I will often go outside when my task list or current project becomes unbearable to clear my head. As of late, however, the problem hasn’t been with my misfiring neurons in the cranium, instead the weather is taking a personal attack on my well-being and wiping out any semblance of memory I have left.
I live a few miles north of Detroit. If you look on a map, the entire Detroit area juts out over Windsor, Ontario, which means we’re actually the one area in the continental United States located north of Canada. And yes, Hell is a city in Michigan. They have amazing pizza and chili — and it freezes over every year. I’m not going to add to any of the jokes because we still have the Lions.
In other words, it gets damn cold.
To make matters worse, Michigan is home to thousands upon thousands of in-land lakes and surrounded by giant bodies of water which gives the state it’s mitten shape. It also means the wind and snow we feel throughout the winter season filters through icy waters before flowing between the flappy ass cheeks of yours truly.
Right now, it’s 15 degrees fahrenheit, which is -9 celsius. Tonight, it’s going to drop to 5 fahrenheit, or -15 celsius, which is great if you are a central processing unit running gaming benchmarks, but terrible news if you want to go out for midnight stroll to brainstorm why your plot is stuck with a specific stupid character.
For example, I walked outside with a head full of plot points about the world my characters live, wondering what would happen if the main protagonist and her little disabled brother got lost in the forest around the enemy’s campsite, and as soon as the winter winds blew my Captain Jack Harkness 1940’s Royal Air Force coat open, the thought left my brain and all story building ideas blew somewhere over Lake St. Clair. Yes, I really do have a Captain Jack Harkness coat. I can post a picture if you like.
What is it about the cold wind that erases the mind like a magnet to a floppy disk? Even going outside to have a cigarette; sometimes it’s nice to take a break and ponder the next scene or think about a sticky section of dialog that sounds too “trope-ish” — as soon as that frigid wind strikes the skin, the mind only thinks “get the hell out of the cold, stupid.” Is it a self-defense mechanism against cold? Do Native Americans have some anti-thinking gene against frozen northern wastelands?
Note to self: ask Northern Inuit people if they can brainstorm while hunting in Alaska.
Also, before I go outside and forget to pump blood to my brain again, I’ve been using a new task-list program for my iPhone called CARROT. It’s an amazing little reminder program where you put in a task and gain experience points for finishing tasks, similar to an RPG, however, the program imitates an insulting sentient being and starts poking fun at you for not doing enough during the day, which is a strange “Ed DeBevic’s” sort of motivation. Although, I’ve been enjoying it and unlocking new features (including a story where I’ve been given a kitten she keeps in the server room), so if you’re in the mood for an insulting task list on iOS, check it out. (Ed DeBevic’s is a restaurant in Chicago that is well-known for having an insulting wait-staff.)
Well, if nothing else, maybe the cold will help me stop smoking.