Why a Writer’s Brain

I was in class the other day. One of my students was reading one of my scripts out loud that his group will be performing in the coming weeks. At one point he stopped and looked over at me and asked, “How do you think of this? This is good. I never would have thought of this.” In all fairness, at his age, I wouldn’t have thought of it either. It took me many years to develop a writer’s brain.

I not even sure what a writer’s brain is, but if I had to nail down some sort of definition, it’s the ability to make connections which may not be obvious to others. Why it happens, I don’t know. But as I’ve recounted in different posts in the past that there’s some sort of trigger which flashes across my mind, giving the moment rise. It allows a single idea to take on a new life or at least potential for a new life. That’s when ideas are born.

Here’s an example. Maybe. I’m currently living in Saudi Arabia. Yes, the desert. It rains on average about once a year. Yesterday was that day. It flooded my street because the city has no drainage because, well, it rains only once a year. So when it does rain, everything shuts down, even if it’s not much of a downpour.

Yesterday, however was an impressive rain which lasted several hours. I couldn’t go anywhere without trudging through water. And as I was trudging through water towards my Thanksgiving Day dinner, I started thinking about water. Saudi Arabia spends an untold amount of money on fuel to power their desalination plants which provide the necessary water to support its tens of millions of people. (Hint, hint: California take note. But that’s another post) I have no idea how much oil it takes to power one plant for one day. I’m sure it’s a lot. Multiply that over the entire country and you can see the amount of energy it takes to produce the country’s water. Now, of course, Saudi has plenty of oil, so it works well for them.

However, as I was walking ankle deep in water, it struck me. All of this water is free. There’s a free blanket of water covering the city. This is a massive amount of water. Free! How many places just take it for granted? That’s why Saudi has tried seeding the clouds in order to produce more free water. Just imagine how a whole society could change if over time they were able to produce more water from the sky for them to use. And then my brain takes over. There’s a story in there somewhere. There’s a story of greed, of political motivation. It might be a science fiction story, of how a new breakthrough changes the way clouds can be seized and countries start “stealing” water from the sky, which begins to change the climates of neighboring places and …

My street yesterday. Looks about the same today.

This is how my brain works. It’s not likely I’ll ever write a story like that, but it’s the small connections in life which allow my brain to think of the possibilities and it allows the creativity to flow. Once it starts flowing, it won’t stop. That’s the most exciting part.

I currently have two new stories in the works. An Asian fantasy (inspired by something a friend said) and a contemporary tale about a social media mogul (inspired by reading the news). I’m loving the potential for both of these and can’t wait to have more time to write them.

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