Mary E. Gellie, Happy Hours: The Book of Christmas and Winter-time. London, 1894(?)
Ilse Bing, Untitled (Chairs with Leaves, Luxembourg Gardens, Paris), 1952; photograph; gelatin silver print, 16 in. x 20 in. (40.64 cm x 50.8 cm); Collection SFMOMA, Bequest of Ilse Bing Wolff; © Estate of Ilse Bing
Poignant! Thank you for entering, Dawn.
a flash fiction written for the Faerytaleish Pinterest contest
I lied to my daughter.
I didn’t want to, but when she came to me with tear-filled eyes, asking,”Momma, where is Poppet?”, what else could I do? I couldn’t tell her about a broken fence and a blood-stained hutch. So I lied to her and told her Poppet went sailing on the moon to find all her star wishes and bring them back.
She believed me. Of course she did; she was four. It was so easy. And there were so many lies to tell.
“That’s from Santa.”
“Put it under your pillow and a fairy will come.”
“No one will notice your glasses.”
“Of course that boy likes you.”
“Nothing those girls say matters.”
“You belong together.”
“I will never leave you.”
The room is white and spare. I can’t see it, but I can smell the pale walls and the metal. I can feel the wires and the needles and hear the beepwhoosh of the machines getting slower and slower.
And I can feel my daughter. Her hand is warm and my fingers are cold. I can feel her soft hair and her damp skin when she bends to kiss my cheek. “When you see Poppet, Momma,” she says, “Tell him all my wishes came true.”
I’m not afraid anymore. This is my home now. I’ve seen the sun dapple golden through the rotting roof onto the leaves below. I’ve watched the roots strangle the last of the walls.
The seasons change and I watch them unaffected. It’s only nature. The wind howls, the rains fall, sometimes there…
We’ve heard many tales over the years from Wrimos who tap into realms of intuition and imagination as they write during NaNoWriMo. It turns out that there might be an actual change in our brains as we write with reckless abandon. Charles Limb, a doctor and musician who studies how creativity works in the brain suggests that turning off your “inner editor” opens up a flow of expression. Read on!
Tell us what you discovered when you studied the brain activity of improvisational jazz musicians?
Charles Limb: In our study, musicians played a tune they had memorized and then a tune they invented on the spot, and we observed their brain activity using brain-imaging techniques. With the shift to improvisation, a region of the brain associated with careful planning and self-censorship called the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex became dormant, while parts of the brain connected to the senses—hearing, seeing, feeling—became especially lively.
Most interesting, a brain area linked to autobiographical storytelling also showed increased activity. When jazz musicians improvise, their brains turn off areas linked to self-censoring and inhibition—and turn on those that let self-expression flow. Essentially, a musician shuts down his inhibitions and lets his inner voice shine through.
I guess the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is what we unscientifically call “the inner editor.”
Limb: That’s not such a bad phrase. The real key is that it’s not just a single cluster of neurons that is that editor, but a whole region.
Do you think your findings about improvisational jazz could apply to improvising in writing as well?
Don’t miss Meg McNulty’s amazing blog post on the Kreativ Blogger award and (blush) me!