Mental frustration is the real thinking

When did you last feel like throwing a glass of wine across the room, so intense was your welling irritation that something was amiss? You keep staring at a problem or an issue or an article or something you’ve made. You fidget and suppress a groan. This is physical! You hate yourself and once you cure yourself of that self-hatred, you certainly despise the original issue, this … this … thing that hurts so much.

I’m in a faraway Dutch cafe and I’m reading, for the nth time, a chapter draft. It reads quite well. It tells the story. It seems to choreograph this and that event, this and that character. Nothing seems completely shitty. Yet something is wrong, a key feature is awry. This chapter lacks the life you felt in the previous chapter. It’s drizzling outside and soon you’ll leave work (it’s your birthday, after all) to spend a pleasant afternoon in an unusual museum, in strolling, in cooking, in reading. But that bloody chapter!

Well, I’m here to tell you now (those seven words actually echo an old CCR song!) that what I’m going through is positive not negative. That’s how the brain assimilates new comprehension: it has figured out a new connection is needed but the conscious brain veneer hasn’t caught up yet. This is positive not negative.

At least that’s what I’m telling myself…

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