Not a good idea to let your mind wander, unless you’re sure it’s strong enough to be out on its own….

Life is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent– Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all– Oscar Wilde

Still round the corner there may wait, A new road or a secret gate– J.R.R. Tolkien

     The brain’s a funny thing– a squishy, wrinkled mess of muscle, so fragile and yet, so intrinsic in defining who we are…what we are. It can, at once, be our greatest ally or our worst enemy, depending on the phase of the moon and our level of caffeine consumption.

     But, for all its hiccuping downfalls, the mind can do some amazing things, oh, and some pretty annoying things too…

     Have you ever had an idea completely worked out in your head— a story, an essay, an article— just to have the same brain in the aforementioned head, completely disassemble it?

    This past Halloween, while most of the world around me prepared for candy-eager tots in an array of costumes, I was counting down the hours until November 1st.

      Unlike a lot of my writing buddies, I am a NaNo-er. For the last 5 years, I’ve spent the entire month of November wrapped in the frenzy that is NaNoWriMo— scribbling out 50,000 words in 30 days is one of those maddening challenges that leaves me adrenaline-high well into the month of December.

     I spend most of October noodling through the nuances of whatever plot I hope might get me through the following month. I rarely start any other writing projects during this time…aside from the odd blog post— I find it does something magical to be restricted from writing–suffering from withdrawals, the words literally explode from me as NaNoWriMo starts, propelling me toward my goal.

    So, how is it, while taking a seemingly innocent walk with my husband on Halloween evening– mulling a couple of lyrical lines in my head– I find myself dashing off a poem within an hour of being home… my previous NaNo story idea (which I’d plotted out the last month) abandoned…. 5 hours before the start of the challenge??  ** deep breath **

     As I finished what has invariably become known as ‘the poem,’ I knew I was doomed…. oh, brain of mine, why hast thou forsaken me?

     ‘The poem’ was no great masterpiece, just something to bide my time waiting for NaNoWriMo to start. Walking with my husband right before a challenge might not be such a great idea. Our conversations are deliciously inspiring and our innocent Halloween chatter started my brain’s creative gears. The following stanza popped into my head, and I repeated it mantra-like until I got home where pen and paper waited eagerly—

In the clear, crisp air of All Hallow’s Eve,
there’s magic brewing in the stories we weave.
The black cat’s smile hides a witch’s grin,
and you’ll never know where your pumpkin has been.

     And, the mantra led to the poem’s other 4 stanzas, the poem then leading to the destruction of well-charted plot line.

     So, here I sit, nearing the end of this November’s NaNoWriMo challenge, trying to piece together some sort of story that my unlikely Halloween poem inspired, which my brain refused to let go of, and failing miserably.

     What dastardly deeds has your brain done to you? Or, are you able to resist your brain’s subtle (or, not-so-subtle as the case may be) manipulations?

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