12/25/11

Creativity and the Power of First Thoughts

“First thoughts have tremendous energy. It is the way the mind first flashes on something. The internal censor usually squelches them, so we live in the realm of second and third thoughts, thoughts on thought, twice and three times removed from the direct connection of the first fresh flash.”
-Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones (pg. 9).
When you scanned this quote, did Freud come to mind? As the daughter of a psychologist and a social worker, I am often visited by him and Jung. For me, Goldberg’s section “First Thoughts,” immediately conjured the concept of the Id, Ego, and Superego.

If you need a refresher on this tripartite, here’s a cheat sheet:
Id: The irrational and emotional part of the mind.
Ego: The rational part of the mind.
Superego: The judgmental and moral part of the mind.
See this article from Simply Psychology for more in-depth info: “Freud's Theory of the Psyche.”
Those of us with ADHD tend to speak our “first thoughts.” We exemplify the id because we thrive on novelty, impulses, and questions. When not in a situation in which I must “mind my manners” or “be professional,” I spit out what comes to mind—or voice my thoughts a moment later, after first considering if I should censor them (that’s the superego intervening).

What does this openness amount to? In general, shared ideas and deeper bonds with others. Certainly I’ve met acquaintances who balk when I blurt “But what does a baby pigeon look like?” or “If we’re still learning about our earth’s fossils, couldn’t there be generations of other beings buried deep in other planets?” This generally resolves itself in one of two ways:
1. Awkward silence… said acquaintance clearly isn’t receptive to such loose musings.
2. Said acquaintance gets the gist of my humor and starts to play along (I love those moments).
Whatever you call it, id, first thought, or open mind, it is necessary for creative thought. When in deep practice, the id throws out metaphors, images, and words, sometimes whole sentences. Often, these lead to a deeper understanding of your present scene and its characters. Perhaps ADHD’rs are known as unconventional thinkers precisely because we rely on the id. So please, don’t do as the Sondheim instructs in “Invocation & Instructions to the Audience”, squeak, squirm, laugh, and share your first thoughts. The world will be a better place for it.

When was the last time you shared a “first thought”? What was the reaction? Comment below or email me at WriteToJulianna.
One of the many photos of me in an animated conversation. With my friend Evan.



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