Birthing and Idea
Having an idea is like having casual sex. It's easy, it's quick, and then you don't really think about it much again. Or if you do think about it it's in a wistful, nostalgic way like, "Oh, man, I had a GREAT idea once..."
But actually taking that idea and working on it and turning it into something real? That's not just work, it's more like childbirth. This goes far beyod the simple "Eureka" moment of orgasmic enlightenment. No... Birthing an idea means carrying it to term, struggling for months with the idea until you get this almost formed thing that you push and fight and struggle to get out of your body and out on its own.
And, we're not talking first world birthing with all the modern conveniences to make sure your baby makes it out alive. No, most ideas end in miscarriages or come into the world tragically deformed and not what you expected at all. The disappointment is crushing and a lot of people just give up at that point.
I'm just about to give birth to an idea. I had a couple months of time off (different story) and decided to "do something productive" with the time. Which turned out to be a mentally consuming technical and creative process that isn't helping my social life any, but I can feel how close it is to being done, and I'm going to see it through.
Every morning I get up and feed the cat (it doesn't matter how consumed you are with a project, the cat makes sure you know where the real priorities are). Then I start working on the project. It involves math (who knew you had calculate the cosine of latitude to figure out how far away something is by geocoded coordinates?). It involves game theory (get people to enter data for you because they want to improve their score!). It involves basic graphic design (what kind of picture do you use to represent that a food has soy in it?).
Basically, it involves my entire brain.
As I work through the day I start to feel the buzzing in my skull. It's not an uncomfortable buzzing, but it's not imaginary either. Apparently thinking hard increases blood flow in the brain enough that you can measure a change in weight -- my brain is literally being flooded with blood and getting heavier.
And even when I stop, I find myself unable to stop. This is a creative process even if the bulk of what I'm doing is technical. My brain keeps working on the problem (so if I want to know where the closest vegetarian restaurant is I need to know my location, run a query, run it again, and again, widening the circle... except diameter the circle needs to be calculated with the cosine of latitude... I need to get some more data in there to see what it looks like on the screen...)
Which means when I'm trying to engage in conversation with people about, well, whatever the hell it is they're trying to talk to me about because really I wasn't paying attention (if I take the absolute value of the difference between the sum of my latitude and longitude and a sum of the target location latitude and longitude I should be able to sort locations by relevant distance...)... Where was I?
It's not that I don't want to pay attention, it's just that I'm birthing that idea and it's kind of like trying to have a conversation with a woman who's about to go into labor. It's hard to think about anything else.
I promise I'll be back to the normal world of weather and politics and (of course if I just accept a square area rather than a radius I don't have to calculate 𝜋...)... sorry what was I saying?
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