Someone asked me the other day what I was thinking about. I was too embarrassed to say murder, so I faked some response about the weather. I think about plot and characters a good deal of the time, writing sentences in my head, revising them, trying out various plot ideas. This wasn’t always the case, my obsession with writing has gotten worse through the years, and it made me wonder what used to occupy my thoughts. Surely scientists tend toward scientific thinking. I wonder if the fantasies and crazy ramblings of an unoccupied mind lead them toward scientific discoveries, their thoughts helping them puzzle through the next experiment, the next variable in some equation they’re struggling with in the lab. Maybe mathematicians use the blackboard in their mind to work out complex equations, while interior designers manipulate walls and furniture like a brain powered CAD program.
Driving down the road is when I think most productively. At work, or when I’m writing, my thoughts are tied to tasks, so there isn’t the freedom to let a thought ramble along its own path. I asked my oldest daughter what a college biology major’s random thoughts center around and she said her boyfriend… More on that later.