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Emily Grossman

Brain Freeze

November 9, 2011 at 9:53 AM

The first sub-zero temperatures of winter caught me by surprise. For three days, snow fell at just below freezing, but as soon as the clouds lifted, the heat evaporated with it into the sky. At zero degrees, it took me twenty minutes and ten trips around the house to dig up the expedition-weight thermal underwear from its storage, find both gloves and both mittens, a neck gaiter, wool cap, and two sets of socks, just to go on a walk.

Ben and I like the starry solitude of night, which grows in length, day by day. The lucid tranquility of moonlit snow lets me quietly conjugate and extrapolate my thoughts, uninterrupted. I rehash.

What happened to my mind today? I cleaned the house and organized my stacks of random books, only to fill my first lesson with cluttered absent-mindedness. I couldn't even get my left hand to function on the piano keys as she ran through her Bach. My mind was a huge pile of laundry, unorganized and overwhelming.

After she left, I had a cancellation, which gave me time to regroup, but instead, the voices in my head began to shout with paranoia and self-doubt. "Why can't you play? Why can't you get your act together? Why can't you remember simple things, like today's date and the location of your pencil?" Sometimes, my lack of focus is so bad I take to writing backwards, putting the ends of the words down on paper before I've begun the beginnings. (I've never been good at talking and writing at the same time.) Forgetfulness, randomness, lost items, tardiness, and lack of structure form the setting for most of my nightmares, and today felt much like a nightmare.

I don't know why today of all days... But I do know this: ramble-scumble days when I can't seem to "focus" are also the days in which I'm connected with my best ideas. It's almost as if the mess allows me to reach out of my organized thoughts and find those quirky ideas that no one thinks of. The lesson might have been bad in terms of structured-ness, but it was full of light bulbs and connections.

The rest of the day filled with back-to-back lessons, but luckily, everyone showed up five minutes late, which gave me the false appearance of me having my act together. So in actuality, we were all synchronized. Why the pattern of lateness? A quick deduction led me to the only probable connection: it must be weather related. Winter has arrived!

From Hendrik Hak
Posted on November 9, 2011 at 3:44 PM
Hi Emily,
Winter starting here as well. The last leaves are coming off the trees and the river is starting to freeze up. Time for winter tires. BTW a huge storm is coming your way with blizzard conditions. Stay safe.
From Emily Grossman
Posted on November 9, 2011 at 6:53 PM
The storm is located in Western Alaska, about 550 miles away (the same as the distance between New York City and Cincinatti). Don't worry about me, but I will check up on my friends out that way!
From marjory lange
Posted on November 9, 2011 at 10:55 PM
threshold moments--those spaces or times between differences--they discombobulate me, too. but they can give clean eyes.

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