And possibly a few of my personal world problems. There is something magical about the way rhythm seems to organize the usual chaos of thought and emotion.

I think I will be doing a lot of bubble drumming going forward.

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